It may be cold (2-5C today) but it has been sunny and still, so, perfectly pleasant really. Much better than 39 in Melbourne anyway.
It's day 2, my first full day in Scotland. I arrived in Edinburgh at around 12.30pm yesterday, the first notable thing was the length of the shadows of the ground crew at the airport. We don't have shadows that long until at least 3 or 4pm in winter. But any daylight was a fine thing after the 18+ hour night I had, from 9pm Saturday in Melbourne to around 6.30am Sunday Doha time. Mind you, the nights are about 16 hours here in Edinburgh.
I found my way by tram and bus to the Airbnb where my room is large and has a couch, desk and coffee table as well as a double bed. Sara, the host is very helpful and friendly, and I will be nice to the cat!
Eleven hours sleep is a marvellous thing!
This morning I set out at about 8.30 to have breakfast before joining a free 2.5 hour walking tour. The tour took in the Royal Mile, castle area, Grassmarket and Greyfriars churchyard and Dave was a most entertaining guide. Some interesting facts: Edinburgh’s population triples during the festival, this year’s festival included 55000 events (that organisers knew about).
The weather is amazingly good apparently, particularly compared to recently I’ve been told. It was a beautiful sunny day today although the sun is so low in the sky all day that there are lots of shadows and even if you can stand in the sun there is no warmth to it. We stopped for coffee at a social enterprise cafe. I nearly spat my coffee out when I saw a message from Don on my phone. I'd sent him a short recording of Dave speaking and he replied "Get him to say eleven" (which if you don't find amusing, you will after watching this:)
After the tour I headed to Arthur’s Seat. It’s a reasonably challenging walk, mostly because of the slipperiness of the surface. Even though it was sunny there was still a lot of frost on the ground. I didn’t make it quite to the top because it was a scramble over slippery rocks with no actual defined path - I was worried that I’d make a bad choice and end up hurting myself or getting stuck which isn’t a good look on your own. I went down a different way on the other side of the hill and it was probably harder going down than up. I did one relatively graceful slip onto my backside with no more damage than a bit of mud on my jeans, but it was slow, and hard work on the knees.
I finished off the day with a visit to Edinburgh’s National museum where I saw some interesting exhibits about the history of the textile industry, and Dolly the first cloned sheep, amongst other things. Here's a selection of photos from the day.
And this is a panorama from very nearly the top of Arthur's Seat. It's a bit wobbly because I wasn't feeling very sure-footed.
Stats of the day:
Men in kilts: 3
Men in kilts not engaged in tourism or busking: 1
My step count: 23,357 = 18.15km
Things are not feeling quite real just now...not only am I about to fly on my own to the other side of the world, but yesterday was my last day after five years working at The King David School. Intellectually I know full well that in 36 hours or so I'll be in Scotland where the temperature is predicted to be 6C (a nice change from the high 30's of the past couple of days here in Melbourne) and in six weeks I'll have been home for a week and about to start my new job at Trinity...but, you know, it wouldn't surprise me if I just had dinner tonight, got up tomorrow and did the usual Sunday things and then headed to KDS to work on Monday. I am excited to bits about all of it...but it doesn't feel real just yet.
I am just about ready to go. My main pack is packed and zipped up and ended up weighing just a smidge over 12kg. Not quite as good as I hoped but bearing in mind it has my two heavy pairs of boots and my heavy coat in it, not too bad.
I have scans of documents in multiple 'cloud' locations; I've printed out the key itinerary sheet from my spreadsheet; I've written (yes, by hand, with a pen!) important document and card numbers into a notebook; I've given Don a printout of my itinerary with the addresses of where I'll be staying and emailed him my travel insurance details; I have my passport, a credit, debit and travel cashcard in my wallet (which has a strap to wear across my body, like a neck pouch), and a secondary credit and debit card, and some Australian cash, stashed away in a secret spot in my pack. I've made a list and checked it twice (and no, I don't have delusions of Santa)...what have I forgotten?
I think all that's left is finishing packing my carry-on bag (once my kindle is charged and I've finished writing this) and calling my mum...oh and maybe coming up with a better title for this blog - any suggestions?
Doesn't every blog start with this first post?
I'm curious to see what this looks like and to consider my options as to whether this is the best platform for this blog which will be my travel journal.
I'm going to try out posting using the Weebly app too...I'll most likely be able to use my laptop but it could be handy to have another method.
What's happening here?
I'm off on an adventure to Europe, on my own for 12 days and the remaining 3 weeks with my 17 year old daughter. This is where I'm going to share my adventures.
On the map
See a bird's eye view of the trip on Tourbuilder
Heather Bailie ePortfolio by Heather Bailie is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.