Interludium: Dùn Èideann; part one

I’m back! Summer tends to do this to me; I find simply no urge or will to do anything worthwhile, not even anything scarcely worthwhile. So, now that I’m done playing Mass Effect (loving it; almost beaten it) and reading Harry Potter (for the first time ever, believe it or not – there will be an entry about it) from dusk to dawn and instead find myself back in the lab, ready to do some science, it’s also time to resume blogging activity. Here goes!

Once in a while, a time comes when one must simply follow the urge to follow in the footsteps of one’s ancestors. A time when you must travel across the sea (in the belly of a steel bird; no longships were harmed in the making of this holiday) to the land of the Scots to rape, pillage and burn.

BURNING THEIR WOMEN! RAPING THEIR CHURCHES!

No…

Wait…

That isn’t quite how it goes…

Sorry about that! You’ll forget about that part, right? …Right..?

What I did, though, was that I did in fact travel in the belly of a steel bird to the good ol’ city of Edinburgh together with Jan Tore, and Apokalypse, the fox, for a nice little holiday – much needed, I dare say.

Monday:

INCONCEIVABLE!

That. Is. The sun! Perhaps the forecasts were wrong? Perhaps there is a meagre that  chance our days across the sea won’t simply wash away? This looks good! Blimey! Still in Norway!

Our journey starts at Torp airport and Toblerone. Why Toblerone? I have wondered about that quite a few times; what’s the deal with duty-free and Toblerone? I think I could write an entry of its own about the phenomenon called “Toblerone on the border”. But enough about that for now (Toblerone is omnomnom, by the way). Jan Tore and I head towards the bar and are served by the sulkiest and most hostile woman I’ve encountered behind a counter for a while. However, her attempt at en-souring the mood was a failure, and then there were beers.

Not for us, mainly, as we happened to have a little alcoholic amongst us. Of the red and fluffy variety.

Enter Apokalypse!

Apokalypse – the furry alcoholic

Nobody expects the fox-inquistion; Apokalypse thinks a fox would look better on the cover rather than a lion

Well aboard a blue and yellow steel bird, our journey

begins for real.  The nigh-two hours between Norway and Scotland pass quickly thanks to books and gaming devices and as our plane descends through the clouds above the land of Driving on the Wrong Side where I quickly realize that my hopes of decent weather were in vain. However, searing summer sun wouldn’t feel right for the UK, anyway (I wonder how often they get that?). Well through the passport control we grab a taxi and soon find ourselves at the Bield Bed & Breakfast, Orchard Brae, Edinburgh. We’re met by Ken, and led to our room, which was both incredibly cosy and well equipped with tea-and-coffee-making-facilities. It’s late, but our mission has been accomplished; we’re in Edinburgh!

On a side-note: I’m of that opinion that you should always learn something when visiting new places; first thing learned: It’s Edin-burrow, not Edin-burg. Who kept me in the dark on this one all this time?

Tea-and-coffee-making-facilities!!!

Tuesday:
Waking up to the best breakfast I’ve had in ages, we’re off to explore the wonderful city of Edinburgh. Of course, there were plenty of buses and that sort, but then, buses are for the craven and faint of heart! So instead, we set off in some random direction which we believe is roughly the right way to the city centre.

The Bield – truly a home away from home

Sweetie looking mildly gruff. C’mon, you’re supposed to be enjoying yourself! Smile! 🙂

Smile, I say! 🙂

Despite the Bield B&B only lying a mile away from Princes Street, I think we spent well over an hour getting there. I was already falling in love, there was a charming house or store or church around every single corner, and soon, we hit the Waters of Leith.In fact, I don’t think I’ll say much about it, have a look instead! (Oh, and I think we managed to spot one of the fabled albino squirrels! CUUUUTE!)

I just found charm incarnated!

Neither flood, nor wet socks nor chill of feet can keep us back from the Waters of Leith

Awe-inspiring bridge. (There’s a cache nearby! Sssssh!)

Possibly millstone, definitely cool (the stone, I mean)

Everybody sing; Postman Pat, Postman Pat!

Had we had more time, we would have explored some more along the river, but a couple of geocaches later and narrowly escaping seriously sodden feet, a landmark familiar from so many photos suddenly filled the skyline; Edinburgh castle!

On our way up the hills surrounding the castle, we found another geocache, and Jan Tore thought we could finally achieve his prime goal of this trip; besieging at least one castle and its surrounding towns and villages. After zigzagging through a virtual sea of tourists, we find ourselves across the bridge and inside the castle, and don’t you believe we managed to kill a few hours there as well? Let me make one thing clear, I think Edinburgh Castle is a lovely castle in itself. However, the over-abundance of souvenir shops and general tourist-magnet image thwarts some of the fun (and having said that, I loved being there – tourist traps can just be a bit much sometimes). Almost every single corner of the castle was scrutinized to much detail, and a quick look at the crown jewels was more or less mandatory. And of course, you can’t visit a place like this without getting away with some new historical facts embedded in your cerebral region; something which I’m never averse to. We ended the visit with afternoon tea at the tea lounge inside the castle walls. Thus ended our siege of Edinburgh castle.

Time for pictures!

Creepy thingies! Taken inside the War Museum which could provide both some interesting scraps of Scottish history, the less peaceful parts, obviously, several pieces of weapons and armour/uniforms, art and a temporary exhibition featuring the history of protheses.

Nice armour!

The great hall; a beautiful and majestic thing decorated with countless weapons and just…stuff! I had lots of fun studying the different coats of arms displayed after one another along the ceiling.

Arm thyself!

Afternoon tea-time! Like a sir! *insert meme here*

As we were in the neighbourhood, our quest led us down the Royal Mile. Mr. Boyfriend added rare whisky to his inventory before we headed towards the Camera Obscura, which was practically one big playground. As one might expect from a house of illusions I felt dazzled and confused more than just once. Particular mention goes to the Vertigo Tunnel; a narrow bridge passing through a circular tunnel filled with rotating lights. I knew theoretically the vertigo reflex can be triggered by what I choose to call silly tricks, however, I hadn’t ever experienced it myself. At first I thought it couldn’t be that bad, but when I walked onto the bridge, it felt like the whole world was spinning wildly and I had to grab onto the rails to prevent myself from falling off. Yikes…

Let’s try again! Eyes closed. This is going really well. Until the moment where a pint-sized menace nearly knocks me over – eyes open – aaaaaand here we go again!

Playing around on the floor featuring many pinhole camera installments

Jan Tore just got Ned Stark-ed

Watch where you’re going!

At the end, we attended a demonstration of the camera itself. Some things never get old; such a spying on perfect strangers and pretending abuse of said strangers. The woman responsible for the demonstration was particularly funny!

After some exploring around the Royal Mile which featured a trip to Games Workshop (which apparently had been overrun by Norwegians lately), we got the directions to some good pubs from the guy behind the counter. We were both thirsty, and there can’t be any Scotland without beer, so directions sounded good. The pub we finally landed at wasn’t either of the ones we were tipped about, though, but all the same turned out to be a nice, little pub named Salsa which didn’t allow people in football colours *snigger*.

The Royal Mile

Day two in the lovely city of Edinburgh was at an end, and so is this blog entry. The latter part of our holiday will be up as soon as Jan Tore has finished editing the pictures from said latter part, and of course, when I have a little to spare of that fabled thing called time.

To be continued…

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