The day started out early. I arose before the sun but took over half an hour to transfer photos from my Sony point and shoot and then to find out I had to download a driver to read the Sony-specific ARW files. Then I dressed in layers, put on my tennis shoes, and ventured out in the 1 degree Celsius cold Edinburgh morning.
I was ambitious as I was finally feeling 'normal' - if such a thing exists. I realised that it takes at least two full days of being in a city abroad to stabilize the effects of jetlag. And so I decided to go to the grassy area next to Waverly station - East Princes Street Gardens - and jog a couple of rounds. Then I proceeded down the Royal Mile until I got to Calton Hill - although at the time I did not realise it was the place I'd planned on going. So, I jogged and briskly walked as the sidewalks were icy at times.
The Royal Mile is beautiful in the early morning before the city awakens and the hustle and bustle of people going to work commences. The shops are all closed and a mere handful of people are passing by. I walked through two old cemeteries and came across an uneven staircase called 'Jacob's Ladder'. Curious as to where it led, I descended the stairs. When I reached the bottom, I walked a short distance and then decided to climb back up the stairs which left me winded. But I continued to explore the area and eventually headed back to the flat where I got ready for breakfast.
Back to The Elephant House it was. The usual of a double cappuccino with plain scone with the new addition of a date slice that was more of a streusel bar and was very tasty. The place was nearly empty being that it was about 09,30 when I arrived. I left about half an hour later and began my long walking journey to the edge of Scotland.
I kept thinking that the water must be coming up soon. Another two or three blocks. Or maybe a few more. After an hour more of walking from Calton Hill, I gave in and asked a passerby. I'm not one to ask for directions, wanting to find things on my own, but I had to as I'd been walking for so long. She told me it was another 10-15 minutes. And it was. I had reached the water and it was a beautiful sight.
The Forth Bridge was my real destination but I later discovered it was too far to walk to. I ended up in Leith where I stopped at Café Truva (as per the guidebook's recommendation) for a Turkish coffee. I asked the man working there which way to City Centre and he told me something along the lines of turning left at the light then right then straight ahead. It would take 20 minutes he assured me. After about that time I somehow ended up right back at a street where, when I looked to my left, I saw Café Truva again.
How could this be? It was starting to remind me of that roadtrip episode of 'I Love Lucy' where Lucy was driving whilst the others were sleeping and they ended up at the same restaurant/hotel. So I started out again and then it started to drizzle.
Eventually I found a sign and walkway pointing towards City Centre. It seemed like forever but I finally reached the sign stating I had another 3/4 km left. Then I noticed another sign say 1 km left. I proceeded on Broughton Street but later realised I should have turned right somewhere along that road. But I never saw a sign for City Centre again and, as stubborn as I was, instead of stopping someone to ask them, I continued straight down Broughton Street until I saw signs with 'Leith' on them. Then I noticed familiar buildings I'd seen earlier. 'No! No! No!'
It was dark. I was tired. I was hungry and thirsty and sore. Not to mention, I was carrying one camera bag and another purse, both draped diagonally across each shoulder. I stopped another lady once again and when I asked for the way to the Castle, she replied 'You need to get on the bus.' I simply looked at her and she realised that I was walking. She informed me that it will take at least a good half an hour.
I trudged along hoping to find that end of the road. After coming to a fork in that road, I almost turned right until I stopped another woman to ask the way to the Castle. Had I not stopped to ask, I would have seen Leith for a fourth time.
After a total of about 8 hours of walking, I was tired but hungry. I went back to the flat to drop off the two bags and googled 'best restaurants in Edinburgh'. Most were too far for me to want to walk to and The Witchery was booked out. So somehow I ended up at The Cellar Door. I arrived shortly before 19,00 as one couple was leaving. I was the only person there for at least 20 minutes. Then only two more couples arrived. I can honestly say that I would have preferred to eat the leftover potato gratin I had baked last night - the one that was sitting in the refrigerator back at the flat. The meal left much to be desired and was grossly overpriced. Eating out alone is not the most desirable of circumstances but sometimes a necessity. I'm not one to like eating at restaurants but breakfast and lunch is more desirable if I have the option.
I doubt I'll be going anywhere near Leith again. Three times was plenty for one day.