Wednesday, July 13, 2011

European Chronicles July 2, 2011

As we sit here playing MASH...yup, Mansion, Apartment, Shack, House (junior high status)...I decided to update y'all on the goings on of the day. Here goes:

We started out a bit early today to get to the train station before 0800 (the train didn't leave until 0823, but we had to get there early for WHEN there was a problem). Guess what, folks? There WAS a problem! Of course... The kiosk had no record of our ticket purchase. The lady at the front desk had no record of our ticket purchase. And that's basically all there is to it. So, we had to buy new tickets (even though we already HAD them AND my card had been charged for them AND I had already paid it off). Obviously a stern email was sent to Ms. Travel Agent Lady when we got home.

With new tickets in hand, we boarded the train. 

The ride there went off without incident (except for a few junior high girls that caused a bit of a ruckus). Sam and I played a few card games and disembarked at our stop--Edinburgh, Scotland. We found the tourist info area and purchased a map before hiking our little behinds up to the Royal Mile. We really had no idea what we wanted to see, but we had our map, and we were headed in the right direction. Right as we rounded the corner onto the Royal Mile, we happened upon a FREE WALKING TOUR! Yes, PLEASE! We hopped right on in there, signed up, and got partnered with Kit, our amazing tour guide. They only work off of tips--and man did she work for her tips. She was QUITE animated and entertaining, and she taught us a TON! I learned more about Scotland in our three hour walking tour than I did about Prague and Budapest combined. I have stories for days, but there are too many to put on here. I'll wait until some pictures are up to fill you in more (check FB). But, I will say that we saw some amazing things and had an AWESOME time!

After the tour ended, Sam and I wandered back up to the Royal Mile and found Deacon Brodie's Tavern where we decided to have lunch. He was the dude that Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde were based off of--cool story--look it up. Anyway, lunch was quite pleasant up on the second floor of the tavern overlooking the Royal Mile. After lunch we got some shopping done, went and toured St. Giles church (gorgeous), and wandered around a bit. By that time, it was already time to head back to the train station--time sure does fly when you're having fun.

Because of our awesome luck, the "plat" (platform number) wasn't posted when we got down in the station. We waited around a while and finally found our plat--8. We boarded the train and sat at a table. We were quite excited about this. Shortly thereafter, however, a band of Scottish boys (men? guys?) boarded and sat at our table, the table across from us, and in the seats surrounding. They were quite excited that we were from CA and asked us to say a number of words like "sector" and "Birmingham" and "aluminum"....each time erupting in a fit of laughter. They cheered, the whole "carriage" cheered, and we had a grand ole time. I took a few videos of these guys...they will do far more justice to them than I can do. One of the guys had fallen down the whole flight of stairs down to the the platform and had a bloody back. One of them was dressed as a whoopee cushion. One of them had a pair of bright blue sunglasses that was broken in half (we now own the other half). Etc. Etc. Etc. They kept trying to get us to go with them and catch a train to Durham in the morning, but that was a no go...

When they left we had a few moments of silence that were filled with some card games, but that didn't last too long. Soon after some English boys boarded the train and sat by us--causing much of the same scene. They had the whole carriage singing and cheering and yelling about the CA girls. They also wanted us to go with them, but we refused. Needless to say, we had quite the entertaining ride home!

Then Nathan and Nicole picked us up at the train station and we filled our ride home with some amazing stories. When we got home we ordered some Indian food, played a few rounds of MASH, emailed travel agent lady, and laughed...a lot!

We must now get ready for bed because we have church in the AM! I hope you enjoyed these stories as much as I enjoyed this day.. CHEERS!

Editor's (Nicole's) note: Amy neglected to mention that all of these men on the train had been drinking more than their fair share of alcohol. One boarded the train with his Burger King meal still on the tray. Hm...

Author's (Amy's) note: I also forgot to mention that a little ways down on the "carriage" there was a group of men in their 50's also carrying on quite loudly. At one point they were all singing "The wheels on the train go round and round..." When I told one of the Scotsmen that people like that get arrested in the US, he said we were too uptight. I think England just may be a bit too loose!

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