My Enthralling Story of Scottish Wonder...Part 2

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

When I last left you, we were at Smithies pub, partaking in an epic battle against the two old men who had poked fun of Maria being from Canada.  And who won the battle, you may ask?

Nobody.  For that night changed all nights, you see.  'Twas a great fire caused by a swinging left arm...it swung right into ye olde candle and lit the curtains ABLAZE with a great glory!  Up, up!  went the flames, and the screams, and the smoke and the TERROR.  OH, THE TERROR.  "Whyyyyyyyy" wailed the woman in the corner, and I said "Nancy Kerrigan what are you doing here?"  We all ran coughing and sputtering into the streets, gasping and allowing the fresh night air to fill our lungs - we gulped the air as if it were the last Bud Light on earth.  The brawl continued.   On and on it went until the hour struck 2am, when Maria and I were finally rescued by a bronzed man riding atop a unicorn (Finnick from The Hunger Games).  He swept us up with one efficient motion and flung us 30 feet into the air straight through our open window where we landed softly towards our peaceful slumber and WHAT AM I TALKING ABOUT

DAY 6:
  • Urgent shopping was needed.  What's the first thing you do when you're in a brand new city?  You emerge bleary eyed from wherever you're staying, like those various small children on Christmas morning who really need to get back to bed it's only 6:00am for PETE'S sake, then swiftly enter the nearest store that looks foreign and provides you with items that certainly can't be purchased in Canada, and therefore must certainly be better.
  • That actually means that we wandered up to Princes street while admiring the old buildings all around us, the cars going the wrong way, the babies pushing elderly people in strollers, it was all new and exciting.  Princes street is like the Queen street of Toronto, filled with chain stores you pretend to be too cool for but find yourself repeatedly going to anyway.  Unless you're like me, and you lusted for chain stores from another WORLD (Scotland).  Have you ever been in Primark?  I have, now.  And it changed my life.  It changed it for the better, as I have 36 t-shirts to show for it.  Do you have 36 t-shirts?  Even if you do, they weren't as cheap as mine!   If they were, my bad.
  • We became desperately hungry at one point and went to the first place we saw that was certainly authentic Scottish cuisine:  The Filling Station.  I think it's an American chain?  I really can't be sure.  All I know is that it does what the name promises: fills you.  With food.  
  • I received a text message from a friend who I shall call "Grarnt".  Grarnt once had a tie of great joy, which he lost at the Canadian Comedy Awards and Festival during a choreographed line dance, probably back in 2005.   Grarnt had politely asked me to locate this tie in Scotland, and I was like "sure no problem!"  Until it became evident that such ties were no longer sold in great quantities, or any quantity at all.  I had gone inside approximately 47 tourist shops, and had yet to see the tie Grarnt longed for.  Sensing my frustration (not really though, I kind of love repetitive souvenir shops), Maria had suggested we simply ask the sales associate of the particular store we were in.  Me being a wretched cow, said "how would SHE know what RANDOM store in Scotland sells these ties?  You think she knows the inventory of every souvenir store in SCOTLAND!" etc. etc.  1.5 minutes later we were directed around a pillar behind the cash, where the tie I was looking for was hanging from the wall.  It was the last one in Scotland.  Sorry, Maria.  
  • I'm pretty sure this is the day we went to Edinburgh castle, which was decent.   We got to stare at swords that we confirmed (with the guide) had once been covered in blood and guts (this was important info, FYI).  Afterwards we wandered over to where a certain little statue was that I wanted to see:
Greyfriars Bobby, more loyal than that grey hair that constantly appears by your right temple.  Oh, just me?

Pure swords

  • We ate at a place across the street that had grey paint and looked supertrendy!, called Cross and Corner.  We ate giant hamburgers and our eyes looked particularly bulgy after.  I would like to return there.
Day 7:
  • A new day!  On this particular day I had decided we needed to embark on a journey to Dunfermline, the town where my grandmother grew up and a town that has a cathedral and an abbey and some random soccer stadium Maria wanted to look at.  
  • An hour train ride later, and we were there.  Because that's how trains work....
  • We went to the soccer stadium first, passing by Carnegie Hall - the Scottish one.  Maria (being Maria) had contacted whoever from the stadium and arranged to be let in to poke around.  After staring at the field for two minutes, we left.  Enthralling, I know.  

This street was very pretty in person.  In picture form?  You decide.  You decide NOTHING because I said it was pretty!
  • We continued on our journey towards my Grandmother's old house, which we found quite easily.  We stared at it some, took some pictures, stared some more, wandered a bit, etc.

This street: cooler than McCowan road since the year 1312.
  • We went to some terrifying mall (by terrifying, I mean filled with hot sweaty people).  Again, it was hot.  Very hot!  And sunny, despite what these pictures may show you.  After hastily exiting the mall, we went to check out another building with family history, but that's none of your business.
  • We checked out Dunfermline Abbey and Cathedral, which were pretty cool.  Here are some pics for evidence:

