The castle – An afternoon in Edinburgh.

Monday 15 August 2016 – Edinburgh.

I have completed my first week in my new job, a three month contract with a software house. The first week was a good week, it is a very small team and they all seem to be good guys. My second week started with a visit to a client with a head office in Edinburgh. Travel was not expected in this job so it was a very pleasant bonus. I have been to Edinburgh once before, with El and we really enjoyed it, it is a fabulous city for tourists.

Rather than fly up on the Monday morning I decided to go up on the train on Sunday morning and try and catch Joe. El’s eldest’s, play. It is Edinburgh Fringe Festival on in August and there are dozens of shows playing. Unfortunately Joe’s play finished its two week run on the Saturday, fortunately we had seen and enjoyed it in London earlier. I chose to go up anyway and make the most of the opportunity.

I had a 9:00 am train out of Kings Cross, my favourite London station, mainly because it is so close to home, unlike Paddington which seems to have most of the south westerly trains. The journey north was pretty good, maybe it was one of the lucky days when everything went well on the rails, I managed to write the Ilfracombe blog on the way up. Which was obvious when it was proof read and there were loads of little typos!

I love looking out of train windows as we pass through the countryside, it is by far my most preferred method of travel, except for a slow riverboat. Not many of those going to Scotland though.

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The River Tweed at Berwick-on-Tweed. Next time I come up this way I am going to get off here and have a look around, it looks to be a nice little town.

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I arrived in Edinburgh early in afternoon, it had been quite warm in London and the forecast for Edinburgh was pretty good, 21 degrees. It wasn’t 21 degrees when I got off the train. I went straight to Marks and Spencers and bought myself a cheap light jersey. I was cold. I will admit to having taken it off an hour later and have not warn it since, it will keep!

My hotel was about a 30 minute walk from the station. I passed below the castle on the way.

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It was not the best accommodation I have stayed in and was definitely not worth the money, but with festival month I was lucky to find anything at all. At least it was comfortable. I dumped my pack and went walking. I have seen the key attractions of downtown Edinburgh so had sort of planned on just randomly walking the streets. Walking past the castle.

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What I did not bank on, which was utterly foolish, was the amount of people. It was very crowded on all the main thoroughfares in the centre and it was just a bit frustrating really.

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I did like this silent disco/walk, every now and then they would stop and burst in to song – the singing left a bit to be desired mind, but they looked like they were having fun.

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Well, not everyone looked like they were having fun 🙂

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I gave up with the ‘Royal Mile’ side of town and headed over to the other side of the tracks, towards George St and the main shopping area. One of the many things I like about central Edinburgh, is that it crosses a deep gully and on either side there are some fabulous looking buildings, the castle on one side and Calton Hill on the other.

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I was not looking for shopping though, I was looking for a pub with the football on. It is the opening weekend of the premiership and my team Arsenal were playing (and lost at home to) arch rivals Liverpool. It was a torrid afternoon. Luckily there was the castle!

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To make myself feel better I went to find The Oxford Bar and have another pint. The Oxford Bar was on my ”must do in Edinburgh list and I am glad I managed to find it. It is the hang out of one of my favourite fictional characters, Detective Inspector Rebus. Funnily enough his author, Ian Rankin is known to have a pint or two there as well.

The Oxford Bar

I had planned to get stuck into booking flights and organising myself for my big holiday in November in my hotel room in the evening, but was totally knackered by the time I got back, even though it was barely 7:30pm. I watched a bit of telly in my room, gave up on that after a while and tried to sleep. Not very successfully.

Monday was a work day, it was a busy but productive day. I flew back to London in the evening; a delayed flight followed by a slow train had me home much later than I expected. Still it was a good trip away and I just love that castle. I could live in a town with a castle like that.

After much frustration, the occasional bout of swearing at the screen, and one ‘get away from the screen’ run I have sorted out my November holiday, well I have booked flights anyway. Two weeks in India followed by three days in Brisbane with my son and just under two weeks in New Zealand with the rest of the family. Just the detail to go now, but yay!

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About wheresphil

Originally from Auckland, New Zealand, now living in London.
This entry was posted in Blog, Britain, Scotland. Bookmark the permalink.

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