I’m writing a blog post every day in November as part of a writing challenge. Read why here.
I arrived in Edinburgh yesterday for my last workation of the year. Later in the week I head down to London for work, but for now I’m in Scotland.
This workation is different from others I’ve taken this year. Usually I rent an apartment and stay in one city for a week or so. This time I wanted to travel, so I bought a Britrail pass and will visit 3 cities before heading south. Yep, this workation is heavier on vacation. My plan for this trip is to sight-see during the short daylight hours and work in the evenings. Here’s what I did today…
I woke up at 7:30am and headed down to breakfast at 8am. This B & B has three options: a traditional Scottish breakfast, an English muffin + salmon and scrambled eggs, or a continental breakfast. They also have fruit, yogurt, cold cereal, and porridge. This morning I had some of the items off of the traditional Scottish menu and tea.
After some email and charging my phone, I headed out to the bus stop. My B & B is in a residential area, a 10-minute bus ride from downtown. (Well, 10 minutes if you get off at the right bus stop. I’m still working on that.)
When I got into town I realized that very little was open so I went to the bus station to buy bus tickets for later in the week. After getting some tea the shops started opening. One of my goals for today was to find some items for our Carolina Navigators Scotland Culture Kit, so I spent a good portion of the day looking for the right items and taking photos and videos. A few things I found: a kid’s kilt, several books (like Hamish the Hairy Haggis), a restaurant menu, a travel game, a Christmas book for our Christmas Around the World kit, and a few activity books for our England or general UK kit.
Creating a culture kit is a great excuse to talk with random strangers. When I bought the British activity books I asked the sales guy if he’d put them in a Scotland kit or an England kit. He said England. I also asked him if there’s a Scottish character that kids are into. He said…Nessie. As in the Loch Ness Monster. He asked the other sales people around and they also said Nessie. I probably should ask some kids.
I then went to Vodafone and got a SIM card for my phone. I usually just rely on wi-fi but since I’ll be in the UK again in January for work I thought I’d get one.
I strolled through the park below the castle and then hiked up to the old part of the city. By that time it was getting dark and it started to rain. I picked up a bite to eat, spent a while in the Scotland exhibit at the National Museum of Scotland, and then had quiche and a latte at the Elephant House. You know, the cafe where J.K. Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter book! I could see the Edinburgh castle from the window next to my cozy little table.
I decided to head back to my B & B so I could get some work done. It should have taken me 15-20 minutes to get home but it actually took me something like 1.5 hours.
I started walking to where I thought my bus stop was, got sidetracked by a cathedral and listening to the orchestra practicing inside, walked the wrong way down a hill, walked back up the hill, found my bus stop, realized I was on the wrong side of the road, crossed the street, and finally got on the bus.
From what I can tell, they don’t announce the majority of the stops, and since it was dark and rainy I couldn’t see out the window very well. When the bus started thinning out I got worried that I’d missed my stop, so I got off. The bus driver told me we’d passed my stop a while back.
At first I thought, ok, I’ll just walk back. But then I realized how far it was. When a bus came by a few minutes later I asked the driver if he was going in the direction my stop. Unfortunately, he couldn’t understand me very well, and as I was trying to explain where I wanted to go, the bus I knew went by my stop drove past us. Fortunately, the bus driver told me to hop on, and that he’d let me off near my street and point me in the right direction. He saved me a lot of walking!
Now, I’m back in my B & B getting some work done and drinking tea. Tomorrow I’m going to see the castle, the Royal Mile, and get some more items and photos for the culture kit. And hopefully get the hang of riding the bus!