Monday, 8 October 2007

Destination Edinburgh Day 3

Blast from past!
After the fun filled day capturing Nessie, I was all set to explore rest of Edinburgh. Ok I was a little low on energy as capturing a monster is no child's play. So after a quick breakfast at the Inn I decided I would take the Hop on Hop off bus instead of walking.

I walked up to its bus stop close to the Inn and caught the bus. The bus took us too holyrood which is the official residence of the British Monarchy in Scotland. I wasn't really interested in exploring the palace. Close to the palace is the hill where you can trek up to the highest point of Edinburgh. I didn't want to do that either. So I caught the bus back and just went on a full loop without getting out anywhere.

On reaching the royal mile which is nothing but a road which has the Edinburgh palace on one end and the official residence on the other end, I got out of the bus. I did some window shopping till I came across a sign in big letters saying that they offer haunted tours. Now fighting monsters, I am totally ok with but monsters with no legs, gives me the heebbie jeebies.  After much contemplation and encouragement between me, myself and Mamta, I signed up for the tour.

We were a group of 10 with a guide leading the way. Here is an interesting fact about the city. Some parts of the old city of Edinburgh is built on top of the much older city of Edinburgh. The older buildings act as a foundation for the old buildings. So once you go down the old buildings of the old city, you are in the older buildings of the older city. Did all this make sense? It didn't make sense to me either. Do you think I was paying attention when the guide in his weird costume was telling us all this. No ways! I was just saying my prayers. "God! Let me not see any ghost. I will not capture another Nessie in my life"

So we go down the building and and get into a narrow dark alleyway with 2-3 storey buildings on either side. We are at the infamous Mary King's close.The lifestyle of locals was one of the causes for outbreak of plague. Well let me just say that the Scots did not have a drainage system and a bucket was their toilet and the alleyway the drainage system. Now you know why the princess garden is so lush. All the alleyways lead to the gardens. Unfortunately the plague and how the affected were quarantined is a gory story made entertaining by our dressed for the occasion guide and the occasional visits by “the people of the past", some screaming, some zipping by, some touching us for the added effect. I tried my best to just look down and continue the tour. Yes, yours truly was not in her bravest mode at that junction.

We were then taken into a small room which further led into smaller rooms till we lost sight of the exit. And voila there was a coffin with a tiny flickering light next to it. We were made to sit around it and the guide started to tell us all about the doctor who treated all the plague victims, the gory way they let the plague victim die and how the bodies were disposed. I knew something was bound to happen at this point of time. So I did the best thing I could in that situation. I just closed my eyes. Unfortunately I could not close my ears. Now that would be too obvious. I might be a chicken in my heart but I don't want that on display for others. As expected I was the only one who did not flitch when a ghostly creature in white went floating by. I was the brave one!!.

After the nerve racking 10 minutes by the coffin, we went further into this maze of rooms to a shrine of a girl. Now supposedly this girl Annie is still around and a psychic spotted her in 1992. People offer toys  and trinkets for her as the psychic did many years ago. Well a quick peep into the room and I was all set to leave the place. I was really very glad to come out into the open after 30 minutes in the dungeons of the older city without hearing the girl cry. On our way out, we were informed that they have a late night grave yard tour. Well I was like “Really!!! I so want to go but I have a train to catch late in the afternoon".  I wasn't lying. I would have gone on the grave yard tour! But shucks!! The train!!! It will not wait for me, right?

Now lesser said about Britain railway system the better. Ok I know they were upgrading their lines and modernizing the system in 2007. But can they at least inform the passengers in advance. On reaching the Edinburgh station, I was informed that my train is canceled and I have to catch another train which of course was at the other end of the station. Why is it never the one standing on the other side of the same platform? This train would take me to an intermediate station from where I had to take another connecting train to my original second destination.

If you remember I had taken 3 trains to get to Edinburgh and I was planning to do the same on the way back. But with this additional train, the number of trains got increased to 4. Unfortunately the train took us into the interiors of Scotland unlike the one along the coast on the way in. But as a consolation it was through the scenic countryside. After catching the second train which arrived just after about 1 minute after I landed at the platform, I settled down to enjoy the rest of my journey. Within a short time, I was informed my originally second but now the third connecting train was canceled too. I had to take a bus.  So here I was at this small little station with one room building acting as lobby, waiting and everything else. It was about 8.00 in the evening and about 5-6 of us had got out at that station. Giving us company at this station were few more people. After standing in a line at the inquiry, I was informed that my bus was at 11.00 in the night. Thus started the great luckily uneventful wait of 3 hours with nothing to do and a group of strangers for company. The number dwindled down to just couple of us by the time my bus turned up at 11.00. After couple of hours on the bus, I reached Norwich at 2.00 in the middle of night.  So much for traveling in a new country on my own. Can it get any better than this?

Did I mention that I had a 3 hour ride on train to London next ...oh wait the same morning at 6.00am. What do you think I dreamt about for few hours in Norwich...well trains and more trains!!!

Location Edinburgh, Scotland
Date: October 2007

Tip: Always expect the unexpected
First: Pay your respect to Greyfriars Bobby
Must do:  Haunted tour
The travel connection: Blast from the past

1 comment:

joo said...

It's a city I adore, and you show it in such a lovely way!

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