Edinburgh

The beautiful city of Edinburgh, the most desirable place to live in the UK. Well that is according to a 2009 Yougov poll. I don’t know if it is true but I can believe it.
A beautiful, green and historical, friendly coastal city, it reminded me of Dubrovnik minus the good weather.
It was a cold November 2009. Having returned from Korea I received the rather expected news that my division of AEGON UK was to shut and therefore technically redundant. I had the choice of relocating to the head office (in the UK) of Edinburgh or I could travel the world. There was only going to be one outcome.
However I did take up the offer off AEGON to visit the UK head office but requested that I return a day later than my colleagues. Which I did.

Edinburgh is all respects a lovely city, whether in the new town or old. The architecture is appealing, large green spaces, gothic church architecture and many impressive vistas. It is a city to savour time and relax.

Among the beautiful viewpoints is Arthur’s Seat. The extinct volcano is not a challenging climb at any sense. Well at least for most people. The opportunity to hike a miniature mountain in the middle of a city or thereabouts is rewarding. The sea can also be viewed.
“See he is in a suit! It is not difficult at all”. A guy tries to convince his lover / wife. Wearing a flat shoes, long coat, and shirt and trousers not exactly hiking material. The walk however was not very difficult and the views afforded over the city where wonderful.

Other worthwhile views are from the Castle famous for the military tattoos and Carlton Hill. The highest point in the city centre again offering beautiful sea views amongst nice architecture in leafy surroundings

Deep Fried Mars Bar

Scotland has its own peculiarities in food. One of the better known ones is the Deep Fried Mars Bars. Some Scottish Politicians have acted in disgust at the promotion of as modern unhealthy Scottish food and true if you read articles you might think you would find it every chip shop. Not so, but neither is it rare. It is an oddity to be tasted even if once. I finding Mars Bars sickingly sweet, should have been enough reason not to trying one deep fried. But I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
The verdict, well it certainly was awfully sweet and I was a bit afraid to finish it all. The calorie count must be fitting of several meals. I ate half and decided not to discard the rest.
Surely this has to the most unhealthy of Scottish foods! Or is that the deep fried Pizza!? I didn’t get around trying that one!

A brief stop at St Andrews

“Let me know when we reach [St Andrew’s] train station”
Nod of agreement from the bus driver as the bus departed at night.

St Andrews site of a world famous golf course and more importantly a prestigious university. The third oldest in the English speaking world.
I was paying a visit not to see the pleasant city but to meet Charlotte.

A kind friend studying there. She in turn introduced me to two of her friends studying there. Charlotte had kindly offered to let me stay in the lounge of her shared house.
However I had declined as I was staying in a company paid hotel for that night in Edinburgh. Well at least I thought.

The bus driver stops at a station other than the one I meant to get off.
“I am sorry, I totally forgot! This [station] is the one before. What time is your train? You should rush. Where are you going?”
“Edinburgh”
“The same train goes to Edinburgh”.

So I rush to the station only to be told the last train has left to Edinburgh.

OK.. I went to the taxi to be given a quote of in excess of £100 pounds (US $160, 2/4/12) to Edinburgh! Suddenly I was stranded. Maybe I was going to need the offer of accommodation after all.
My mobile battery was dead. I had a single 20p or 50p (my mind escapes) to try and make a call.

After a few attempts ensuring not to reach the answer phone I manage to get through to Charlotte. Fortunately I had her number on a scrap of paper otherwise I would not have even been able to call.
However the credits consumed before I could finish the call.
Fortunately Charlotte is able to trace the phone box and calls back. And I get a taxi back…to St Andrews of course. And led early the next morning to Edinburgh.