Edinburgh Travelogue Day One & Two

Since Jen asked, here’s what I’ve done/seen so far:
* Since my hotel room wasn’t ready when I got in, I wandered around the High Street area, and got a lovely cup of soup in a little cafe.
* I walked by a bunch of interesting shops that were closed because it was Sunday.
* Today, I walked by a bunch of interesting shops that were closed because it’s a bank holiday.
* I walked to the conference center to register and got a little lost.
* I took some pictures, but because the network wi-fi sucks, I can’t upload them to Flickr.
* I went to the grocery store across the street from my hotel looking for snacks and was disappointed.
* I walked past a bondage shop, and it had a display window, which was a first for me… I’ve never actually seen a bondage shop. I’ve only ever heard that they exist.
* Now, I’m working on my presentations, which I have to have done today (which is why I’m not out site-seeing). I thought I was done a little while ago, but after re-reading them, I still have some work to do.
* I walked over a mile today, which is probably more walking than I’ve done since surgery, especially after you consider my marathon at Heathrow yesterday. I’m doing OK, just a little bit of tightness along the bottom of my foot. It did kind of punctuate just how out of shape I am, though.
Oh yeah, Heathrow. Holy crap. We landed at 6:40AM and we all promptly rushed to the bus. Unfortunately, between us and the bus was a gigantic throng of about two hundred people also trying to get to the bus. It was this huge mess of humanity, with no traffic cop, just a formless queue of people trying to catch their connecting flight and growing increasingly agitated. I had two hours between flights and got on board five minutes after the flight was originally supposed to leave (thankfully, it was delayed). If you’ve ever been through Heathrow, it took two hours to get from Terminal 3 to Terminal 1, and I had to jog the last bit (and if you’ve ever seen me, you know that’s not a good idea). It normally takes no more than an hour, usually thirty minutes.
A couple observations about Edinburgh before I post this. First, Edinburgh doesn’t seem as friendly as Dublin. Maybe it’s just the part of the city I’m in, but I’m downtown, and I stayed in downtown Dublin, and the vibe was totally different. When Sean and I got lost in Dublin, someone came up to us and helped without us even asking (we just looked lost). Here, people don’t return smiles and avoid eye contact (maybe it’s because I’m all shaggy again). In shops and restaurants, people are nice enough, but it’s not the same cheerfulness I fell in love with in Dublin (any why compare the two? because they’re fairly close together?).
Second, there are a lot of cobblestones here, and that freaks me out. I rolled my ankle on a seam in a parking lot in Austin. I’m a little paranoid about rolling my ankle again and cobblestone streets are like minefields.
Third, Edinburgh has really good chip shops. I had some amazing chips last night for dinner, and the fish was awesome. Edinburgh also has a lot of strip clubs. I walked past at least six on the way to the conference center (and don’t forget the bondage shop). The only reason I noticed this was that my friend Tom said there weren’t any strip clubs in Edinburgh (he only told me this because he was telling me about coming to the city while he was in the Navy… OK, I have no idea why he told me this, but he did). Yeah, I don’t think I’ll say any more about the strip clubs.
And lastly, I love British television. DirecTV should offer a Brit Pack that has all the BBC’s, SKY, and Channel 4 on it, live. Forget BBC America, I want the real thing. BBC News is better than anything we have here, and the Brits have the best/worst reality TV.
The conference starts tomorrow and I’m going to the Kendra Initiative dinner tonight (which, luckily enough is right down the street from the hotel), which promises from fun Scottish culture stuff. More blogging later… and maybe I’ll be able to upload pictures from the conference network.

5 thoughts on “Edinburgh Travelogue Day One & Two”

  1. I had the chance to visit Edinburgh about 10 years ago when I did semester abroad, and I regret that I only had a couple of days there, but I was able to pack quite a bit into those few days – I even got to attend a bagpiping concert at the BBC’s Broadcast House.
    The Scots are friendly, but maybe a bit more reserved than the Irish. Give them some time, and maybe give them a little booze, and they’ll warm up.
    That reminds me – somewhere near the high street, there’s a shop called All Things Scotish – it looks EXACTLY like the eponymous shop from the SNL sketch – I’d be curious to know if it’s still there.
    Great. Now I really want me some McEwans 90/- (shilling) ale. (You can ONLY get it in Scotland – it’s not even exported into the rest of the UK, and forget getting it over here…)

  2. Where is the bondage shop you mentioned? (not that I want to visit, I just don’t recall ever walking past one in Edinburgh!)
    Yep Strip clubs down Lothian Road and through Bread St are common – they call this latter area “the pubic triangle”.
    Down from the EICC is good traditional pub called Thomsons. I’d recommend a swift pint of Deuchars IPA here – to sample a cook cask ale in a good traditional pub.
    Enjoy your time in Edinburgh!

  3. I think it’s on West Port, somewhere between Morrison and Grassmarket. I’ll try to get the street name tomorrow (they change so often though, even on the same road!).

  4. Now, I found people in Edinburgh to be lovely,and very friendly. It could be that we were there ‘off-season’ (early May) and they hadn’t yet gone over their tolerance line of tourists yet 😉
    Make sure you stop by The pub near the bottom of the Mile called the ‘Worlds End’. A bit touristy but it’s this wee bit of a place that use the be the last thing before the city walls, from waaaay back when. I thought it was fun 🙂 Although if you want pub food that’s pretty darn good (and a little bit more up the scale) go to the TollHouse, whcih is bit further on down the Mile – that’s where I lost my haggishood!
    BTW, I looove Top Gear and I’m not even a gearhead 😉

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