Follow the yellow brick roadNovember 2 in the United Kingdom
After having my butt throughly kicked last night in Settlers of Catan, twice, I said my sad goodbyes to my new friends, and even exchanged information with some of them. Although I'd planned to go to bed early, I didn't find myself settling down until just past midnight. I suppose I was just having too much fun. Making sure my alarm was set I was able to settle down for the night. Upon rising, I found myself in a total panic. Everything might have been packed up, but I felt so well rested that I was sure I had overslept... only to find that I woke up three minutes before my alarm was due to go off. That mean I had T-minus 3.5 hours until I had to be on the train. After getting dressed, and triple checking that I had everything, I made my way down the hostel stairs for the final time. Naturally I didn't make it in to the kitchen for another half hour (can receptionists be too friendly?) After I had my first meal of the day I was officially on my way to Kings Cross train station. Admittedly I wasn't just excited because of the next leg of my journey, but also because this location was in Harry Potter. I made sure to print my ticket out first thing, but having more than an hour to kill, it was time to be the quintessential tourist. I didn't get a photo of me with the trolley in the wall, but I did spend too much money in the gift shop next door. I did need a new scarf though, and why not get a Ravenclaw one, even if it is the movie colors and not the ones from the book. Deciding I'd spend too much, especially because it wasn't even nine yet, I stepped outside for some fresh air before I was trapped on a train for five hours. Well wouldn't you know it, I ended up chatting with someone outside the station. He was able to not only tell me which platform the train was leaving from, but also which side to sit on for the best view along the journey. As I found out, my seat was assigned, and by happy chance I was assigned a seat on the side with the view. It would have been marvelous had I not been facing the wrong direction, or fallen asleep an hour in to the voyage, however the scenery I did manage to take a few photos of was quite nice.
Disembarking the train, I took my first steps in Edinburgh, and exiting the station I found myself awestruck. If it weren't for the modern transportation you would think you had taken a step back in time. The buildings, while well maintained, look quite old, and there is just a feeling about them that makes looking at them feel momentous. Pulling out my new phone, purely for the map feature, I decided to figure out how far away my new hostel was. Once more luck was in my favor and it was just a fifteen minute walk away; in what turned out to be a much more sloping landscape than I knew to anticipate. Roughly 20 minutes, and a lot of shop fronts that look unavoidable (and expensive), later I had arrived at "Kick Ass Hostel." Probably the most expensive place I've stayed during my trip, but I do have something called a "pod" that is lavishly private for being in a room with seven other people. After getting my belongings sorted out, with a private locker at the end of my bed, and making sure my dying electronics were charging, I decided to find a place for supper. Being extraordinarily lazy, I just looked on Yelp for an inexpensive place with a good rating. Heading out from my new temporary residence I once again found myself talking to a local, and if anyone knows the food it will be someone who lives here, and he sent me on my way to an authentic Turkish restaurant. A bit further than I had planned, not quite the cuisine I envisioned eating in Scotland, and slightly more expensive than I would have liked, but worth it. I ended up ordering a salted yogurt drink (ayran), which was a little odd but I would drink it again, and what seemed to be a simple chicken dish (chicken beyti.) What they brought from the kitchen was exponentially more, and my goodness, unquestionably delectable. It was well worth every dollar (or dollar thirty if you're doing the conversion) for taste alone, but their portion size means there was more than enough for a second meal. Blessedly, there were a ton of veggies, and I'm sure I haven't been eating nearly enough of those in my travels. After a refreshing walk back, I made sure to pop in to the shop of the person who had given me the recommendation, and thanked them. Now, I was all set to have a fairly healthy day with food, but when there's a gelato shop right next to your hostel, and it is actually warm enough to feel your fingers without gloves... the decision is practically made for you. I ended up getting a small scoop of orange poppy seed. Walking in to the building where I was staying, and past the throngs of people checking in, I made my way to the "hang out" area where I could check out their selection of books and enjoy my frozen treat. I may even go downstairs and get a pint at the bar, I mean you've got to love the luxury of not even having to step outside for a drink. Or I'll just figure out what my plans will be for tomorrow and finish my book. Maybe both.Read more