Day 1: Edinburgh

Now I'm on the road
Knowing not which way to go
Is it yes or is it no?
I don't really care
For the golden sun
Has washed me away and I've become
Just another vagabond holding my head

Yellow Eyes - Rayland Baxter

Isn't Rayland such a nice name? When I first heard that song I just love it and thought that I want to use it to begin my playlist for my next trip. In the end I didn't. It's still in the playlist but my playlist for the UK trip is started with Hozier's songs because I fell for his songs and lyrics too. Anyways, hi guys, so I am back. Got back on Wednesday. It was an okay flight in which I sporadically slept that I only watched 1 movie, The Hateful Eight, even that I didn't manage to watch from beginning to end in one sitting. Since I couldn't easily sleep if not on a bed, I decided to really tried to sleep if I feel sleepy, so I stopped watching halfway when I was sleepy and continued watching when I felt like I really needed to start to be awake, around 4 hours-ish into the end of flight. The Hateful Eight is not bad. I thought the beginning part was quite promising, but towards the middle and end, it was so-so. The flight back was my first time in an Airbus A380. Upon checking in, there was an option to choose seat in the upper deck, but somehow I thought keeping it traditional would be much better and I chose the lower deck. It didn't seem like a full flight so when I checked in I chose an aisle seat in the left row where no one was sitting yet. I was disappointed to find a lady sitting by the window when I boarded. The flight was not full but the empty places around were already claimed by other Asians who I think are just fast in doing this. Anyway this lady who I think don't speak much English was not in her seat when I came back from the toilet. Some of her stuff was still there. She didn't tell me that she was going to change seat so like a moron, I stood there waiting for her to come back, because I didn't feel like sitting and standing up again and the last time she needed to get out she did it quickly without any "excuse me" or prepared me for it. When she didn't come back after some time, I decided to sit. Worried that she might come back, I tried to sleep sitting. After many hours she didn't come back, I decided to just lay on the 3 seats. Should have done that much sooner instead of the 2 hours or so I got to do it. Darn that lady, so annoying. Another annoying thing was that the seat arm rest couldn't be lifted all the way. I don't know if it's like this in all A380. They protrude like spikes and make it hard to adjust your body. I don't know why they design it this way. They don't think it's torture enough for people in economy class to endure long flight that they have to take away whatever respite we may have? Anyways overall as mentioned I sporadically slept and I was quite amazed at that. To drown the noise from people talking and the Indian guy snoring quite loudly on the row in front of me (lucky him getting the row to himself), I put Joey Alexander's My Favorite Things on loop.

The flight to the UK on the other hand was full that I couldn't get an aisle seat. I was in the middle seat of the right row. I think I managed to sleep a bit too that I also didn't watch many things. I watched Straight Outta Compton (which was good and very interesting), Concussion (the doctor the story is based on is remarkable), and The Lady in the Van (which I found to be quite boring). On arriving, I was just relieved because these days I get tense with any turbulence and with the recent Egypt plane crash where it disappeared from radar around 20 minutes to arriving, it make you think that even though you're near, anything can still happen. Arriving in Heathrow, things weren't that straightforward for me but eventually I found the big screen which showed the flight departures schedule. I found out I needed to take the internal train to go to the zone where my next flight would be. That was also where I had to pass immigration. Since we arrived very early (before 6 AM), it wasn't a very busy queue. I was quite worried about having to get my fingers scanned because this is always problematic for me. I saw that a few people in front me were questioned a lot. However when it came to my turn, there weren't many questions. The questions were what my purpose of travelling was, where I'm going, when I was going to London, and if I was travelling alone. I was asked to scan 2 fingers and apparently they worked (thank God!) and that was it, easy peasy. The man and lady in front of me were Malaysian. I wonder if they got more questions because they didn't have to apply for visa. Maybe because I had to apply for visa beforehand, the immigration officer thought that I had gone through enough pre-security check that it wasn't that necessary to grill me anymore. Either that or it's me really a low level threat. I'm really seriously curious what kind of training an immigration officer get. Anyways after that immigration check, we passed another officer who checked our boarding pass and there's a machine that took our picture. Then we're really done.

