~ Reminiscing, Recommendations and Regrets ~
2. Wide-Eyed Wonder
My first taste of Scotland was Edinburgh. We had just spent a couple nights at a flat in London, and while we were in a very pretty, upscale district, I didn’t really feel like I was in a different country until Edinburgh when our cab was nearing our hotel at the corner of George IV Bridge and the Royal Mile. We pulled up to Hotel Missoni* and before I had fully taken it all in, our door was opened by the hotel’s kilt-wearing doorman. Oh, yes. I was now fully transported and immediately in love – with the doorman, the hotel, the gothic, medieval architecture, the sound of bagpipes, Scotland. We checked into our room then went out for a short walk to look around and grab a quick snack. After a bit we were exhausted (I was still a little jet-lagged) and tired of walking. We spied a cab parked not far in front of us and hurried over. Leaning into the open window, we asked the driver if he could take us to the Missoni Hotel. He points across the road and asks “that one?” Christine and I looked at each other and just laughed. I guess we hadn’t set our bearings before we headed out. We thanked him and went back to our room to rest a bit before dinner. I was laying on the bed and Christine was using my laptop (did I mention I brought my heavy, old laptop? That was another thing I was lugging around). Then about the same time I hear her say “um, your laptop is smoking” I heard a crackling pop. I jumped up so fast and instinctively pulled the plug from the outlet. Fortunately, I did not cause a fire or damage my laptop, though the charging cord/battery was most likely fried. I called RPL because I had no idea where to get replacements – where would I find a “normal” store amongst all the tourist shops and medieval buildings? (I was still in newbie travel mode). He laughed and said he would bring me a multi-country charging pack the next day 😊
Crisis averted, Christine and I went to dinner at The Witchery. It was superb. I wasn’t adventurous enough (yet) to try the Scottish game on the menu, but I ordered the salmon and it was amazing. If you want to treat yourself to an excellent dinner, delicious food and wine and beautiful atmosphere, book a table here. They also have some exquisite-looking suites if you wanted to indulge and stay a night or two. Someday, I would love to stay there as well and dine in their Secret Garden.
The next morning, RPL was due to pick us up from the hotel and take us to Glasgow. I was a nervous wreck, because this would be our first time meeting in person. Also, I knew I had to present a casual façade because, despite how I felt, we were only friends. Very close friends but still, only friends. And he meant too much to me to initiate anything that I was afraid he wouldn’t reciprocate (story of my life, really, and I have my own issues in that regard, but that’s a whole other tangent).
I kept looking out our hotel room window, scanning below for his car. Finally I saw it parked across the street and I’m pretty sure I stopped breathing for a minute. But I gathered myself in the lift on my way down to the lobby and was practically normal when I met him out by his car. We hugged and he gave me a box with a power cord and adapters for my laptop, which he refused to allow me to pay for. Then we just walked and talked, and I didn’t take any more pictures in Edinburgh because I was in a completely different mindset. Eventually we met Christine back at the hotel where I introduced them, and we went out to dinner at Kama Sutra. We had a great time, and our waiter was pretty cool. He asked where Christine and I were from and said that since it was our first time in Scotland, we all got a free shot. Technically, it was only my first time in Scotland, but who’s going to turn down a free shot? I don’t recall what it was made with, but it was very good (a house specialty the waiter had said) and the food was seriously the best Indian food I’d ever eaten. So good, in fact, that we went to their restaurant in Glasgow a couple days later.
Unfortunately, we had a really short time in Edinburgh, but I do eventually return again, and with a lot more pictures…
*Hotel Missoni is now the Radisson Collection Hotel
Regrets: That I hadn’t done my research, and it could have ended very badly. My laptop apparently was not dual voltage and I hadn’t brought a power convertor. Don’t make the same mistake. Make sure your electronics are dual voltage and buy a power convertor if they are not (note a convertor is not the same as an adapter). Also, don’t bother bringing hair appliances. A lot of accommodations have hair dryers and Scottish weather laughs at the sight of flat irons and curling irons. I was much better prepared for my next trip.
Chapter 1: The Traveler Newb