The final leg of my European adventure was about to begin as I headed up to Edinburgh from Madrid. I had booked a flight on another low-cost airline, Easyjet. Like a lot of these low-cost European airlines, their standard fair doesn’t include a checked bag so I booked their more expensive ticket – which was still pretty cheap. It also gave me access to priority boarding, which is nice since these airlines seem to board in a free-for-all method with people lining up way before boarding time.
I got to board first but soon found out that really didn’t mean much. As I passed the ticket counter, the hallway led downstairs to a doorway where there were two buses waiting to take us to the plane. I was one of the first ones on the bus and it filled up to capacity. When we exited the bus at the plane, being first on meant I was last off, essentially boarding pretty close to last. No big deal, but it was kind of misleading.
The flight to Edinburgh was less than two hours, which was good because leg room on Easyjet isn’t something they have a lot of. When I got to Edinburgh I had to clear immigration as they are not on the Schengen Visa with the rest of the EU. The airport is fairly small and I didn’t really have to look around for a tourist information booth as I stumbled right into it.
I had looked up options to get to the center of town as part of my planning and thought the airport shuttle bus was the best option. I confirmed this in the TI shop and bought a ticket. I had kept some British Pounds from my trip to London a couple years ago and brought them on the trip. When I tried to use them I was informed they were no longer accepted as the UK had moved to new polymer notes. If I wanted to exchange them I would have to find a bank in London to do it, it couldn’t be done in Scotland. Apparently, Scotland has its own currency and banks, and only exchange old Scottish notes.
After a quick trip to the ATM, I soon had my ticket in hand and boarded the bus. It’s about a 30 minute trip from the airport to the Waverly train station where I was dropped off, from there it was a 10-minute walk to my hotel.
It is late September and the weather was cool. People were bundled up in jackets and hats, while I was terribly underdressed just coming from the South of Spain and 80-degree weather. The temperatures weren’t that bad – maybe in the 50’s – but the winds were strong and the cool cut right through me, making it seem a heck of a lot colder.
On checking into the hotel I mentioned how cool the weather was to the girl at the front desk. Her response that she thought it was nice weather for this time of year, gave me a chuckle.
After getting settled, I bundled up in all the clothes I had. An undershirt, long sleeve shirt, light sweater, and a rain jacket. I headed out to brave the elements. I wasn’t uncomfortable, but it was still a bit chilly and I was going to need to get something a little warmer.
I did my usual walkabout to check out the town. I headed across the bridge and up the hill to the Royal Mile and Edinburgh Castle. It was late in the day and the Castle was closed so I just had a look around at some of the wonderful buildings that line the Royal Mile and High Street.
I found something for the fans of laissez-faire economics, free markets, the invisible hand, and classic liberalism.
Probably the most photographed street in Edinburgh, even before the whole Harry Potter phenomenon.
I have a few friends that would like this store, and the dozens more dotted around town.
As the sun started to dip towards the horizon, things really started to cool off and I decided to call it a day. There would be plenty of time to sight see the next few days.