Friday, March 3, 2017

Next Stop: Edinburgh, Scotland

*Continued from My Journey to Scotland's Cities, Highlands and Islands 

After getting instructions from a lady at the help desk in the arrivals area of Glasgow International Airport (she suggested take a bus/train combination to Edinburgh), I made my way to the front entrance of the airport to find the #500 bus to Queen St. Station in downtown Glasgow. The moment I walked out the door, a blue bus with the #500 was just pulling up. I rushed over and bought a ticket and was on my way. Much easier than I thought it would be and I didn't get lost like I usually do. The trip downtown took about twenty-five minutes and allowed me to see some of the city. Upon arrival and in an equally-easy manner, I was able to find a ticket booth where I bought a train ticket to Edinburgh Waverley Station, find the right train and board.  

I was surprised by how easy this whole process was.  Actually, it scared me a little.  I was almost expecting something to go wrong.  It's rare that things go this smoothly for me when traveling. In less than an hour, I made it from plane to bus to train and was headed for Edinburgh. Although I was dead tired and the seats on-board the train were very comfortable, I was unable to sleep a wink. Instead I drank coffee all the way there which I'm sure didn't help with the jet lag and lack of sleep. There wasn't much to see along the way except homes, industrial parks and lots and lots of sheep.

The train ride only took about an hour and before I even had a chance to settle down and relax, it was time to disembark at Waverley Station in downtown Edinburgh. When I booked my trip, I didn't know if I would be taking the trail but I still sent directions from Waverley Station to the Travelodge on St. Mary's St. where I was staying. once I was off the train, it didn't take long to realize that I would need to access those directions. The station was much larger than I thought it would be and I, very quickly, became hopelessly lost. The directions were of no help.
Waverley Train Station

I wandered around that train station for just over an hour trying to find the right exit onto the right street. When I found it, it took another twenty minutes to find the right route to my hotel. It was during this time that I had my first experience with genuine Scottish hospitality.  Several people who noticed I was lost offered to help me and one person even offered to walk me straight to my hotel! Once I got on track and new what direction to go, I walked another ten minutes.  As I walked, I couldn't help but notice how warm and sunny it was. Everyone back home told me the weather in Scotland that time of year was much like home - cold, damp and horrible. I was wearing my cold weather clothes while walking with all my luggage so I was sweating bullets in no time. I arrived at my hotel room with plenty of time to explore the city on that first day. It wasn't until my arrival at the Travelodge that I realized how central it was - right around the corner from the Royal Mile, the main tourist street in Edinburgh.

Checking into the hotel was a breeze. The only peculiar thing about check-in was the fact that no one at the front desk knew how to say or spell my last name even though MacEachern, so I've always been told, is an obviously very Scottish surname. Oddly, this would not be the first time I'd experience this on my adventure around Scotland. It seems that it's not as common of a name as it is across the pond in New Scotland. Once in my room, I quickly unpacked, grabbed a shower and set out to explore the city. I probably should have caught up on sleep seeing as I was jetlagged and hadn't slept in almost two days but I felt wide awake. I'm not one to let a little jetlag and lack of sleep get in the way of my travels; plenty of time to sleep at home!
My hotel room at the Travelodge in Edinburgh - simple but clean and comfortable.

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