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Leesa & Susy’s Travel Diary

Monday, 13 Aug 2007

Location: Edinburgh, UK

MapRealised just how incredibly slack I have got with this. Ok run down of the past few months as best as possible quickly. The first week I was here spent it hanging out with Sue, a guy called Sam and a bit with Stu and Jimmy. Went on lots of tours like Mary Kings Close (an underground close which used to be street level), the vaults (underground cave like things which is making use of the room under the bridges that they've built to tranverse the valleys, city of the dead (Edinburgh is one of the most haunted places in the world) to the Greyfriars graveyard and a really haunted area where hundreds of people have been bitten scratched etc or knocked unconscious or even died (2) over the years. Went up to Arthurs seat for a great view of the city and found out how good the night life is here. Stayed at a hostel called Brodies for about ten days before trying my luck at Budget Backpackers which is where I have found home.
Took me awhile to find a job so wasn't quite as socialable at first and the crew staying at the hostel seemed to have formed a pretty strong bond that was a little hard to break into.
Inbetween headed down to London to visit the family which was great cause it had been so long. Also got another chance to visit mum and dad in Belfast about a month later. Was able to show them the Crown Bar but unfortunatly they were doing work on it so no where near as nice as it normally is but they did get the idea. I've ended up with some great friendships in the hostel some with people who have lekt and some with those that are still there. Really happy working at Deacon Brodies, great crew to work with and nice and close to home. Heading out quite a lot becasue we get such great deals everywhere but also able to just hang at home with friends and always someone to chat with or to come for a walk or to have lunch with etc. Have had many friends come and go and there always seems to be someone leaving or it's someones birthday or something that turns into a big night out.
I'm in a double room now with my good mate Cat who works at the hostel. We are fortunate enough to be moving into the best room in the hostel in about a week cause the assistant manager is leaving and Cat called it for us. So much better than a dorm room and she is great to share with and it's quite good to have the company. She could actually get a room for herself if she wanted but prefers the company too. Good friends with the staff at the hostel so always getting a few benefits on the side.
Have gone on a few day trips after not leaving Edinburgh for quite some time. Firstly to a place called North Berwick which is meant to be a nice seaside town. Was quite a nice little place but we must have gone on the worst day so far this summer. It was freezing, a bit wet, foggy and unlike Scotland didn't change much for the day. We had a look around and ended up in a pub cause it was pretty horrible outside. Was a nice place we just had bad timing. The next trip was to Glasgow for the day. Was a good day just wandering around and checking out the place. Decided it was just was everybody says, good for shopping and going out. Realised that we definatly made the right choice in coming to Edinburgh so much of a prettier city with greater atmosphere, Glasgow just another city. Next trip we hired a car and heading west of Glasgow to a place called Kilburne. There is a castle there that has had a large part of the outside of it graffitied which looks really cool. It was pretty cool but was also surrounded by forest so we had a great time exploring the surrounding land. The next day trip we again hired a car and headed along the coast north to St Andrews. Wandered around there a bit, had some lunch and then went for a scenic drive a bit further north. We had to be back for 7pm cause we had organised a surprise birthday party for Cat so next time we want to head a bit further north right into the highlands. Scotland really isn't that big country so doesn't take too long to cover ground (especially when you don't take the scenic route)
It is currently festival time in Edinburgh and the place is crazy. So much stuff going on and so many people. The population of Edinburgh increases by a million in August (the normal population is 5 hundred thousand) and the place is buzzing. I live just near and work on the royal mile which is the centre of festivities during the day. It is impossible to walk down there without getting at least 10 fliers to different shows and all sorts of people are dressed up and performing in different ways. Some times to promote their shows sometimes buskers sometimes just crazy people going with the flow. There are thousands of shows on so heaps of venues and advertisment for all of them to encourage people to watch them.
I've tried to make the most of the early part of the festival where there have been lots of free and cheap tickets on offer cause they want people to come to their shows so word can spread. So far I've seen about 10 shows, worth over £100 and only spent £10. Two of them were pretty crap but all the others were really good and world class performers. The buzz around the place is amazing and there are places like Speigal (don't think that's how it's spelt) tent which is an outdoor garden area set up for performances but also just a really big beer garden and the Udderbelly (a giant upsidedown purple cow), another venue but also big beer garden.
My work is pretty crazy at the moment cause we are just down from the castle where the military tatoo is. Each night there is a crazy long line that forms so we get hit really hard for a few hours to the point where we have to stop people coming in. Being on the royal mile just near where the fringe strip is we are also quite busy anyway. I'm heading to the military tatoo in a couple of nights, was lucky enough that my friend had a spare one.
Going to get chucked off the computer soon so all I can say is the one bad thing about being here is definatly the weather. It rarely gets over 20 degrees and just about rains everyday (if it doesn't i'm usually working). Even the people here say that it is about the worst summer they have ever seen. You have to appreciate everytime the sun comes out and there is no guarentee that it will stay out for very long. We are in August though so hopefully we get some nice days (when I'm not working) and hopefully I can get somewhat of a tan!!