A Travellerspoint blog

To Glasgow

overcast 17 °C
View Fall 2008 on rwills89's travel map.

We got booted out of the hostel by 10AM unfortunately, and took the bus to Glasgow city centre. I'm sure the city looks nice on a nice day, but the weather on the west coast is considerably gloomier than the east where we were (I know right?) From there, we took a train to some place and then a taxi (courtesy of Joyce) up to Coronsay Gardens, the prettiest development ever, to stay with Ruaridh's Aunt Elaine, Uncle Rody and cousins, Abby (14) and Leigh (12). Ruaridh's mom, Joyce, is staying here for a few days as well. It's pretty clear that we are in a wealthy area - the houses are fairly big for Scotland's standards, some people are driving SUVs with gas at $9-10 a gallon here, and, in Joyce's words, "they have the only dishwasher in Scotland."
We unpack and get ready to go out for dinner - it's Ruaridh's granddad's 80th. A girl in a school uniform walks in the kitchen, and she looks about our age. I learn this is Ruaridh's 12-year old cousin. Abby comes in later.. they are both very sweet and very funny. Ruaridh's uncle comes in and talks and talks and I have no idea what's going on. It's similar at dinner. Ruaridh's grandparents are incredibly sweet, and although I am treated like family and feel very welcome, I feel like people are staring at me a lot. I find out things I do that are "American" like having black coffee. It was overall a really nice night, and Ruaridh's family is great.

Posted by rwills89 13:27 Archived in Scotland Comments (0)


Where Mel Gibson fought the English

overcast 15 °C
View Fall 2008 on rwills89's travel map.

I now realize I have a ton of pictures.. and I can't post them all. Sigh.

Anyways, we left Edinburgh in the morning, and said we would meet Graham on Sunday for the fireworks over the castle. We just made the bus. Our hostel - the Willy Wallace hostel - is a 2 minute walk from the bus station. The staff was incredibly friendly, though hard to understand (for me) and our room is adorable. The place was still as death though. Stirling is a really cute little town, and Ruaridh and I were completely wiped out (or I was) so we took it easy and did a bus tour. It was really nice, and the guy on the tour tape sounded like Sean Connery. Stirling has some nasty history, as does much of Scotland. We climbed to the William Wallace monument, saw Stirling Castle, etc...oh, surprise - another shit day (weather-wise). But the weather guys say that this summer Scotland has had twice its normal rainfall and half its normal sunlight, so I suppose its not always so bad. We walked around the market area when I saw a tiny patch of brilliant blue sky, but within a few minutes the thick gray clouds devoured it. No light allowed!
We decide to have a night in. I take an awesome nap and go out later for coffee at the only non-pub open - Subway.
In the morning we leave for Glasgow and I meet Ruaridh's fam!

Posted by rwills89 13:09 Archived in Scotland Comments (1)

Edinburgh, day 3

This time with pictures.. and almost caught up!!

overcast 15 °C
View Fall 2008 on rwills89's travel map.

Our second full day in Edinburgh comes, and it's dreary again. The weather.... in Scotland... is crap. But o well, we decide to get out and explore. We decide today to climb Arthur's seat, and as usual take the long way there, but we end up climbing Calton Hill first. We have an incredible view of the seat and Holyrood Palace from there. There's a weird acropolis on there, we don't know why, and a memorial tower.

Next we go down the other end of the Royal Mile towards Arthur's seat. We see the new Parliament building and all the cool looking apartments. The view from the top was incredible, but the hike was pretty intense. Things still look pretty up here despite the shit weather, so we spend most of the rest of the day exploring the area, seeing St. Andrew's Chapel and St. Margaret's Loch.

Later we are beat. We go to a pub called the Three Sisters and buy Graham a pint for hosting us. He tells us how he is going to Paris, then Estonia for a week, then doing the Trans Siberian Rail, then meeting his gf in India for Christmas. After that Nepal, and you know, probably backpack around SE Asia (....WHAT??!!)

In the morning, we leave for Stirling. FREEEDOM!!!

Posted by rwills89 12:12 Archived in Scotland Comments (0)

Edinburgh, day 2

semi-overcast 18 °C
View Fall 2008 on rwills89's travel map.

We ignore our morning alarms and sleep in until around 11 - and I still didn't want to get out of bed, but we had a lot to see. We took the long way into the city center - beginners mistake, heh - but ended up seeing some pretty cool things on the way, like the strip where the rich people live in their posh apartments (ooh! ah!) We get some great views of the city from where we end up, and have plenty of pictures. The first view of the castle and Arthur's seat is absolutely breathtaking - the castle is this huge medieval-looking thing on top of what was once a volcano, shadowing a modern bustling city. The contrast is startling. And on the other side of the panorama, Arthur's seat - a natural shelf jutting out and overlooking the city, with green rolling "hills" (they are pretty massive for hills) behind and beyond it, all the way to the North sea. We decide to make our way to the Royal Mile, the street that leads from Holyrood Palace to the castle. It's a very cool street - bagpipers, signs for kilt sales, random openings between the stores that lead away from the street - and a guy dressed as a whiskey barrel herding people into the distillery. We get to the castle, and pay 12 pounds to get in (wtf). We browse through the rooms, like St. Margaret's chapel, and learn about the castle's bloody history on the way to seeing the crown jewels. On our way back, we pick up fish and chips, and shortly after arriving at Graham's meet another CouchSurfer. Ivanne is a tall, blonde German girl, as friendly as could be. We ended up going for a pint at the Theater Royal Pub in Leith. One things I noticed about traveling so far is the strange mixture of accents - Graham has a Canadian Scottish accent (from Canada, lived in Edinburgh for 2 years) and Ivanne has a German Irish accent (from Germany, had lived for a year in Dublin.) That's all very cool - another day down.

Posted by rwills89 07:03 Archived in Scotland Comments (0)


Arriving in "Edenbragh"

semi-overcast 18 °C
View Fall 2008 on rwills89's travel map.

Ruaridh and I get off the bus at Princes St. - the city is filled with different kinds of music and much more people than I expected, because the Edinburgh International Music Festival is going on. In what's left of my fried brain, I make a note to come back down and check out the tents. As we try to find St. Andrew's bus station - the site where we will meet Graham, our host - I notice a stale popcorn-ish smell wafting through the streets. Ruaridh tells me it's hops from the breweries. We find St. Andrew's Square, anchored by a huge column in the center, topped with a statue of, appropriately, St. Andrew. After lying on the grass for a few minutes, we strap our packs back on and make our way to the station, and meet Graham. He was the first person I contacted through Couch Surfers for this trip, and we would stay with him until Thursday morning when we depart for Stirling. He walks us back to his place in Leith. This is the same Leith that Trainspotting was written for, but it's not so bad, really. They took out that abandoned building, and I didn't see any junkies or Exorcist-like dead babies crawling around. It kind of looked like some parts of Queens of Brooklyn - a little run down, but nothing to get your mace out for. After settling in, we walk a couple minutes to Lidl, a German discount grocery store, and Graham cooks us dinner - he's such a sweetheart! Later on after eating, we walk around Leith by the Ocean Terminal. We exchange stories, talk about the Russia-Georgia conflict, and the economic state of our respective countries. Its interesting to learn about the small differences between the U.S and Scotland - there are many. Soon after, we set up the air mattress and try to get some sleep.

Posted by rwills89 06:58 Archived in Scotland Comments (0)

(Entries 26 - 30 of 33) « Page 1 2 3 4 5 [6] 7 »