DEC 27 - 28 - GLASGOW
After our false start from the morning before, we decided to make an early run for it, and not risk missing the train. Armed with a bag each filled with Gatorade, sprite and water we made the slow walk up to Northchurch road to get the bus to the train to the train to Glasgow! We got to the train station an hour early and filled out time with silence and looks of desolation and exhaustion as our bodies began their recoveries. We made it onto the train and into our reserved seats (which very few passengers seemed to take notice of) and found a small space for our bags.
Somehow we managed to make it through an epic train ride. Not only did we have screaming children, one of them threw up and started HOWLING which thankfully was enough to shut her sister up for a few seconds…
We eventually disembarked at Glasgow, bought tickets to Edinburgh for the next day and checked into the Euro hostel a short walk from the train station. That night we had little more energy than making it to the Cineplex (allegedly the largest in Europe) to watch Avatar and a small nearby Italian place where I watched the girls eat some real food while I had the bread basket and plain steamed veggies.
We had an early night only to be awoken by screaming Scots in the corridor looking for butter. I'm not really sure what for…
The next day we headed into Glasgow town and up Buchanon St for a spot of shopping. We stopped for lunch at the Willow Tea Room - a beautifully decorated little place. Cat tried some haggis, neeps and tatters, while Clare and I went with safer dishes.
We wandered through GOMA (Gallery of Modern Art) and the Royal Exchange Square before heading back to the hostel to move on to Edinburgh.
Now… at this stage things got interesting. I was still feeling sick and was lacking of energy, patience and any semblance of pleasantness. When we got back to the train station to get the train to Edinburgh it turned out the tickets we had bought the night before could only be used then - they were not advanced tickets. This meant we had wasted a total of 30 quid on the tickets. After explaining what had happened to one lovely lady, and then arguing black and blue with another, we bought some more tickets and off we went.
DEC 28 - JAN 1 - EDINBURGH
Despite our carefully written instructions, we managed to miss our station (I blame the card playing Cat! Hahaha) and we had to get another train back where we'd just come from (thankfully they didn't charge us!!!). When we finally got to our station it was snowing and we were all a bit tired. We made it to our hostel which was really quite nice, and shortly after got a call from Fi and Alex (from South America!!!) to catch up with them.
After showering and feeling more human, we set off for some exploration and to find dinner (we settled on Chinese) before meeting them at Standing Order (the CHEAPEST pub in all Edinburgh!). After a great deal of chatting and catching up, we made our way back to the hostel where we found out the other 2 beds we'd seen occupied were filled with couples… and that one of the couples had a REALLY LOUD SNORER!!!! Now, after having travelled with Nick, I've learned some coping strategies, but seeing as I'd left my earplugs at home, the only one I could use was the 'Don't get angry, just try to stay calm' move, where you try not to get so worked up there is never hope of sleep.
Needless to say both Cat and I woke up the next morning with no sleep…
A lot of our time in Edinburgh was spent shopping, but on our first day we also wandered through the cute little Christmas market and went onto the ferris wheel to get some good views of the city. It was the COLDEST in Edinburgh out of anywhere that I've ever been, and needless to say that the inside of the hollow cage was freezing at the peak! Hahaha
We wandered through shops, trying to keep warm as we watched the snow falling in the streets. At times it was so thick it was like something from a movie where people are caught in a blizzard. Big fat globs of snowflake somehow defying gravity as they float lightly to the ground. Cat and I invested in some ear plugs (which worked for me but not for Cat) and we played some cards in the bar after I awoke from my nap, and we ordered some food in rather than brave the cold and snow.
Our second day in Edinburgh we headed off on the walking tour where we proceeded to slowly lose feeling in most of our body parts. Brenno had let me borrow his extremely thick Burberry snow jacket, and whilst that helped, the four layers of socks on my feet seemed to do little. We managed to find some beautiful engraved hip flasks to take out with us to the street party on NYE at a tiny little store for not too bad a price.
