Wandering around Edinburgh

Posted: February 16, 2013 by Ben Weber in Cycling, English, Training
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

It had been a while since in Edinburgh, and as neither Natalia nor Paulo had been in Scotland before, we had a day off scheduled in the city. We stayed with Melanie, an English teacher, and Charlie, her husband who is an actor. As with many other hosts, we met them through Warm Showers. Both Mel and Charlie were wonderful and extremely helpful, giving us tips of things to do in the city and it was great chatting with them. They did a cycle tour of New Zealand for a year which sounded like it was great fun. Mel unfortunately got ill with a migraine while we were there, though we had a great meal with Charlie on the evening before we left.

The windows and flags of St. Giles

The windows and flags of St. Giles

In Edinburgh we just did the normal touristy things, really; wondering around the Royal Mile and the Castle (though we didn’t go in), St Giles’ Cathedral, and Mary King’s Close – which we did pay the GBP 12.50 (each) to get in, a price that we felt at the time, and had absolute certainty after the tour, was expensive, bordering the extortionate… Okay it was interesting. The tour gave us an idea about life in the Closes of Edinburgh before, during and after the Black Death, and how things were cramped for the inhabitants. It was interesting seeing the small rooms where families lived and the extremely narrow alleys where all the sewerage was poured  into from all the windows of the tall houses that lined them. Not the nicest of places to live. The actor who gave the tour was good and understandable as well. But, it just seemed expensive for an hour – maybe am just used to Brazilian prices (obviously, converting to the Brazilian Real and you get a much higher number and you don’t get many simple guided museum tours costing BRL 40+ per hour in Brazil, though this ultimately doesn’t mean much). The information that was provided in the tour also wasn’t particularly revelationary for anyone with an incling of an understanding of general history and ways of life in the 16-17 hundreds…

But anyway, we met with Paulo as well and he had been to a doctor in Edinburgh to examine his knee. It wasn’t great news as he was told that he had ligament problems and he was advised that he should rest at least for 7-10 days or so, otherwise he would risk causing permanent damage to the knee. Not what any of us wanted to hear. So to put it simply, that was the end of his LEJOG. The only way for us to proceed was to just give Paulo tips of things to do in Edinburgh, London and Europe in general and to proceed. It would have been nice if he could have come up to John O’Groats to see us arrive there, but to be honest, John O’Groats is in the middle of nowhere and there isn’t exactly much to do there so, as this was Paulo’s first time in the UK, we thought it would be good if he could at least enjoy his days before his return to Brazil. But what Paulo will need to do in Brazil is go to get a full examination of his knee and ensure that he is in a condition where this problem will not happen again – the last thing that we can have in the actual journey is a repeat of this only a few days in… So this is an ongoing concern.

We only spent the afternoon on the rest day in Edinburgh city; enjoying a bit of a sleep-in, and then we didn’t stay in the city very late – no chance to enjoy the night life at all as we would have a long ride up to Blairgowrie on the following day. The meal with Charlie in the evening was great – first time I have had vegetarian haggis, which was really good – and the conversation with Charlie was excellent. Definitely would be great to stay in touch!

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