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.

Scotland 4: Day 19

4.15.11 | Lerwick Hostel | 09:00

I had a pretty good sleep, and although my cough still exists, it was a little less last night, I could tell. Sadly, I woke up with a slightly sore throat, but it feels better now. I better not be getting sick!

This morning has consisted of a shower, a shave (yes… I’ve shaved more in the last 15 days than I have in the past 4 years), and packing up my things. Even though the ferry doesn’t leave until about 1730 or so, they still want us out of our rooms by 1030. They’re going to let us use the luggage room for our stuff so we won’t have to haul stuff around for most of the day. In fact, I’m still going to be a the hostel for a time. They can’t have my key quite yet.

Lerwick > Kirkwall |18:42

Today has been great so far. I’ve been hanging out with Soeren for most of the day. Back at the hostel, we decided to stay in. We played 5 games of pool and he beat me every time. But I helped- he’s not that good at pool either so the fact that I suck so bad that he won tells me that he couldn’t have won all those games without me. I think I need to buy a pool table. It’s a blast but I’m pretty rusty.

Neil was kind enough to come home from work early just so he could see us off to the ferry. This is because he’s a good person- it shows! He was even nice enough to give Soeren a ride to the ferry.

It just so happens that there are three others onboard tonight, who stayed at the hostel. Terry is here (he possibly had too much scotch on his trek to get here, and he’s sleeping it off in his cabin- that is, if he made it here at all. I haven’t seen him) and Matt and Hannah are here as well. Soeren and I will get off in Orkney and the rest will continue onto Aberdeen.


Soeren and I



Matt, Hannah, myself, and Soeren


For dinner, I had and Orkney beef roast with potatoes, carrots, and peas. To drink: Irn-Bru! Irn-Bru is a soft drink that has been made in Scotland for over 100 years. It’s pretty good.



I went to the bar to get a Pepsi and the guy working looked about 17 years old. I could tell he was new because he didn’t know where the drinks were when someone would order one. I said hi and gave him my name. He said hi back and told me his name was Chris. He’s from somewhere near Glasgow and he was actually 19 years old and this was his 2nd day of the new job.

He’s been hired for 6 months and they work him 2 weeks on, then 2 weeks off, the entire time. Also, he never really leaves the ferry for those 2 weeks that he’s on. He works his shift, and then when his shift is over, he goes upstairs to the 3rd level and has his own cabin to stay in.

I asked him if he was planning on attending a college or university, and he said he hadn’t decided yet. We talked for a bit, and because this is only his 2nd day on the water, he hadn’t gotten used to the movement of the ship yet. He actually got sick and asked me to watch the bar for him while he had to run to the restroom to throw up- Poor kid! I’m sure he’ll be used to the job and the motion soon enough.

I remember when I was first hired to be a flight attendant. Even though the movement and turbulence of the plane in flight has never bothered me, there are many from my hiring class that it did. One, in particular, would even get sick to her stomach at least once a week. Her body took a few months to accept it and now she’s fine. She’d better be since we’ve been working on the plane for over six-and-a-half years.

Kirkwall Hostel | 23:39

I just survived a crazy ordeal. When we were getting ready to leave the ferry, Soeren and I was talking about getting a taxi to the hostel. It was way-late and we both knew that there would be no bus or other public transportation to get us there. I was going to pull out my iPad and check the name of the hostel, but Soeren told me that there was only one hostel in town and he had the information so I didn’t worry.

We got outside of the ferry terminal and sure enough, there was a cab driver waiting there. We asked him if he was available and he told us he was. We sat in the back seat and asked him to take us to the hostel and he said he would. He told us he was very familiar because he dropped people off there all the time.

We walked into the lobby and there were two desk clerks there to check us in. I thought that was rather odd because I’d been in correspondence with the hostel yesterday and someone named Erik told me that nobody would be there to check me in and that he’d just leave a key in an envelope at the front door and that my name would be on the envelope.

Come to find out, I was at the WRONG HOSTEL! Soeren and I had booked entirely different places. The cab driver had already left, and I had already paid for my room at the other hostel so I didn’t want to pay for another room at this one. The clerks were very nice and even laughed at the situation. Then they pulled out a map and showed me where the right hostel was located. It seemed to be only a mile or 2 away on the map, so I asked them if it was a safe area. They told me that the Orcades only had a murder about every 25 years or so and that they’d actually had one last year. So if the murderers kept with the same average, I’d be safe for the next 24 years or so.

