Our First Week in Scotland

Monday, June 2
Ron Facebooked his friend Danielle and she offered her BF’s services as walking tour guide. We took them up on it.

We grabbed a small bite to eat, as it was almost lunch time, and hiked down to Easter Road. They met us on the corner and we began our trip around town.

We walked the Royal Mile and saw the pub at the World’s End. (The official end of Edinburgh back in the day and the last pub on the way out of town.) Now it is quite a ways from the end of town.

We went to Holyrood Palace and peaked in. It’s about $29 too. Ron’s friend has tickets, so we are hoping to be able to use those as she is going out of town this week for 2 months.

We saw the place where the Scottish Parliament meets. It looks like the architecture for a modern art museum.

We stopped at a small café on the way up the Royal Mile and had lunch. I had quiche Lorraine and a chocolate snowball. The quiche was excellent and the snowball was even better. I’d hike up there every day for those—and they weren’t too expensive either. We bought all four lunches for less than $30, including desserts.

There were Scot soldiers, in kilts and fancy dress uniform, guarding the castle. We didn’t go in because it was about $29 for a ticket each. Plus Ron’s friend said Stirling Castle was way better. Maybe we’ll get to Stirling Castle.

Then we went to a park, where there was a war memorial and a large fountain that is not being used because the water is corroding the original iron. They are still trying to work out how to use it without breaking it.

We went through a cemetery at a church and I took some cool pictures. They had stones from the early 1800s and late 1700s that were readable.

Danielle and John took us to Dean’s Gardens, which is some housing in the old mill district, with a beautiful walkway next to the river or stream or tributary. I could have sat there, next to a folly-type architectural structure, for hours listening to the water.

Five hours into the day, we said ta-ta to the friends. Then we walked an interminably long way (perhaps another ½ mile) to a place to eat. That was Hard Rock Café Edinburgh. Yes, I was that kind of tourist. I would have eaten anywhere, but Ron didn’t want to repeat a café we had already eaten in.

We walked the couple of miles home.

Did I mention Edinburgh has hills? It’s like Rome, built on a bunch of hills, though John says some of them have been razed. The Royal Mile itself is on a ridge of a mountain, so you walk at about a 45 degree angle. And, of course, it would be too simple if it were uphill one way and downhill the other. Nope, you have to go uphill both ways! (Which, of course, means there is some downhill both ways, too, but the ones I noticed were the uphills.)

I got some decent pictures and Ron got some too. He had the camera, but after a while of my saying, “Will you take a picture of that?” he got frustrated and just handed me the camera.

The most interesting random fact I learned was that a Scottish mile is longer than an English/American mile, being approximately 1.3 of our miles.

Tuesday, June 3
Had a physio appointment today. Ron called and got a taxi to come pick us up.

The physic guy worked on me for a while. He seemed to know what he was doing. He gave me another exercise to do—4x a day, 12 repetitions each time. It’s not exactly easy, because of the weakness of the muscle. I think the muscle is weak because it has been moved out of place. He re-moved it.

After the physio it hurt worse than before. That happens a lot, though, so while I wasn’t too thrilled about it, I wasn’t surprised.

We walked home from the phsyio. That was about 1.5 miles. Then, on the way, we decided I needed to stop at Boots, the drugstore, and get some more pain killers. That was another 1+ mile.

It took us 4 hours to do the physio, a short lunch, and the pharmacy. We definitely would need to take a bus more often to get stuff done around here more quickly.

I worked some this evening. I hadn’t worked enough yesterday.

Wednesday, 4 June
Today I went to get my hair cut. We took the bus. That was a good choice, though it wasn’t simple, exactly. We had to buy an app and purchase tickets and walk to the stop. But the stop wasn’t far and we only had to hop on one bus.

The shop was pretty empty when we arrived. We sat down. They made us tea. We had “cooking tea,” which is what they called the non-Earl Grey stuff. I also grabbed a Scottish biscuit, a caramel, chocolate, and sugar wafers (like Dad’s favorite cookies). They were very good.

The shop is Hot Head and Sabrina cut my hair. I showed her the cuts I liked; she took them and gave me a cut she said would be easy to care for and look good. I like it. It’s incredibly short in the back, even shaved off. The front is much longer. She made layers and they look good.

Ron took pictures and posted them on FB, after asking for (and receiving) my approval. I shared one with me drinking my tea that I had them top off for me so it would be warm.

That post is the one I’ve had the most likes on (47) and the most comments (21).

I don’t know if I will get my hair colored. I like the idea of having purple hair, but I don’t really want to bleach my hair. I guess I should have talked to Sabrina a bit more about how much damage the bleach might do.

Went to Word of Mouth for lunch. I asked if it was too late to order crepes. They said it was never too late for crepes. Later I asked if I could get tap water. They said it was off—but they would bring some to my table. The crepes were good, but there was way too much Italian seasoning.

We were heading back to the geek shop (toys mostly, based on the window display) when Ron asked if I wanted to stop in Blackwell’s (book store). Of course I did. I think we stayed in Blackwell’s for 3 hours. Ron found a book to read that was very interesting, Watching the English. It’s HUGE. He read a hundred or so pages. I actually found the same book and read about 20 pages. I also found an interesting book called Digital Literacies that had assignments in it. I’m going to order a copy when I get home. It’s a Pearson book, not British.

