Edinburgh: the Athens of the North [Travel Experience]

An aspiring Politician! Forte lies in influencing people's behaviour through writing and speaking. Traces of extreme and confused creativity can be seen!

Life truly is a beautiful journey. No matter if it’s painful or a pleasant one; it is all about how you perceive the situation you are in. Some people find the pain quiet motivating but some find it excruciating and starts to complain and decide to quit and blah blah blah
But this blog post has nothing to do with the usual motivational stuff – it’s more like a journey from one city to another or I’d say – one situation to another.

Having been living in the UK from the last 7 years I never got a chance to explore the divine and scenic beauty of Edinburgh, Scotland. I always made a plan but most of the time, those plans ended in smoke. (Ah! Story of our lives isn’t it?) But this time I decided that no matter what happened I am not going to change my mind and will stick to the plan. So I checked my pockets, emptied my piggy bank and packed up my stuff. I made sure that my Lilly (kitten) has enough supplies for a couple of days; her favorite cat food and water (even though she loves to drink from the kitchen sink and not from her cute, little pot)

After making sure she is going to be fine, the next task was to make sure the taxi arrives in time. Most of the people who are regulars of these taxi companies, must know exactly what I’m talking about. If you want a cab to be at your door step by 1800, make sure you ask the cab station to send it at 1745.

In my case, the cabbie got late and when I called to enquire about it, ‘He’s right at the corner, literally 30 seconds away’, said the operator in a very professional manner. This is again a very ‘cliché’ situation and ‘regulars’ are fully aware of it.

After hopping at the back of the cab, I checked my pockets for the ticket (most of us do this isn’t it). Instead of checking it in the flat I checked it in the cab – thanks God I had it!! The cab’s meter was quiet favorable to me, which isn’t the usual case. After getting the luggage off the cab, I walked in the station and started to look around for my platform. The train arrived right in time just like the adverts between your favourite sitcoms and programmes.

Like most of the men I was hoping that a gorgeous blonde will be accompanying me in my journey from Manchester to Edinburgh. But as it says in the BIBLE that always pray COMPLETELY. It means that my companion on the train WAS indeed a gorgeous blonde but 60 years ago! It was a pleasant journey other then the fact that the ‘gorgeous blonde’ has some stomach trouble and she keeps slipping in the loo, which made me leave my seat after every fifteen minutes.

A little cold welcomes me warmly at the Haymarket station, Edinburgh. Cab search wasn’t difficult as most of the cabbies in Europe parks outside the stations in a queue; which makes the life much easier. Luckily I didn’t have to wait for long, ‘Where vould yew lyke to go Sire?’ strong ‘Escatish’ accent was appealing. ‘Inverleith terrace’, I tried to response in strong ‘English’ manner’.

The hotel was very warm and cosy (worth the money I’d say). The room, however, was as small as a box room with a double bed squeezed in there. Right after settling in I decided to look for some nice Scottish restaurants but couldn’t resist the craving for ‘daal roti’ or I’d say the Asian food. The receptionist ordered me a nice takeaway. A walk with some cigarettes and a full day was enough to put me to bed.

After having delicious vegetarian omelette with black coffee I set out to explore the ecstatic beauty of Edinburgh. The first stop was ‘Botanic Gardens’; a place where you can find the most beautiful, unique and most extinct species of the plants world. It was absolutely stunning, the whole ambiance and the collection of plants was indeed a very refreshing view. After spending approximately an hour (since I’m not too much in botany and the plants), I decided to hop on the tour bus. As soon as I got on the bus the driver immediately spotted the ‘tourist’ in me. ‘twailve pounds that will be fore thee toure buss’, I gave him the money but then I got instantly lucky! Not that I won the million pound drop live or something like that, but the ticket machine got messed up and the driver told me to stay on the bus for FREE!! The feeling of saving the twelve quid is quiet overwhelming (especially when you’re struggling with your finances and are on a tight vacation budget)
The cold wind and some other tourists accompanied me on the beautiful and quiet informative tour of the city. Edinburgh castle, Royal Britannia Yacht, the Ocean terminal, the Royal Mile, the Parliament and the Holy rood palace were some of the places to be named. I decided to hop off the bus at the city centre. It was quiet busy as the weather was relatively sunny and obviously it was a weekend. The beautiful and majestic shopping malls were quiet appealing. These massive shopping malls are designed by keeping human psychology in mind. A lot of people find themselves buying stuff which they don’t even need. Just because the way these malls have been designed, will make you spend the money on the products you probably won’t even need much.

