Scotland 4: Day 33


Edinburgh, Scotland | 10:14

I had a great sleep last night but was woken a bit too early. At about 07:00 or 07:15, construction started working in the room next to ours, and there was loud banging. I’d only wished that they would have held off for a bit, but no big deal. I got up and headed to breakfast. The twins have checked out and are on their way to Glasgow. Chin has checked out as well and is on his way to London. I don’t check out until tomorrow, and I’m not sure what today will bring.

Tonight I think I’ll get some more bangers and mash! I’ve known about bangers and mash (sausages with mashed potatoes) for years, but didn’t know why they called the sausages ‘bangers’. Well, I found out yesterday, and I’m that much smarter. Back during “the war” (I’m not sure if they’re referring to WWI or WWII), food in Scotland was getting scarce, and they needed to find a way to stretch what food they had further. They started adding water to their sausages to make them bigger. When they would cook the sausage on the stove, the water would come into contact with the hot pan and pop or “BANG!” Thus- sausages became “bangers.” Now you know everything I know.


I found lunch at The World Famous Maggie Dickson’s Pub. I had never heard of it, but when I went in I saw that her story had been posted on one of the walls:
In 1723 Margaret Dickson, a fish hawker in Edinburgh, left the town to visit relatives after being deserted by her husband. On the way south, she stopped off in Kelso at an Inn to break the journey. She stayed a while and worked in return for her board and lodgings. While she was there, Maggie formed a relationship with the landlady’s son and fell pregnant with his child.

This was not in her contract of employment, so she concealed the fact that she was expecting, and in time the child was born prematurely. When the baby died a few days later, she was determined to throw the body into the River Tweed. Losing her nerve, she laid the baby at the water’s edge.

The body was discovered later that day and traced back to Maggie. Arrested and tried under the 1690 Concealment of Pregnancy Act, she was sentenced to be hanged in the Grassmarket, Edinburgh, on 2nd September 1724.

Maggie was hanged, and after her death was pronounced, the body was to be taken to Musselburgh for burial. On the way there, the funeral party heard noises from Maggie’s coffin. On opening the coffin, they found Maggie to be very much alive!

Recovering to full health, she was allowed to live as it was seen to be God’s will that she survives. Living the rest of her days in Edinburgh, she was known by all as the celebrated ‘Half-Hangit Maggie’!


I did a bit more exploring, and I have to admit that I was a little bit sad. Tomorrow I have to leave this city is making me somewhat emotional. I guess all I can do is start planning my next trip to this beautiful country. It may not be for a year, or three years, five years or ten years from now, but I’ve started to plan my next visit.

As promised, my “last meal” was back at Monster Mash for some more bangers and mash. This time, however, the bangers were pork & blue cheese, and the second one was a Moroccan lamb. The mash had grain mustard mixed in, and it was great! I topped it all off with onion gravy this time.

Scotland 4: Day 32

Edinburgh, Scotland | 23:22

Today was great! I woke up and had two big bowls of cereal and then went out for a walk. I decided I’d walk toward the west, away from all the “touristy” areas. It was refreshing to see “normal” people going about their day. I must have been near a university or college because I saw a lot of young people out and about.

Well, I may have lost my cell phone. I haven’t had time to look for it very much yet, but I didn’t see it in my stuff. I hope I don’t have to pay for a new phone- but on the plus side, this will be all the excuse I need to go from my iPhone 3GS to a new iPhone 4. I was secretly hoping to hold out until the iPhone 5 announcement, whenever that will be. I’m crossing my fingers that I can find it.

I found a great lunch at a place called Maxie’s. I had chicken on a bed of spinach and feta cheese, covered in a fantastic sauce that is made from red peppers. It was brilliant!


Last night was a blast! Chin asked me if I was going to go out partying. I told him I didn’t party, but I thought it would be fun to find a karaoke bar or somewhere. He agreed and asked me if he could come along. I told him that would be fine. After a quick shower, I met these twin brothers named Connor and Rorie. Connor is currently studying abroad in Ireland, and Rorie is doing the same thing in France. They have finished their studies and thought they’d come to see Scotland before they fly home to California.

