Let me tell you about my Edinburgh day. I first had to walk to Glasgow’s city center (about a half hour’s walk) to catch the train that left Queen Street Station headed to Edinburgh, which is less than an hour’s ride away. It was a “wee” bit drizzly during the walk and I was glad to have my rain jacket. The train was crowded and I tried to select a good seat opting against a seat near a mother and boy who spoke in loud voices. I found an empty seat way back in the train and was at ease–until a family with three unruly kids took over a section of seats across from me. While the mother kept on the two boys, they kept on with their antics. The father looked to the mother to do the disciplining work. Where was my ipod when I needed it? When I arrived in Edinburgh it was summer weather, and my jacket had to be tied at my waist and my wool top was way too hot. I started to orient myself to this very different city. Huge ancient buildings, winding street paths punctuated with large intersections of shopping, shopping, and more shopping. I walked up to the main attraction, Edinburgh Castle, to find a line for tickets to be crazy long–not in that heat. The day was too nice to be inside anyway. I walked down to Grassmarket sqaure, looked around at all the cafe goers, then took pictures of the castle from a distance:
Then, wandering around, I found myself on Hanover Street where one of the restaurants recommended in the NYTimes “36 hours in Edinburgh” was located: Henderson’s Salad Table. Ok, then, time for lunch– really good tomato lentil soup and crispy roll, then a tiny flavorful macaroon and green tea for dessert. I bought a container of French yogurt “for the train” — it was in a pretty little gray pottery pot and cost only 1.5 pounds. The meal gave me energy to keep walking. Edinburgh was packed with people; I stopped at one crowd on the street and saw that they were watching some street b-boys–I snapped a couple of pictures and dropped a pound in their hat.
My impression of Edinburgh is a city full of beautiful flowers in the summer, and a host of visitors. The day was pressing on and I opted out of going to the Botanical Gardens or the National Art Gallery. I found my way back to the train station and was just in time for the 5:30 back to Glasgow. Things were going well until the conductor announced “the next stop is Glasgow Queen Street Station, but we won’t be stopping at Queen Street Station because the tracks are flooded.” Flooded? On such a beautiful day? Well it wasn’t so beautiful in Glasgow while I was in sunny Edinburgh, it apparently poured like crazy. The two cities are only 50 miles apart, but Glasgow is inland on the Clyde River, while Edinburgh to the east is on the Northern Sea shore. The rest of the announcement was that we would now stop at Bishopbriggs station and that taxis would take all the passengers to the Queen St. Station– oh sure. All the passengers huddled up on the street corners waiting for the promised taxis while empty taxis just whizzed by. “Why don’t they send for a bus,” so many of us were chattering. I was constantly curious that people did not ask me, “where are you from?” I guess that’s an American thing to do. I noticed a man in a Yankee’s cap and a nicely dressed woman; they turned toward me, and I asked if they were really from New York–they certainly were. They did the New York thing, took out their cell phone and called a taxi on their own. Away they went. After a while, busses were called and we packed into them like sardines. At Queen St. Station I was ready to walk again and headed to Kelvingrove “West End” and on to the solace of my room at the Alamo Guest House.