The beginning of the next phase of my adventures abroad didn’t exactly go as I had planned (but then, when do they really?). After finishing up the last of the cleaning in our flat and saying goodbye to my room, I started to lug my suitcases down to street of Stirling to the train station. As I went, realizing how amazingly heavy my luggage was, I consoled myself by thinking that at least this would be the only leg of the journey that I would have to carry my suitcases long distances, and that I only had to make it from my flat to the station and then from Waverly in Edinburgh to the hotel. My large suitcase weighs almost exactly 50 pounds, my carry-on weighs about 20, and my purse is filled to the brim. Needless to say, I was already exhausted by the time I reached my platform (which required me to carry my stuff up and down a large flight of stairs). So, on the train I tried to keep my spirits up, and thought that since I had spend a lot of time in Edinburgh, I would know it well enough to find my hotel. Well, after about 15 minutes of dragging my stuff up the hill from Waverly station, I got to the street where the hotel website told me to turn, only the street name was wrong. Maybe I need to go further down the road to find the right place, I thought. Five minutes later I decided to ask someone, and found a nice looking man. “Just go through the park and take a left, and that will get you there, he said”. Well that didn’t sound quite right, but he must know Edinburgh better than I do, I reasoned. So, off I went again, through the park. Reaching the other end of what is known as “The Meadows”, I looked around and found myself in a residential area. Seeing as I’m staying in a hotel, that didn’t make a lot of sense. So I stopped a lady and asked her if she knew where I was supposed to be going. She told me that I should never have walked through the park (which took about 20-30 minutes to get through). At this point, my hands were raw, and I could feel tears beginning to threaten what was supposed to be a fun day. So I began my mantra. This will be a good day. Don’t cry. This will be a good day. Don’t cry. Two more people, three wrong turns, and about 40 minutes later, I finally arrived at my hotel, and tears were averted! When I told the hotel receptionist the route I had taken to get there, she just looked at me and said “Oh my god, you poor thing. We’ll get you a welcome tea when your room is ready”. Sometimes I really think God just knows when we need a break.
Bags put in storage until I checked in, I decided to go back to a familiar and happy place for a cappuccino—The Elephant House. I had wanted to stop by, because this was the café I came to on my first day in Edinburgh and it’s a special place for me. One delicious coffee later, I was feeling revived enough to go find a park down by Holyroodhouse on the Royal Mile that Ashley had told me about where I ate the sandwich I had packed in Stirling (which felt like a lifetime ago already). It was such a lovely park, and it felt like business of the royal mile just faded away there.
After lunch, I continued down the mile to Holyrood and decided to take the tour. I wasn’t sure if I should, because I had heard before that it’s not really worth it, but seeing as the castle was so packed of tourists and I’ve also already been, I figured I might as well. I’m very glad I did! It was fun to walk through the rooms, listening to the audio guide tell me all about what the rooms were used for. I felt like it was especially cool because the queen actually uses it as a residence, so they told you all about what she does in each room. Obviously the private apartments aren’t viewable, but it was still fun.
Grace, Ashley, and Grace’s parents were in Edinburgh today too, so we met up and went back to the Elephant House so that us three girls could have a last tea and say goodbye. That was really bittersweet, because it was of course nice to see them and everything, but it was also really tough to say goodbye and then walk our separate ways down the street. It has been so hard saying goodbye to people, but I know that we will see each other again if we want to make it happen!
Upon my return to the hotel, I was thrilled to find that my room has a bathtub!!! I have been DYING to take a bath the entire time we’ve been here but it just wasn’t ever possible. So, this evening I’m going to be a total wild child and draw myself a bath, sink down with a book (maybe even Harry Potter again) and just relax. I am SO excited!
Tomorrow morning, bright and early, I will catch the bus to the airport (at least this time I know how to get back to Waverly) and head to Norway! Woohoo!