Thursday, June 5
I went out today on my own. I dropped Ron’s dry cleaning off.

After I dropped off the dry cleaning, I went to the Italian Café on the corner and had a bowl of oat porridge. It was a little runny, but I added some brown sugar and it was quite good.

I went back to Blackwell’s and bought the two books on Scottish pronunciation. I couldn’t order them from Amazon because they are out of print.

I also went to the National Museum of Scotland, spending an hour there. I learned that in 1946 a Scot invented color television; however, the FCC refused to approve it—so we had to wait for color television.

The museum has 5 floors, but, while I never went over the first floor, I went up and down 5 sets of stairs. There was 0, -.5, -1, and 1—plus some other floor which I don’t know the number of… I was just trying to see the Scots history things.

Ron had a skype call with Aaron this evening.

Our first home delivery of groceries came this evening. At 8:30 a noise went off in the apartment and Ron figured out it was the intercom for the delivery guy. We got three bins of food—including the smallest cauliflower I have ever seen. It was smaller than two fists.

Friday, June 6
I worked on my dissertation for five hours. Yesterday I thought I was pretty close to being done—which I have thought a lot, unfortunately. Today I realized there were all sorts of problems with the dissertation and I started working on those things.

First, I had some information in the introduction for one church but not the others. Since I didn’t know anything about the others any more, I took it out.

Then I realized that the presentation of the different works were not in consistent order. Apparently I just randomly changed them whenever I wanted to. I chose an order (single mission church, three mission church, and then four mission church with missionaries in alphabetical order) and then made one change. Since the Simpsons and the Irwins share a newsletter, I wanted the two approaches to the coverage to be next to each other. I think that works.

Right now I’m on page 122 of a 400 page dissertation. It will take a while, obviously.

We went to downtown Edinburgh together today. We walked. We went to John Lewis and walked around. It turned out to be a mall. John Lewis itself was expensive, but we went to the Cocoa Bar, which was very nice. They had internet, too.

The mall itself was fairly small; there weren’t a lot of shops around.

We made sure to head home after 3 pm so we could pick up the dry cleaning.

Saturday, June 7
I had a physio appointment at 1:30 today. Ron and I decided to walk.

We went to The Roamin’ Nose, which is up for an award from Ion Magazine, for lunch—since we arrived quite early. Since it was Saturday, the noon meal was still breakfast. Ron had eaten a piece of KFC chicken before we left, so he had bread and jam.

I ordered the “thick hot chocolate” with a vanilla bean marshmallow. It was a cup of hot pudding with a rectangular hand-made marshmallow and came with a small bottle of heated milk. I ate the first bites with a spoon and thankfully the marshmallow melted and cut the very strong chocolate flavor. After the marshmallow was all gone, I added milk, stirred it rapidly, and it turned into a more normal hot chocolate. I also had a scrambled egg sandwich. The eggs also had Italian seasonings… I ate the sandwich with one slice of bread and had apricot jam on the other. The apricot jam was very good. Ron had raspberry jam; it was a bit stronger.

Apparently raspberry is a favorite of Scots.

Called Dad tonight and talked to him for 11 minutes. That’s the longest I’ve talked to him in ages. Steph and the kids are out of town somewhere. I wonder if Dad’s home by himself.

Sunday, June 8
Ron and I got up late and walked into Leith. I’ve never walked that way, though Ron has walked part of the way.

We decided to go to the shopping mall, Ocean Terminal Shopping Centre. It looked huge, but it wasn’t actually that big. We had Swiss ice cream—passion fruit and mango. It was VERY flavorful, strong–and not particularly good.

Ron bought a shirt at Debenham’s. There wasn’t much else to get and stuff was very expensive; I guess it is kind of like the Galleria.

I had looked up places to go in Edinburgh and found two places to go shopping. We got on the bus and went into Edinburgh.

The first place I had down was the Red Door Gallery; it wasn’t anything like I was expecting and had nothing I wanted. However, next door was kind of interesting. Ron bought two books, and one he purchased two copies of… On the other side of Red Door Gallery was a woolen store with an absolutely gorgeous coat. I went in to try it on, but it was 400 pounds! It was gorgeous though.

We also went to W. Armstrong and Sons. It is a vintage shop and was very full. They had lots of kilts, but we didn’t buy any.

Then we started walking around some more. I found the Fudge Kitchen and we got some fudge. While there, I read “our version of the traditional Scottish cranachan” on one of the fudges… I didn’t know what that was.

Ron wanted a drink and I suggested The World’s End. He said it was weird to go to a pub and not have alcohol, but they had cranachan, which I wanted to try. So we went in. We both had KopenXXX. Ron ordered brown bread and butter; the waitress tried to talk him out of the brown bread and butter, but he insisted that was what he wanted. The ciders were excellent and so was the brown bread and butter. I ordered cranachan. The cranachan was good, but had too much raspberry. Of course, I should have expected that as it’s raspberries steeped in honey and whisky and then cream and toasted oats.

We came home about 6 pm and were both very tired. We stopped at PoundSaver and bought a bunch of junk food and some mousse for my hair. Then we went to Sainsbury’s to buy bread and got that and ice cream.

I picked the bread this time, because Ron insisted. I had already walked down the whole bakery shelf poking on all the bread and the softest bread was the giraffe bread, so I bought that. It’s good. It’s what I had for supper.