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20 April 2005

with stone walls rising right from

i only booked one night at the hostel and so again i was left with the situation where i'd need to check out and then back in again if i wanted to stay another night. checkout time was at 10am. while the hostel was centrally located, the drain in the shower in my room was severely clogged and there weren't lockers big enough to hold my main pack. i decided at the last minute to book a night at another hostel... ran down to the lounge and jumped onto hostelworld.com and booked a night with a hostel rated highly by other guests. i checked out and took my pack over to the bus station and stashed it in one of the lockers... and again, out to explore... and what better than edinburgh castle.

a daunting castle perched on a mountain of volcanic rock. with stone walls rising right from. and the crown jewels and prisoners trapped deep in the vaults and speakers trying to give you the feel. failing but still trying. a boat built from scraps of wood and memory by those trapped. americans there. carving into the door timbers. one from 1980 and still no protection. more will come. the museums with mannequins with hair glued. why. the one o'clock gun and the queen's birthday is tomorrow with a 21 gun salute. i'm not here tomorrow. i'm here today. a windy day and chilly.

i haven't been keeping up with these entries and i'm not exactly sure how other travelers have been updating blogs on a daily basis. during the day i want to go out an explore the city... at night either i'm so tired that i just want to sleep or i want to hang out and talk with other guests at the hostel. finding time to keep this updated has become a burden that i'm considering abandoning. additionally, i feel that my entries have become almost like an itinerary... i did this... and then i did this... and so on. i'll do that no longer... the castle description above will be my new blueprint. i'm not going to guarantee complete sentences from this point on.

i've been on the road just over two weeks and the charm of traveling has worn off a bit. ha! i'm hoping once i get into a rhythm things will fall into place. today is the first day i've had feelings of homesickness. i keep running into couples traveling together and think about how great it would be if sarah were with me. seeing the sights of a new city has been wonderful. what isn't so wonderful is booking the hostels and arranging transportation. while i'm meeting many new people in hostels, the transitionary setting makes it difficult to do anything more than scratch the surface of a person. where are you from? how long have you been traveling? where have you been? where are you going? if i'm doing this an entire year... or even if i were doing this for just a month... i still need some time to just sit inside and relax... not see any sights... not do anything... just have a 'normal' day. i'm going to take one of those days tomorrow. and i think i'm going to make an effort to write a little each night.

so... i pulled the trigger on the new hostel just a bit too quickly this morning as i was rushing around trying to check out on time. the new hostel was in cramond foreshore, about three miles away as the crow flies... much longer as the paul walks with his heavy backpack through twisting city streets. in an effort to save 50p on the internet this morning, i failed to notice that the hostel runs a bus service from a location near the castle (and very near the hostel i stayed in last night)... but ha... three miles? or five miles? not a problem. easily walkable, even with the pack. i was on my way.

about forty five minutes and several miles later i had an intense piercing sensation at the base of my neck and an interesting 'my toenail is coming off' sensation in my right little toe which resulted from an 'oh shit, i'm about to get hit by this car' mad dash across a street. my walk had begun near the castle... down through a large commercial district... and then into a residential area. a very run down residential area. a very run down residential area with lots of glaring 'what the hell are you doing here?' and 'hey, nice backpack.' looks. right. hmm. it will be dark soon. this isn't good. trust your instincts. i'd passed a grocery store about five minutes before and so i headed back to call the hostel just to make sure i was in the right area and to see how far away i was... and oh, if they had a bus service that possibly ran near my location. no answer. try again... no answer. screw this... i'm walking back. it's amazing how a piercing sensation at the base of your neck and a sharp dislodged toenail pain disappear completely and you're able to walk twice as fast when you're trying to get out of a questionable section of the city before dark. i had a new energy, but wasn't quite sure if the new energy was enough to get me back to unquestionable territory before the sun went down. after 20 minutes of walking, i hailed the first cab that drove by... 5 minutes later i was back at my previous hostel... 1 minute later i had a room for the next three nights. yay. this made me feel better.

posted by paul on Wed 20 Apr 2005 at 00:00:00 est (-05:00)

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