28 Oct: After arriving from Glasgow, had lunch and then slept for a few hours. At night I went out with Vicky from Canada on a mission to find some Scots (no luck - met some English guys in a pub and hung out with them all night!) Was surprised to find that Halloween is a big deal over here - felt a bit left out 'cause I wasn't dressed as a pirate!
29 Oct: Woke up earlyish and went with some Chinese tourists from the Hostel to Edinburgh Castle. Outside the castle was a guy dressed as William Wallace, raising money for leukaemia. He said that he'd been doing it for 10 years and that his outfit was authentic and from movie sets (Braveheart, etc.). He also said he was Mary Donaldson's cousin (!) and that his image was copyrighted - saw him later on postcards (see album for photos). Didn't end up going into castle as bumped into the English boys from the night before and went with them to Scott's Monument.
Scott's Monument is this huge tower with lots of narrow stairs that make you dizzy to walk up; it took us a while to get to the top and by then it was so narrow I could only just get through! Thankfully the weather was beautiful and I got lots of great photos from the top of the tower. Can't feel it through the photo, but it was windy and cold up there!!
In the afternoon, I went to the Scottish National Art Gallery, which was fantastic (even more so because it was FREE!). I was captivated by Rembrandt's self-portrait, which is so real that you expect him to step out from behind it, and several paintings in the Scottish Art section. Upstairs in the gallery there were several Degas paintings and a bronze statue by Degas of a dancer doing an arabesque - they were beautiful. Caught the free shuttle bus to the Deane Gallery of Modern Art, which is quite small, and loved the paintings by a Scottish artist (I think his name was J. Macdonald Patrick or something). Found the rest uninspiring except for a completely blue painting that I could have sworn moved when I looked at it.
Limped back to the hostel and tried some vegetarian haggis offered by a sweet English lady - it was very tasty. Met Aussie John in the dining room, who said he was going to listen to some Scottish artist in a pub. Borrowed Pat's shoes (she's about 65 and thought it was very funny lending her shoes to a 20-something) and went with John and fellow Aussie Brendan and Spaniard Antonio to the pub. The guy playing was called Andy Chung, and he looked Chinese, but when he spoke or sang, this incredible thick Scottish accent came out - very bizarre!Bought his CD and he signed it for me
30 Oct: Checked out of Edinburgh Hostel and met up with Vicky - caught the bus with her to Glasgow (buses are cheaper than trains, stupidly). Finally chatted to a real Scot on the bus (hurrah!). Weather was nasty when we arrived, so we took a cab to the hostel (relatively cheap - transport seems to be a bit backwards in this country). Walked back into town and had lunch together in a pub that Moira and I had found on my first day - good food and pretty cheap. Went shopping in the arvo and finally gave in and bought some slippers as my feet were aching and my boots had a broken heel by this time. Shuffled back to hostel and got very wet feet as weather was now truly feral. Caught my first double-decker bus to get back into town and saw a movie to pass the time; caught train to airport at about 10:30 and slept a few hours before flying back to France at 6:40am.