Dienstag, 25. März 2014

Interrail - Day 4,5 Edinburgh

This time I'll tell you about my time in Edinburgh.

I'll say right away our stay was very short, but I think we managed to see a lot of the city in this short period of time without investing too much money.

We drove the whole forth day to get to Edinburgh. First we had to find our way to Dublin port. Leaving Dublin made me a little sad, because we were missing the official St. Patrick's Day Parade. (If you want to know what it looked like 2014: click here.) Due to the St. Patrick's Festival every normal public transport didn't work. (No one told us…) Lucky for us, a taxi driver drove us right before the gate and we reached the ferry just in time. On the ferry we wasted another 3 hours to get to Holyhead (but our ferry had a cinema, so we could watch "About time" and "R.I.P.D.") and from there we took the train to Edinburgh.

Johanna has the great ability to fall asleep the minute she sits down on the train seat and wakes up right before we have to get off the train. I'm not blessed with this kind of talent, but I usually sleep as well, but a very light sleep in weird intervalls of 20 to 40 minutes or I doodle in my little notebook. Sleeping on the train might hurt after a while, because at some point you'll have your head or your neck in a very unhealthy position. But Interrail is a process in which you learn to focus on the body parts that don't hurt and keep going or whine about the parts that hurt all the time and keep going anyway. Either way giving up is not an option.

At Waverley Station we were greeted right away by a Scottish man in a traditional (tartan) kilt, it was just perfect. (Although I’m still questioning if he wore underwear…) It's the one thing we didn't expect to happen. 

When we finally reached our hostel in Edinburgh we were really tired and happy at the same time. Malones hostel is above a pub which was full of people all celebrating St. Patrick's Day. People singing, dancing, drinking. Jolly and green, just as we've experienced at St. Patrick's Day in Dublin. Except for the fact that they were all cramped in this one pub. With our heavy backpacks we fought our way through the pub and up to the hostel. To our surprise we got a free upgrade from an 8 bed mixed dorm to a 4 bed room. The owner of the hostel was really friendly and the facilities were comfy and clean! The bathrooms and showers were amazing! Absolute luxurious for a hostel of that price range! We took a shower and felt so fresh and relaxed like never before. Sometimes a hot shower after a long travel day is all you need. And the pub is right there on the ground floor, so just go ahead and have a good time! I know we did. 

The breakfast was said to be included in the price, so the next morning we went down to eat to the kitchen, but the breakfast "buffet" was rather tiny. Nevertheless the kitchen works just fine if you want to make yourself something to save money and keep the budget low. (A Sainsbury-supermarket is just around the corner). 

This particular morning I felt the need to be brave and experiment around. I had to taste "Marmite". Everyone on the internet said it's disgusting, but as usual I wanted to go my own way and find it out by myself before I believe what someone tells me. And let me tell you:

Disgusting doesn't even cover all the feelings of hurling and vomiting I felt...(even long after I had already spat it out). It's vile. I didn't even eat as much as I wanted to vomit. Absolutely awful! I don't know who eats this shit voluntarily (and for breakfast!).

After this little incident, we went on a free walking tour through the city of Edinburgh. This tour finances itself on a tip only basis. That means the tour guide shows you around and you can decide how much the tour is worth to you. If you liked the tour around town, you give a little more. If not, you give less or even nothing. But I thought this tour was really really worth it. Edinburgh itself is gorgeous enough, full of old charming buildings. But thanks to our tour guide we learned so much about life in Edinburgh and all the little details about its history. Where you can drink or eat the best food , what are traditions of the town, typical behaviour of the residents or little inside tips what to do around town. For example, did you know that it exists vegetarian haggis? I can't imagine what's left of the original haggis if you take out the meat parts...which is kind of everything right?

My favourite story from this particular free walking tour was this one:
There once was a woman named Maggie Dickson. She was left by her husband and fell in love with another man. She got pregnant from this man, but under the law she still was still married to her husband. In her fear of being accused of adultery, she hid the pregnancy. The baby was dead by birth and she threw the bundle in the river for no one to ever find it. Unfortunately for her, the villagers found the corpse and traced it back to Maggie. She was convicted, but not for murder nor for adultery, but for an old law that said that a woman is not allowed to hide a pregnancy. (This law seems to still exist today in Scotland and was clearly invented by a man). So they put her on trial and sentenced Maggie to death. She was hanged in town square and the corpse was carried away by a man on a cart. Just as the cart was out of town, she came back to life and the driver of the cart didn't know what to do. He decided that it was best just to bring her back to the market place, where the public wanted to see her hang again. But this time another man stood up for Maggie and explained that you can't get punished for the same crime twice. It made sense and Maggie was free to go, but the death certificate had already been signed which meant she was officially dead and could absolutely start over. Since it said "till death do us part" in her marriage certificate, she was free from her husband as well and could finally marry the man she loved. She opened a cafe "Maggie Dickson's" in town square which is still there today.
We stopped at Mary's Milkbar, a cute little cafe where you can get delicious hot chocolate for 2,5 £. We took a selfmade chocolate mixture of milk chocolate with orange and cinnamon. I absolutely loved it! Johanna wasn't that happy with the mixture. We visited the graveyard and found Tom Riddle's tomb. J.K. Rowling would be proud of us.

After this beautiful tour, we went to the National Museum of Scotland (which by the way is very close to the Malones Hostel as well). Mark my words: this is the best museum I've ever been to. I'm not even joking. It has it all: interactive stuff like quizzes, fossils, astronomy, technologies (old and new), information about cultures around the globe. You can try out morse code. Look through a special glass to see like a dragonfly or change the frequency on a special system to hear like dogs, cats etc. You could even drive a race car or move a robot! And the best part is: It's free. You pay nothing and you get the world. It's so amazing. This museum is so underestimated. I hope I can reach at least a few people to travel to Edinburgh and check it out. It's absolutely worth it! Fun garanteed!

We knew we had just a few hours left before our night train would take us to London. So we decided to get souvenirs. We forgot that important travel detail in Dublin pretty much... I was lucky enough to find a green hair pin in form of clover on the floor in Dublin, so that made up for it, but still. Since we are backpackers our tour we decided to get only  small things (or at least light things), so that we wouldn't have to carry around much more. At first I was looking for a kilt, but all the kilts were either too expensive, too heavy or too much looking like a normal skirt. (So as you can imagine the search was quite frustrating). In the end we bought us some earrings. Mine are little oranges, just because I simply felt like it. Johanna bought herself earrings with tartan fabric and pattern. 

At the end of the day we took the night train to London. Thanks to the Interrail global pass we got on the night train without any extra costs. Free ride from Edinburgh to London. Budget spared [check]

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