Another installment of my Edinburgh adventures series. Where it turns out that I can perceive the present time without being taken several years back. Plus, culture makes a cautious appearance.
To maximise the amount of weekends spent in Scotland, arrival day was Friday 7th, and early enough to enjoy the first evening with my friends. Early enough meant arriving at 4:30, by which time it started snowing, and apparently by 8 o’clock the airport was closed. Sort of a good omen?
Saturday. Remember that one of the reasons I visited was J’s traditional giant New Year Party? So my friends and I went to meet him at the Newtown Bar (Caledonian 80/-) to discuss party matters. Well, they discussed, while I basically enjoyed the company, the beer, and the increasingly rare pleasure of sitting in a pub I don’t know yet.
After this I started wandering around to impregnate with Edinburghity, going around inspecting everything like a cat in a new house, finding out what is new and what is known, getting back into the atmosphere, the smells, the cityscape, the crowds. I also noted that, because of the biting cold, many many people were wearing ear muffs.
Another intriguing encounter with doppelgangers: I’ve seen a double of my favourite bartender from home. So far so good, but there is a wtf part: within two or three days, I must have met at least three copies of her! Is this creepy or what?
The following day involved more going around, soaking in atmosphere and beer, frantic jotting down of my experiences in a notebook, and writing a first batch of postcards to get my friends jealous. This was done in the Standing Order (Solway Mist, Jaipur IPA, Stewart 80/-) where I managed to grab Table 42, something which made me ridiculously proud.
Monday was the first of several culturally flavoured days. While booze is certainly nice, it seems somehow more enjoyable when mixed with cultural stuff, or meeting people (if only I was more of a people person). And it would certainly be a shame to miss out the cultural and social side of Edinburgh (but who did ever claim the contrary?): you can really find something for everybody’s tastes. Museums of art, modern and old, ancient stones, fun and touristy, ghosty activities, science museums, old streets buried under the new ones; concerts, comedy shows, opera; shopping, walking in streets and parks, chatting with strangers in pubs…
The cultural bit I have mentioned above was actually just going to buy books at Waterstone’s West End. And look how the local shop employees are helpful: when I didn’t find one book I was looking for, they even suggested I checked a nearby competitor!
A very straightforward operation, you may think. Nay, forsooth, my friends. This involved going from the West end to South Bridge, so basically all the way down Princes Street, turn right at the Balmoral Hotel, and continue straight until I run into the bookstore. Well, I turned too early, namely at Waverley station. Never mind, I thought, I’ll take the next left and then right and there I will be. Indeed, there I was — so close, and yet so far…
Anyway, I finally reached South Bridge. And I remember waiting in the cold at an interminable traffic light, looking at the pub on the opposite side of the street, wondering where the hell this elusive bookstore was. It turned out that the pub was the bookstore and not a pub after all. I mean, really. Even the name, Blackwell, reminds one of a pub. Or could it be that I am obsessed?
In any case, I bought some more books, and went to enjoy my booty, you can guess it, at a pub, the Queen’s Arms (Raven Ale, Pentland’s IPA, Independence).
Tuesday: more culture! This time Z and I went to the cinema, to see Tron Legacy. My very first 3D movie! I quite liked the experience, as well as the pretty pictures and Daft Punk’s score. The story itself was rather full of cliches and overall quite meh, but it was still an enjoyable afternoon.
Next time: more booze, more culture, and a New Year Party like I’m unlikely to ever throw!