After the walking tour we met Fi and Rich (her lovely boy friend) at Assembly, a bar near their uni, for some dinner and drinks. It was exactly what we needed, and from there we headed onto Bar Kohl where Cat and I ordered a gorgeous drink - Raspberry Ripple! We found out that we'd missed the Lantern Procession the night before, but weren't too disappointed when we saw the people covered in candle wax that had blown over them as a result of the wind. We tried for a relatively early night knowing that our only hope of sleep was to get back before the snoring man!!!
New Year's Eve we got up and poor Cat was still without sleep. The last few people had checked into our room - 2 Korean girls, and a boy who got in late and was dead to the world. Again, more shopping transpired that day, as we tried to get everything that we'd seen and decided on so scarves, blankets and a kilt were added to the growing pile! We made it back to the hostel with the plan to pack so the start home to London would be easier the next day.Our mystery male roommate (from Sydney it transpired) was finally awake and Cat had someone new to play cards with, which she was very happy about. I'm not so sure about Ralph though as he proceeded to lose every game.
Pimped up and ready to go, we set off for Fi and Rich's place armed with too much food and alcohol. Dinner was lovely, and we got to meet Rich's little brother, and Fi's school friend Holly who were both great. The street party was amazing. After La Tomatina I don't think I will ever again complain about crowds, but it was VERY intense with lots of pushing and scrambling through some of the smaller streets. The buzz was incredible, and there was such a mix of people. The fireworks over the castle were impressing even to me (generally not too big on fireworks) and we all linked arms to sing Auld Lang Syne (there was a screen showing the words!) once they were over. We went back to the house for a bit, but once our eyes started drooping closed we began the walk home. Now, the walk home was long but VERY amusing… the funniest part would have to be the random man in the kilt. Now bear in mind, it was snowing almost every day we were there, and the footpaths were REALLY slippery at the best of times. Being drunk and wearing a kilt was DEFINITELY not one of the best of times for this poor chap… He had fallen over, and just could not manage to stand up again, repeatedly slipping and sliding and falling back down. Still a fair bit ahead of us, one of his friends finally reached him, and holding onto a fence for support get him up off the ground… I have never witnessed anything so comical in my life! Hahaha
Somehow through out the day I managed to lose 5 quid (DAMN IT!!!) but was quite happy with our party poppers, glo sticks and candy necklaces (although it was so cold that only we knew that we had them on! Hahaha). Eventually we made it back to the hostel at 4am, only to be woken up by the snoring man at 5am and to have no sleep for the rest of the morning.
Giving up and figuring it was time to start the day we finished the last minute packing, and headed off on our way. We opted for the taxi to the train station, and I found 10 quid in the back (making up for my loss the day prior). The train ride back was filled with more card games, as we slowly trawled back to King's Cross. It was mainly incident free except for the 35 minutes where we had to stop because of a 'noxious smell' (they actually said that over the loud speaker!!!) in the rear carriage.
We made it back to De Beauvoir Square relatively incident free, and had a relatively early night as Clare had a 7am start the next day to get off to Canada. We jumped out of bed early to say goodbye and good luck to her as her adventures continued!
Cat and I had a full day together, and had many places to try to stop into along the way, as the next day I was set to move into my new place. We set off in order to pick up her GHD she'd ordered online from the middle of nowhere (much quicker than we thought!) before heading to Harrod's for lunch and a quick shop. After spending ages staring at food we had a quick lunch outside, and then headed off to Oxford and Regent streets for last minute shopping and exchanges. Everything done we headed home where Cat had to try and pack (and repack several times) everything into her bags so they didn't notice the extra 15 kgs she was taking through.
It was a very teary farewell as we said goodbye and her taxi pulled away I had my first night on my own in London. Needless to say I got very teary and didn't really like it all that much.
The next day I did some moving and spent some time with Lin and Dan before finding out I had another week before the painting in my room would be finished, so opted to move across slowly. A fair bit of the moving happened in the snow (and even whilst it was snowing) but slowly I managed to get everything over to the new place.
A huge thank-you to the girls for making the effort to come all this way to see me, and to travel with me - I appreciate it more than you can know. A MASSIVE thanks to the boys for letting me stay with them for 2 months - again, I appreciate it from the bottom of my heart.
To everyone back home, as always, Ilove you and miss you all lots - thanks for your messages and kind words. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!