Random observation #2: They still use miles per hour in the UK
I had no idea, not until we got out onto the highway and I thought I was going terribly slowly at 70 km/h. And there I was going around and telling everyone that we in Singapore – along with the Canadians and Australians – were following the British by using km/h.
By the way, it was something of an adventure pulling out of the car rental early Saturday morning (8/25). Because an automatic drive car would cost nearly $200 USD more to rent, I opted for the manual. Peirui got her license in the States so she doesn’t know how to drive stick, so it was all me. At first, I was all excited about going manual, but when the car jumped violently the first time I released the clutch, I broke out into a cold sweat. I only got my courage back when I saw the driver next to me having problems starting as well. 😀 But I don’t think I inspired much confidence in Peirui and Angela. Heh.
We made the 7 hour plus journey in pretty good time, and after the initial scare of navigating the wrong side of the roads and figuring out my clutch release, it was a happily uneventful drive.
The Fringe Festival (sort of avant-garde stuff) and the International Festival (all sorts of performances by performers from around the world) were in full swing in the Edinburgh at that time, so most of the places to stay were fully booked for the weekend. Angela managed to find us a hostel in the outskirts of the city though, thankfully. 😀
Bagpipers – one of the many random groups of baskers/street performers along Royal Mile
Angela asked me to pick a place for dinner from her guidebook, and I chose the Elephant House, where JK Rowling had purportedly written her billion dollar Harry Potter series. So of course I felt we had to go visit the place… Good grief though. The service was dismally slow, and the food horrible. Like H.O.R.R.I.B.L.E. Angela’s chicken sandwich tasted like rubber, Peirui’s burger tasted unbelievably tough and shared more of a consistency with a tofu burger. I got haggis, which turned out to be a mish mash of various cow and sheep bits. That in itself wasn’t all that bad, but the boiled potatoes and turnips it came with smelled really odd. Thankfully, we filled up on dessert (a deliciously gooey chocolate grenache cake) at another pub, Cafe Florentine, after that.
The next day saw us checking into another hostel, this time in the heart of the city. We got a four person dorm with an ensuite bathroom attached. Brand new, and super clean, and with a nice bonus in the form of a cute Aussie guy who slept in a pair of black boxers.
For our first touristy stop, we visited Edinburgh Castle, again walking through Royal Mile.
I love taking pictures of clock towers
Edinburgh Castle afforded a bird’s eye view of both the New and Old Edinburgh town
After the previous night’s disastrous dinner, the other two girls were a little hesitant about letting me choose a place to dine at again, but I managed to convince them to go to Amber, a restaurant affiliated with The Whisky Experience. At least they enjoyed their trout. 😀 And I, my wee dram of cask strength Laphroaig. Ahh bliss.
Angela with my scotch
We decided to check out one of the Fringe Festival performances after lunch – but not after standing outside the half price ticket tent for a good half hour deliberating over which particular one. We ended up picking one at random anyway, and were treated to an hour’s performance of a tried Broadway actor and his tap dancing and banjo singing. It was on the whole, a little odd, but weirdly engaging.
I love the compact and old European feel of the town
A quick dinner at a pub, and then it was back down Royal Mile again for a performance of a different sort, an opera concert performance of Dido and Aeneas, and La Prima e Musica.