I made it to my destination, to Edinburgh, early this morning. Day 1 is the travel day where it's all about getting to my destination - the two flights and the four hour layover in Newark.
I'll remember that the next time when I travel and try to find a flight with only an hour layover, if possible. The flight from Newark arrived an hour before schedule but we had to wait on a gate to open as apparently there is much traffic at 05,30 in the morning. Yes, that was sarcasm.
During that wait on the tarmac, I struck up a conversation with the guy next to me (a grad student) in the middle seat as I sat by the window. He spoke not a word during the entire 5 1/2 hours but was really helpful when it came to passing the food and water we were served. I don't blame him for not liking the middle seat.
His home was Edinburgh (although he's from England originally) and he was glad to be back from his 2 weeks in the US. He told me a little about the city and how the Scottish people don't have this need to talk to you unless they want to. He mentioned it was unlike America where everyone has these 'plastic smiles' (as he put it) and wants to talk about nothing in general. He mentioned November 5th and that there would be fireworks that day. And he asked if I'd heard the story of Greyfriars Bobby - which I saw mentioned in the travel book but didn't get around to reading about it. So, he didn't tell me the story but said I'd find out.
I was glad that he was willing to talk with me. As is the case at times whilst traveling, we never exchanged names - only words and thoughts. And a love of British comedy - particularly IT Crowd, Ab Fab, and Fawlty Towers. He was surprised that I knew of Keeping Up Appearances. We then parted ways when we landed and I waited in the long line to enter the country.
The weather. Let's just say that it's cold and I should have brought that one pair of jeans I own. Jeans are not my favourite thing to wear but they do keep out the chilling wind. At least this time I had a good pair of boots and a warm hooded coat. I found that as long as I keep moving, it's not too bad. But it's nothing close to the temperatures I'm used to back home.
It's 'city centre', not 'downtown'. I discovered that as I boarded the bus at the airport and asked if it went downtown. Not that I didn't have all the time in the world to research every aspect of the trip, I guessed when it came to which station to exit. I chose the last one at Waverly Station and somehow found my way to the Grassmarket area where I met up with the owner of the flat I've rented for my first four nights. He was nice enough to carry my large duffle bag up the six flights of stairs as I struggled for breath carrying my large photo backpack and another 'purse' that's really a clandestine camera bag meant for one body and one or two lenses.
After checking into my attic flat, I had every intention of going out to explore the city. However, I drifted off to sleep for about 3 hours and then went to find a grocery store.
Since I am staying here for only four days, that pretty much limits what I'm able to buy to cook for myself. So dinner was a simple basmati rice with vegetables and feta. Even though the packages here are tiny compared with those back in the States, they can last quite a long time when you're cooking for only one. 60 grams of uncooked rice didn't seem like a lot but sure did when it was cooked and you added the sautéed onions, bell peppers, and tomatoes and then topped that with feta.
I walked some more after the early dinner and then returned to the flat where I baked up four oat scones and had a dram of whiskey - which reminds me the Croatian Šljivovac (plum brandy). Whiskey, shortbread, scones, and kilts. I'm sure there is more to Scotland than that. For now, that is my first taste of Scotland.