05 April, 2006

och aye

Oh, you must all go right now and book rooms at the Castle Dalhousie Hotel. What a find! We did not even get a fancy room. But wait, half the fun was getting there.

After our lovely and hilarious dinner with the McBs lateish Thursday evening, they went home with many exhortations to have fun and spend lots of money in Scotland, and we grabbed our bags and were off to Euston Station to catch the Caledonian Sleeper Train at nearly midnight. I had been quite ridiculously nervous all day over the thoughts of having screwed up the train tickets, or the hotel reservations, or something, and so to get to the station in time, get on the train, tickets approved, and in our little cabin, was quite a relief! We stowed away our small belongings in the incredibly tiny little space (you could either have a shelf, or you could lift it up and have a sink! but not both), got into our pajamas, unpacked our books, and in my case poured a lovely little Scotch for myself, and filled hot water bottles from said sink. Heaven! Soon the train began to rock back and forth, and Avery's little comments about how cozy she was became less frequent, and she had her lullabies and so to sleep. Absolute heaven.

We were awakened very early by the tea lady, bringing tea, juice and croissants, albeit in a very unromantic Scotrail paper bag, but hey, gracious living we are not. We could have had first class berths, and I honestly considered it, but we would have been separated into two different cabins and that did not sound cozy at all. So we were happy to lump it in standard. Rain was falling, but who cared? We stuck our luggage in the "left luggage" (love the phrase, what about the right luggage?), had a glorious Italian breakfast at Centotre in George Street, which we would highly recommend if you find yourself feeling peckish in Edinburgh. Incredible egg sandwiches in ciabatta, and fruity drinks with names like The Pinocchio (apple, cranberry and lime) and The Bosco (lemon and pear). Then we struck out toward the zoo. Even in the rain it was charming! It took us but a moment to realize we were the only people there, not surprising, and some animals had the sense to get in out of the rain and were so not visible, but the meerkats! The lions! The penguins! Adorable. After a good long visit, we were off to Edinburgh proper, on a lovely city bus. In Prince Street we could not resist buying Avery a kilt, and a proper Scottish knitted sweater, by a label called "MacBaaa." To the station where we ransomed off our bags and called the taxi company recommended by the Castle, and were whisked away to our destination. You just would not believe the place. In my next post I will begin with a shot of the castle. And the staff! Lovely! And the falconry, and the food, and the bunny rabbits on the lawn... to be continued!

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