Latest posts by FIRECracker (see all)
- Reader Case: Starting Over at 35 - March 24, 2017
- Why You Should Marry a Frugal Freak - March 20, 2017
- Let’s Go Exploring! Vietnam: The Country Travellers Love to Hate - March 17, 2017
Okay, so we’re going to take a break from all the Britain bashing and whining about the Brexit, and go back to our travel series to talk about Scotland. Scotland, of course, is the country that is about to become independent because of the GODDAMN Brexit!
Ahem. *pats self on back for the OUTSTANDING segue* Whispers self-congratulatory “nice, nice.”
Anyway, so after Bristol, we took a flight on EasyJet to Glasgow, Scotland. Home of, Krystal, our AirBnB host extraordinaire and owner of the world’s fluffiest cat, Sammie, who was basically a giant fur ball with eyes.
Krystal also has a super cool Mom, who after learning that she hadn’t drank anything for the past two weeks, insisted “You’ve got to get back on the drink, lass! I’m sending over some Brewdog STAT!”
Man, Scottish parents are SO unlike Asian parents.
Krystal lived in this awesome neighborhood, close to all the museums, as well as grocery stores. Coming back from museum hopping one day, we walked into this gorgeous little park. There was this neat little exercise area, filled with outdoor weight benches, chin-up bars, and exercise bikes.
And it was around here that I met…my arch nemesis.
The Agility Bench.
The Agility Bench, is this gymnastic bench that you’re supposed to jump over. But try as I might, I couldn’t do it. Mostly because of my useless, short stubby legs. So instead, I just stood there, arms crossed, griping to Wanderer about how dumb the bench was and why anyone would design something so “stupidly tall and impossible to jump over.”
“You’d have to be like 8 feet tall! I’m not Kobe Bryant!”
Wanderer didn’t respond. Instead, he just walked over to the bench, grabbed the sides, and jumped over it like it was nothing.
“WHAT?!” I said, flabbergasted. “HOW?”
Wanderer shrugged. “Just lift your knees.”
But try as I might, I couldn’t get over the bench. I tried having a running start. I tried leaping into the bench. I tried flinging myself over it. Nope. Nope. And Nope.
Wanderer looked at his watch. “Can we go please? We’ve been here for almost an HOUR. Why do you even care?!”
Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m kind of competitive. Like STUPIDLY competitive.
So I made Wanderer wait, rolling his eyes and checking his watch over and over again, while I pondered how to defeat my arch nemesis. And then finally, FINALLY after 25 failed tries, I figured it out.
This was the result:
“I DID IT! I DID IT!” I said, jumping up and down. The eight-year-old kid next to me who figured it out in 5 mins flat didn’t look impressed, but I didn’t care.
I had beaten the Agility Bench. “I AM YOUR MASTER!” I yelled, jabbing my finger at it.
Wanderer dragged me out of there, exasperated, while the locals gave us weird stares.
It was AWESOME.
So after that day, we rode a giant blue Megabus to Edinburgh…the birthplace of Harry Potter! And yeah sure, some famous king or queen probably lived there at some point too… but let’s get back to Harry Potter!
Our first stop was Edinburgh castle, J.K, Rowling’s inspiration for Hogwarts! Located at the top of a hill overlooking the entire city, the castle was breathtaking as well as SPRAWLING. We spent over 4 hours there, and we still didn’t see the entire thing.
What we did get to see though, was the “One O’Clock Gun”. Which is a tradition at the castle where a soldier fires a canon everyday at 1pm, allowing visitors to synch up their watches. Apparently the tradition came from the 1860s, to help sailors check their chronometers, before watches were invented.
My favorite thing about this ritual is that normally 12 Noon is used as the baseline. So really, they should be firing 12 shots. But the thrifty Scots decided “hey, why fire 12 shots and waste a whole lot of ammo, when you only need to fire 1?”
Right away I knew I’d get along with them. The Scots are my kind of people.
So, after traipsing around the castle, and looking at a lot of medieval military equipment and the Scottish royal jewels, we headed for the “Elephant House” café. Known as the “birthplace of Harry Potter”, this is the cafe where J.K.Rowling famously penned the best children’s fantasy series of all time. And so as children’s authors, we HAD to pay homage to our idol.
As expected, the place was PACKED. I suspect if J.K. Rowling were to come here and write another novel, she’d never get past the first page.
Cost Breakdown (in CAD dollars, per couple):
- We mostly cooked. Luckily we found an awesome grocery chain called “Morrisons”, selling such delicious abominations as: Black Pudding (blood sausage) and Scotch Egg (an egg wrapped with sausage). Nom nom!
- More high tea! Perfect for the Scottish weather since it rained A LOT.
- Edinburgh castle was 16.50 pounds (or $30.50 CAD) per person. Not bad considering it’s massive enough to spend a whole day there.
- We took 1 guided tour to the Scottish highlands (because we’re in Scotland how could we not?), and man was it expensive (45 pounds or $83 each) and so NOT worth it. We were allowed a STINGY 15 mins to gawk at the highlands, but were FORCED to blow a whole HOUR at a touristy fishing village that bored me to tears. I highly recommend the highlands, but rent a car and drive there instead. It’s WAY better.
- Museums were free! YAY! If you’re ever in Glasgow, check out the Hunterian museum at the University of Glasgow. It’s amazing. The university is pretty insane too since, and like Edinburgh castle it looks just like Hogwarts.
- The flight from Bristol to Glasgow was 41 pounds or $75 CAD each, including taxes.
- The bus ride from Glasgow to Edinburgh was only 10 pounds each ($18.5 CAD). In the UK, Megabus is your best friend.
- Edinburgh was pretty walkable so transportation around the city was free. In Glasgow, we took the bus and subway.
Total cost: $164/day/couple
Rating: 4/5 scotch eggs.
Gotta love the Scots. We had NO IDEA what they were saying most of the time, but our communication mostly consisted of clinking glasses and drunken slurs, so…yeah. You ROCK, Scots!
Click here for the next post in the series: “Ireland: Please Don’t Scream into a Traffic Cone.”
Come meet us at this year's Chautauqua UK! Details here