Old stuff = cool stuff

Cool walls = cool walls
  • We went home (back to Edinburgh) and while walking up the ramp coming out of Waverley station, we encountered a woman who had been walking ahead, but had decided to abruptly stop in the centre of this (narrow) path to drag things out of her shopping bag and stare at them.  Seeing that we were approaching her, she squawked "you can say 'excuse me', but I'm not a gonna move!"  In a very aggressive manner.  I said "ok" and walked by her.  
  • After some more wandering, we ate again at the Roamin' nose and then watched more soccer at Smithies, minus the brawl on this particular evening.
  • You'll notice there haven't been any fails-of-the-day, because Edinburgh brings out the inner cool person in EVERYONE and you CAN'T EVER FAIL!!!
DAY 8:
  • Guess what....more wandering!  Back to the Royal Mile we went.  On the way there, we were walking by a group of young lads who all had their hands in their pockets.  An older man saw them and barked "don't let the moths get out of your pockets!"  I found that extremely funny at the time, tbqh.  
Lisa Fail-of-the-Day:  Not really a fail, not even a cool story - this is completely meaningless.  I dragged Maria all the way down the Royal Mile to check out the Palace of Holyroodhouse, but the gate was closed and he didn't want to pay the entry fee.  We grasped the rods of the giant fence and I spoke while eating and sprayed the gate with shortbread, also I spilled coffee all over my white chucks.  Well, that's it.
  • We walked past a tattoo shop, stopped walking, turned around, peered inside and upon seeing that it looked clean and filled with young trendy Scottish people, I made an appointment to get an incredibly basic tattoo.
  • By the way, at this point I was getting very tired of whisky and whisky shops.  There are SO MANY.  And they are all FILLED WITH WHISKY!  I couldn't take it anymore!  In one shop I became so desperate that I began flinging bottles off the shelves, into the cobblestone streets and the sprays of whisky were so great that even the pigeons became drunk.  It was a nightmare!
  • Made my thirteenth trip to Primark
  • We "Filled" ourselves again
  • That evening we ate at The Other Place.  It's called The Other Place.  I mean it's also another place, but you call it The Other Place.  It was my favourite place, partially due to the comfy chairs that allow you to unbutton your pants for greater stomach room.  They had high chair arms that conceal your great stomach.  I had Black Isle Organic beer and alot of fish and chips.  Oh god I'm hungry just thinking about it.  Oh god I've eaten my keyboard.  Oh god what am I typing with?
  • We went for a lengthy walk back up around the castle, trying to take some emo-shots:

"Leave me alone." Said the castle.  "You're a castle, you can't move - nevermind be left alone at any point in your existence.." said the crazy person talking to a castle.

DAY 9:
  • On this day we decided to take a trip to St Andrews, the home of golf.  As an incredibly huge golf fan myself, I thought this was a great idea and I couldn't wait to see the 
  • I'm just kidding, I don't like golf but I thought it would be cool and I really wanted to play mini-putt.
  • It's an hour long train ride to St Andrews from Edinburgh, but the trains in Scotland are pretty roomy and I mean that's cool.  Did we play mini-putt? Yes, we did.  Was it on the Himalayas course that I had intended to play on?  No.  Did playing mini-putt still fill me with rage like every other time I play mini-putt (or go bowling)? Yes.  Was it great?  Yes.   It was also very hot, again.  Sunny and hot.  Hot and sunny.  
  • The gift shops are expensive.  The town is ok, nothing much to do.  There was a cool cathedral to look at, but I'm honestly getting bored just writing this.  I sound rude, and maybe on the next street over was the greatest experience of my life?  I'll never know, will I.
  • On the train home an old man had Dr Dre Ringtone, which I found interesting.
  • There were two horrendously loud children on the train as well - one of whom I eventually "shushed"....I got my payback when his/her little brother walked up to me later and stared at me quietly for a solid two minutes with his weird blue Harry Potter glasses, quite frankly making me nervous.  He got off the train a stop before Edinburgh, and then somehow miraculously appeared at my side IN Edinburgh about three minutes after I got off there.  Explain this to me?
  • We did more wandering and ate at The Other Place again.  Not the other place, The Other Place.  We were there for three hours, and alot of beer was consumed.  Alot.  
The next three days were filled with more wandering.  Maria fell ill on Day 10 and proceeded to have feverish symptoms for those three days. We returned to The Other Place and Cross & Corner again, because we are creatures of habit and I simply don't see anything wrong with that.  Ok!?    I went to get my tattoo from a lad who knew of Kensington Market (in Toronto), and went on a rather tame ghost tour in an underground vault.  The tour guide dude was a good storyteller, but standing around in three dark rooms is only scary for about 5 minutes.

Halt.  Who ghost there?

I returned to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, where I DID pay admission and I DID take the historical tour because that day the gate was open - no shortbread was sprayed, and instead I wandered through the vast yard and accepted the little ear-thinger that allows you to move around in peace while listening to the historical anecdotes and some other stuff.  These leave you in peace until you're trying to stare at a crown in a case and a child abruptly shrieks behind you, scaring the crap out of you and making you think the palace is in fact haunted by a monster...but then you turn around and nope it's just a regular kid.

I actually liked that tour, fyi.  They do not allow pictures inside, but I was able to capture some grass outside:


Stunning.  The grass, is?  It stuns.

I like old stuff.

SPOILER ALERT
I've decided not to share anymore pictures, because it will spoil your upcoming trip to Scotland.  The one you haven't booked yet, but you will.  Oh yes, you will.

Will you?  You should.  I wish you would.  Actually don't, because then Primark will be crowded.  And I know the command I have over my vast audience, so I know this message will keep Primark crowds at bay.  Look at all the comments below!  Yeah, that's right.

Ok that's all I'm willing to share about my trip to Scotland (also because that's actually pretty much it).
-You should go to Scotland.
-I'm going to go back to Scotland.


Peace, love and sunshine!*
xoxo - Lisa



*I'm going to start ending my blogs by ensuring I continue to never say anything like that ever again

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