 ‘Edinburgh Dungeon’ caught my attention just like politicians tries to catch the attention of the voters. Since I’m quiet an adventurous soul (well that is what I thought so) I decided to buy the ticket to satisfy my inner ego. ‘Yes, I can see this’, its only fun’, ‘Nothing real is happening here’, these were some of the thoughts going through my mind, just like most of us do to calm our nerves down. The moment it was my turn on the ticket counter, I knew it is going to be a really horrifying and dangerous experience and you know why I made such assumption? Because the ticket costs around £16.50 per person! Now this is some scary number for an hour journey in a dark dungeon with some live actors messing around and trying to portray horror when they know that you know that it is all fake! The dungeon was an ‘okay’ experience since it was quiet obvious that it is the entire act. However, the two rides were quiet exciting. Especially the ‘sudden drop’ from a certain height was quiet overwhelming.

Right after the ‘horror’ experience of my life (yeah right) I decided to go to a rather informative place – Our Dynamic Earth. It is a place with lots of information regarding the planet earth, astronauts, space and a classic 4D experiencing movie. I’d say it was quiet good, especially for the students and for those individuals who are quiet eager to learn about earth and its existence. You will be watching things that you have never seen (or seen on National Geographic, if you are one of those individuals who just love to watch anything on TV!)  As mentioned earlier, it was quiet academic based other then the 4D movie experience which was right at the end – keep the best at rest and reveal in the end, another marketing tactics.

By the time I got done with the Dynamics of our Earth (had a nostalgia of my Geography and History class from school days), I had some coffee with some snacks from the local café and decided to walk towards the back of the premises.

It was a beautiful, gigantic and majestic view of mountains known as the ‘Volcanic rock’. Families, young and old couples, health and fitness conscious individuals running around in their track suits and with their dogs in short people from different races of life were gathered there to enjoy the mesmerizing beauty of this Volcanic rock’. It is a series of mountain peaks (not too high) which is spread all over in a very breathtaking manner. On the top, the weather, clouds and the sun; in short, every element was putting a combine effort to make the rock look even more beautiful. As I sometimes say, it’s very hard to describe the level of beauty of any particular thing, because words just won’t do justice with it. This was exactly the same case with this beautiful and amazing yet gigantic rock. There are stairs carved through the entire peak so that the adventurous souls (like me) can taste the excitement of these heights. I stayed there for a couple of hours and took lots of pictures as the place was fully equipped with scenic beauty.

I took the cab because I was too hungry yet too tired to wait in the queue for the bus. In the hotel I ordered some delicious Italian room service with some diet coke. Funny it is that people order meals that are full of fats and all of the useless material but they don’t forget to order the ‘Diet’ version of the drink – I mean how exactly we can be able to control our weight just by eating all the junk but by having the diet Coke or Pepsi. I mean, the ‘Diet’ term doesn’t mean that you are ‘losing weight’ or ‘dieting’– irony of life!

The night was pleasant till I decided to take the ‘Terror Tour of Edinburgh’. People from all over Britaintend to believe that Edinburghis the most haunted city of all because of the historical events that have happened. Some of the opportunist decided to make some money out of it. They have formed small tourist companies and these companies have spotted some ‘scary’ spots throughout the city centre that are ‘supposed’ to be haunted. Every night they have some tour guide from these companies taking you through these ‘scary’ places and telling you all kind of scary and spooky stories about the past. I’m not saying that it is all wrong or fake; the stories may be true and so does the events from the past but the way they portray it to the public is just too commercial. The tour guide is wearing a weird sort of outfit that will make it look like a ghost hunter or something of that sort. The voice pitch, the areas, the dim lights, the exhibition of the torture weapons that was used by the Scottish people to assassinate other people makes it all quiet a chilling experience especially for those who are not quiet skeptical and believes on such things. I am not saying that spirits or ‘djin’ don’t exist, they surely do. But going through the streets and finding some weird markings on your skin as if someone’s scratched you don’t really make sense. I have figured that the only reason why people were feeling dizzy, throwing up, passing out, pissing themselves literally is quiet logical. The tour guide will take you to the underground chambers that are quiet dark and has very limited and low supply of oxygen. Because of the entire ambiance the brain starts to see things which are also called a sort of Mirage. Mind will be forced to see such things – resulting creation of illusion of some kind. That is why, most people complain about such feelings through the tour which are quiet sellable. As a human I also felt the pressure when I was in the underground chambers but I knew the reason; lack of oxygen (and common sense for some people).
Overall, it was a chilling experience (well the weather was kind of cold in the night).

Next morning, I checked out after having my usual breakfast based on the omelette and some toast. The hotel receptionist rang me the cab that took me to the station and I took my train and return back to ‘home sweet home’, where some junk mails, my beautiful kitten and tomorrow’s work welcomes me quiet warmly. (In fact, I’m still in the train and almost home)

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