Chin and I set out to karaoke, and I soon realized that it was very awkward having him there. He’s sweet and means well, but unlike me, he is quite the introvert. While I was chatting with strangers, Chin was following me around like a lost puppy. He wouldn’t even talk very much with me- he wouldn’t talk to anybody. I told him in advance that if he got too tired or bored, he could head back without me. But there he stood, like my Asian shadow.

After a while, Connor and Rorie showed up. When they did, it broke the tension a bit because they wanted to talk with me, and weren’t afraid to venture out on their own. I’m not sure what Chin’s deal is, but when the twins arrived, he went back and sat at a table all by himself, as if he was trying to avoid all contact with everyone.

The twins were even asking me what his deal was- but I didn’t know. After a few more songs, Chin came and told me that he was getting tired, and he wanted to go back to the hostel. I asked him if he knew the way, and he said he did. We all told him goodnight, and he left. Once he was gone, I’m sad to say it was much easier to relax and have a good time- the twins agreed with me. I promise I’m not a bad person. I just wish Chin would have at least acted like he wanted to hang out with us. The rest of the night was great!

Edinburgh Castle at Night

Scotland 4: Day 31

4.27.11 | Edinburgh Hostel | 15:56

My breakfast this morning was provided by the hostel, so I didn’t have to eat out. It was some brand of multi-grain cereal. My keen observation: Over here, Cheerios is part of that Nestle company, not the General Mills company like in the states- and now you’re as smart as I am.

Chin and I grabbed lunch at Deacon Brodie’s Tavern. I had some fried brie cheese as an appetizer and then a pork steak and eggs. Chin had his first haggis. He said it was good, but he was expecting it to be a lot better- so many people had told him how they loved it. My haggis experience was different, I thought it would be much more disgusting than it was. Both of us managed to keep down our first haggis, though. I feel like this is a huge milestone or right-of-passage!

After lunch, I was dog tired, so I curled up and took a long nap. Now it’s time to do some laundry. Sadly, this may be the last load of laundry I’ll do while I’m in this country.


After my laundry was cleaned and put away, I went to Greyfriars Cemetery and explored some. I tried to find the headstone for George Watson and John Watson. George Watson’s stone is so worn out that I couldn’t read what is inscribed. The John Watson headstone is overturned so that I couldn’t read it either. I wonder if either of them is my ancestor.


Dinner was at a Japanese restaurant. I got some delicious chicken curry. Afterward, I walked to New Town and saw the movie, Thor. It was pretty cool, although predictable. Still, it’s always fun to watch a superhero kill everybody.


Scotland 4: Day 30

My Room in Edinburgh

Edinburgh, Scotland | 14:20

Good afternoon! I left Pitlochry this morning and now I’m back to Edinburgh. Sadly, this is my 2nd to last stop before having to fly home. This time I’m at a new hostel… well, I stayed here 3 or 4 years ago, or whenever Scotland 3 happened. It was a good hostel and so I thought I’d stay here again. In the day I come back to Scotland, I’ll surely spend more time staying in and exploring Pitlochry. I’m very impressed by that town.

My train ride was a good one, uneventful with a train change in Perth. Nothing worth reporting, really. The gal sitting across from me didn’t wanna talk- so I closed my eyes and got about 15 minutes or so of sleep. I read my book for most of the other time.

I got a message today from my friend Neil, who I met on Shetland a few stops ago and he says he wants to plan a road trip in the US sometime in 2012. That would be crazy awesome! I hope we can work something out. I have a few great road trip plans.


This afternoon I met a guy from Korea. He’s staying in my room at the hostel here. His name starts with a ‘J’ and sounds something like ‘Chin Huak”. I don’t dare try to spell it though. I already am destroying it each time I try to say it. He’s currently a student here in the United Kingdom and he happened to have 10 days off of his classes, so he took a little trip up here in the north. He tells me that all his friends here can’t say his name right, so they just call him “Bro”. I thought that was funny.

Chin “Bro”
Back on Arthur’s Seat

Chin and I hung out tonight a while and walked around Edinburgh. This was his first day here, and it was fun to give him some advice on where to go and what to see while he’s here. The hostel here seems to be full tonight, or at least our room is. This is quite a change from my experience in Pitlochry. I didn’t have to share a space with anyone while I was there.