I had more than 3 hours wait. I spent it by exploring the terminal then I shopped (which is so unlike me) and then I just sat around. Before boarding the flight to Edinburgh, again we had to stand and looked at the machine that seemed to take our pictures. The flight to Edinburgh was pretty full and the plane wasn't very big, but we all arrived safely. Arriving in Edinburgh, I waited quite long for my luggage to come out that I actually became quite worried. Will it be my first time that my luggage didn't arrive, I thought. I had reason to be worried. Back in Changi when I checked in, they couldn't check me in for the flight to Edinburgh and so I had to do online check in and since I was worried they wouldn't accept the boarding pass on my phone, I actually had to find a place to print it out. There's a place in Changi where you can do so and it cost SGD 2 for 1 sheet of paper :( Anyways, luggage finally came out and then I had to find where the bus stop is. I had booked the bus transport to the center of town and I do recommend you to book things online if you go to the UK because you often get discount. Rather than walking aimlessly, I asked a staff of the airport and finally found it easy enough. In Edinburgh, I was worried that my hotel would actually be quite a distance away from where the bus stop and I would get confused on the direction to walk, but thank God I saw it as the bus was stopping. It was very very near and though I arrived before check in time I could get into my room straight away. So high five all around. The hardest part was like done :)

I arrived like around 1 pm and the plan was to go to Edinburgh castle. I have actually googled the direction to go there but at one point I got confused and it started drizzling so I asked a man on the street who kindly pointed me the direction. The good news was I was in the right direction. The bad news the drizzle wasn't that light. I actually packed an umbrella for this trip but at that moment I haven't gotten it out of my luggage. The castle is actually quite interesting and I immediately thought this is what castles in Game of Thrones will be like. It's also called Castle Rock by the way. It's located on a rocky hill and it's actually more impressive if you look at it from outside a distance away on street level. It's like you understand why they built a castle up there. You can see the view of Edinburgh from there but I didn't stay out much because it was raining.

Outside there's a big cannon which is called Mons Meg and there are also smaller cannons pointing out of the castle.

The guards here wear kilt and this guard below is actually quite handsome :) The throng of Chinese tourists were so ready to grab the off duty ones and took pictures with them and they kindly accepted it even when aunties started putting their arms around them.

I was really tired that I didn't bother to really read and understand all the exhibitions. There's the history of Scotland kings and queens. There were artifacts. Perhaps the most interesting one was the stone which is used for the coronation of the queens or kings of Great Britain. That's perhaps like the only thing I learned on my visit there. I just thought it was very interesting. Other exhibitions include the history of Scottish soldiers and there were also this old time jail in a dungeon like place which for sure is miserable.

Anyways I was very tired and when I think I have seen everything, I decided to leave. I went down the castle and kept walking the old town area. Found the Greyfriars Bobby statue which was much smaller than I thought it was going to be. Well it's life size so what was I thinking? Also found the cafe where J.K. Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter books. Near the dog statue, I found the Greyfriars Kirkyard cemetery and I just walked in. By the this time the rain had stopped and blue sky had started to come out slowly. There were some tourists in the cemetery but overall it was still a nice calming walk there. There were flowering trees although the kwanzan cherry tree was towards the end of its bloom. J.K. Rowling also found inspiration for Harry Potter in this cemetery, but since I didn't google this beforehand I didn't know which grave inspired her. I guess also because I didn't walk every corner of the cemetery. It's still a cemetery after all. A part of me think it's rather disrespectful to be just wandering around it as a tourist.

After that I decided to get something to eat. After I finished eating the sun was really out now. Somehow I made it to the new town area. Oh I remember now it's because I know there's a supermarket there and I wanted to get water. In retrospect I should just stick to the old town area where my hotel is because there's a small supermarket nearby where I can get water from. Instead I had to walk pretty far carrying heavy water, but at least I got to see the Scott monument and see some parts of Princes Street Gardens which is quite a nice place to hang around in on a good weather. So anyways after I got my water, I decided to call it the day and just rest. I was very tired but it had a been a good time so far without any problem. Lots to be thankful for :)

:) eKa @ 8:00:00 PM •

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