UK (12.31.09 – 1.09.10)

On Thursday, December 31st, I woke up at about 9AM, packed my bags with items that would help me keep out the cold Edinburgh winter winds, and shortly left the house. First, I headed for the Russian Visa office, and collected my passport. From there, I headed for London Kings Cross to catch the next train up to Edinburgh. The train ride was wonderful as the company that operated the service provided free wifi, to my delight; the time seemed to pass quickly. I was picked up from the Edinburgh Haymarket station by Amy and her fiancée, Chris. We went to the store to purchase volumes of alcohol, which you’re allowed to bring into the street party! We then went back to their flat and had a really delicious dinner of haggis and mashed potatoes, ALL of which I liked! Around 10PM, we started to walk to the street party, where we met up with an old friend of Chris’s. We hung around drinking and before I knew it, it was time for the countdown to midnight. There was an incredible fireworks display, and then everyone sang Auld Lang Syne. As soon as that was done, we started heading for a local bar, which was too cute and served all of their drinks in teacups. After the bar, we went to a party for while, and then headed back to Amy and Chris’s. On the way, we all managed to slip and fall in the snow, and I managed to twist my ankle pretty severely in the process. Once home it was bedtime.
Friday, we all had a late start after sleeping off the night’s festivities. I felt fine at first, but developed a hangover which needed sleeping off. Amy and Chris went to a party in Glasgow, so I stayed in for the night and watched the Doctor Who special, hanging out with Ruby, their beautiful dog, and nursing my ankle.
On Saturday, we went for a walk around Edinburgh, starting at the Edinburgh Castle, then walking the Royal Mile, and continued over one of the city’s scenic hills. We managed to walk for over two hours. My shoes are total rubbish and don’t have the slightest amount of tread or grip, and consequently, walking in the snow proved to be almost impossible at times… but, I made it, with the help of Amy and Chris who at times had to join arms with me so that I didn’t fall. At times, it was though I was skiing down the hill– I’ve never been skiing before! Once back at their flat, we lazed around for a while, and Amy made a delicious and hearty stew, which was such a perfect meal for a cold winter night– hearty and warming. She had also made an apple crumble for dessert. We enjoyed it all while watching a film called ‘The Boat That Rocked,’ which was one of the funniest films I’ve seen in a long time, and had a truly spectacular cast. After the film, we called it a night and headed to bed.
On Sunday, I decided it was time that I make my way back to London. We hung around the flat for a bit, and at 2:30, Amy and Chris took me to the station. The train home took much longer than it should have, as Virgin trains managed to make a total mess of everything, which, from what I hear, is to be expected. I finally got back home just past 10PM.
Monday and Tuesday were similar days in that they were both spent preparing to go to Egypt and taking care of last minute preparations and packing. On Wednesday, I was due to leave! My flight was scheduled for 9:15 AM, which meant that I needed to catch the very first tube I could to get to the airport in good time. When I left the house, my flight was still scheduled… I got to Victoria station to take the Gatwick Express to the airport… and my flight was still schedules, albeit it had been delayed at this point. By the time I got to the airport, my flight had been cancelled. They told me to stand in line to reschedule, which I did… and then returned home. I promptly fell asleep as I’d slept terribly during the night, as I was worried that I wouldn’t wake up at 5AM as I needed to. Wednesday ended up being totally uneventful, and with my flight scheduled for 9:15AM again the next day, I was not looking forward to repeating the early morning. However, by 5PM, the flight had already been cancelled, and I had to change plans once more, this time shifting my flight to Saturday at 11:05AM. Thursday and Friday ended up also being hugely uneventful, and lucky me, I came down with a cold. I think I changed out of pajamas once within the span of those two days.
On Saturday, I woke up around 7AM, and left the house shortly thereafter. I arrived at the airport in good time to deal with the huge lines that I had accurately predicted that I would encounter. I got through security, and lucky me… the flight ended up being delayed by three and a half hours! But, after all was said and done, the flight DID leave, and I was on my way to Egypt… but that’s the start of a whole new story!

Now for pictures!

A poor photo of the Edinburgh castle all lit up at Hogmanay

Fireworks! A pretty rubbish picture… I was having trouble figuring out my settings

A good photo of some of the fireworks, taken by Amy

From left to right: Chris, me, and Amy. Happy New Year!

Our drinks at the bar (I can’t remember the name)… all served in teacups!

The bartender mixing delicious beverages, prime for consumption

Another photo taken by Amy… I’m so bundled up still!

The beginning of our walk at Edinburgh castle

Looking down on the Old Town… which you hardly see because of all of the snow!

Ruby, Amy and Chris’s beautiful dog

The view of the hill that we walked up

And again…

A view from the top of the hill

The view of Edinburgh Castle from the top of the hill

Chris and Amy, my wonderful hosts

What my walk to the station looked like on Wednesday for my failed attempt at a flight to Egypt!

In short, New Years was absolutely spectacular, and I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Scotland. I’m in Egypt now, as my previous posts have divulged, and it’s absolutely fabulous here. So, my next posts will be about my adventures here!

If you’re reading this, I hope you’re well. Happy New Year to everyone!

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