Edinburgh

The day I left Quent and Jan was the best day weather wise. The sun shone and the wind was but a light breeze, with bite! The train system is privatised and the North East Service that I boarded was run by Virgin Rail. The train, which had commenced its’ journey in London, arrived about 10 minutes late. It appeared to be disconcertingly full as it pulled into the station. Thankfully the majority alighted, so that for the final leg to Edinburgh there were quite a few empty seats. I sat on the right as it was on this side that the ocean was visible and the train followed the coast for a while, although not exactly hugging it. 

The usual refreshment trolley appeared with woeful black coffee and those packets of ‘coffee whitener’. The label boasts that they contain NO milk products and the resultant outcome of combining coffee and whitener, is the dramatic  appearance on the surface of the drink of undissolved white blobs. These bear a remarkable similarity to the consequences of adding out-of-date milk to one’s coffee, nausea inducing congealed milk protein floats on the surface. Both taste the same!
Through “Bookings.com” I made a reservation at The George Hotel, situated in the centre of the city and close to all the tourist venues. It is rather upmarket. The staff are all dressed in kilts! The men at least. However to a man, not one of them appeared to be Scottish. After several encounters and polite questioning, I discovered, that the vast majority were from Portugal, Italy or Spain! By now I was expecting to be accosted by Basil Fawlty. In Australia such overseas workers are invariably students or on a working hoilday. In the UK I rather think it reflects the poor economic environment in Europe, which entices them to of all places, cold and bleak Scotland, where they are prepared to wear a kilt for cash! 
There is additional indirect evidence that Britain appears to be in a reasonable state of recovery as in Edinburgh at least, many shops have signs advertising vacancies for waiters and shop assistants.
Today is Good Friday and to my surprise the shops are all trading. It is not good weather wise, Marcus the kilted concierge from Cordoba, infoms me that there will be rain till 12 noon then it will be sunny. This is the outlook for each of the next 4 days. So I retire to my room, to blog and practice the Recorder, drinking cups of congealed coffee until the afternoon.
I am walking the Royal Mile it is now 12 noon and Marcus’ predicted sun is nowhere to be seen. Should I confront him on my return I am sure he will respond: “I know nuthing”! It is dismal so I head to a local Cafe for an acceptable coffee.
One would not have the remotest idea that today is Good Friday, the Royal Mile as I write makes Rundle Mall on a Friday night look deserted. My God… The Postman has just delivered the mail! Remember it’s Good Friday! 
I decided that the best option faced with cold pelting rain was to head to the Scottish National Museum, along with 99 thousand others. It is worth the visit and free. For the first time I am aware of presumabley overseas tourists, not so much as from Japan, but rather from the Indian Subcontinent. Now whilst an Indian man looks quite fetching in a dohti, try as I might I can’t visualise him in a kilt. I walked the Royal Mile, climbed all over the Castle then headed back to the hotel. 
There was no rain but it was nevertless still bracing and most people were sensibly rugged up in heavy overcoats, scarves and gloves. To my amazement a considerable number of young Scotsmen, paraded around in shirts and not much else. Short sleeved whats more.
My iPhone has a recently discovered app that tells me how far I have walked and how high I have climbed each day! Well today the stats were as follows:
25736 steps
29 floors (stairs) for a total of
16.66 km on the day.
I had a glass of wine at dinner as I felt rather smug. Tomorrow I am signed up for a bus trip to the Highlands visiting several castles. I skipped the optional Whisky Distillery tour.
 

The main hall of the National Museum

 
   

  

Three photographs of the Castle.

St Gilles cathedral