So- I’m hiking around late at night in a place I’ve never been, hoping that I’m not mugged or worse. A lady and her daughter, whose names I didn’t get, pulled over when they saw me with my big old backpack and asked if I needed help. I explained the situation and showed them the map. They thought the situation was funny and assured me that I was on the right path. I found a footpath that took me part of the way. This path took me behind houses in the neighborhood so there were dogs barking at me for most of the walk.

I followed the directions that they had given me and happily, I arrived at the hostel. When I went into the lobby, sure enough- there was an envelope with my name on it. Needless to say- that walk took a bunch of whatever energy I had left tonight and I’m happy that I will get to fall asleep soon!

Back to Scotland 4: Day 3 | Forward to Scotland 4: Day 20

Scotland 4: Day 18

4.14.11 | Lerwick Hosel | 08:05

Last night I got to hang out with Neil, Andy, Matt (from Australia) and Hannah (from New Zealand). They are all incredible and we had a great time. I hope we can keep in touch when we part ways.

Falling asleep was a bit difficult last night. After a while, once the coughing stopped, I finally was able to sleep. I probably got 5 to 6 good hours of sleep and for me, in a hostel, that’s excellent.

It’s partly cloudy and a little windy today… sprinkling a bit, but I’m sure it will blow over soon.


Today I hung out with Andy again. His ferry leaves tonight to go back to Aberdeen, then he’ll go to his place in Edinburgh for a few days- then he’s off on his next adventure. We went to the chip shop and got fried pork and chips. It was pretty good, but I think I’ve had my fill of fried food for the time being. Next, we went to a museum on the edge of town. About the first half of it was quite fascinating. We learned about the early settlers and the occupation of the islands. They have also unearthed some remains of these peoples’ homes.


I was able to get a bit of rest, but nothing major. Andy is now on his twelve-hour ferry back to the mainland. He’s a good guy I’m sure I’ll miss. Tonight I hung out with Soeren who is from Germany. We walked together to Tesco, the local supermarket, to grab dinner. I grabbed some fresh ravioli and pesto. It turned out to be a pretty good meal, too. Soeren and I both will be on the ferry tomorrow evening.



I think I’m going to really miss Neil. He’s incredibly nice and great to chat with. We had some fun times these past two days. I hope to keep in touch and to see him the next time I’m able to come to Scotland, whenever that is. What a great day today was. I’m so blessed to have made these new friends.

Back to Scotland 4: Day 3 | Forward to Scotland 4: Day 19

Scotland 4: Day 17

4.13.11 | Lerwick Hostel | 08:23

I forgot to mention that I had Indian food again for dinner last night. It was good, except I told my server that I wanted something spicy- but it was way too spicy. It was insane! I couldn’t even taste the food because of all the burn. I had them make the dish a second
time with less burning.


I needed to run into town and find something to take care of my cough. I worry that it has been keeping my hostel mates up at night. They say it hasn’t, but I wonder if they’re just trying to be polite. At this moment, I’m on a wonderful drug called Sudafed.


Today has been a blast, so far. We got a new guy in our room. His name is Andy and he’s from Tasmania. He has been traveling all around Europe for the last 3 years- and has been so many places. At the moment, he is living in Edinburgh working at some college. He asked me this morning if I wanted to go with him to Sumburgh on the bottom end
of the island. I thought a day trip would be a blast. Our goal was simple: Find a puffin and take its picture.

The bus ride cost us under 3 pounds to get down there, so it was a great deal. The bus dropped us off near the Sumburgh airport and we hiked out to the cliffs. Sadly, we found no puffins, but there were some breathtaking views of the area where the North Sea meets the Atlantic ocean. We climbed down the steep incline to see the rocks below as well.

At the top of the southernmost hill, there was a lighthouse. We walked up top to take a look around and there was a local man called Newton who was working there. He was a member of some British Society for Birds… or something like that. He knew so much information about the puffins as well as all the other birds. He was incredibly nice and
told us that on Sunday, he and his son counted about 270 puffins. That would have been a sight to see, but sadly, we mostly just saw seagulls. There were a few wild rabbits, however.







When we got back to Lerwick, we grabbed some fish and chips for an early dinner. We ate dinner sitting on the side of a ship dock, dangling our legs over the edge. It was fabulous. Now Andy has gone with Neil (my new friend from Stirling) to go rock climbing. They’ve been instructed to take some picture before falling off the side of the rock.


Back to Scotland 4: Day 3 | Forward to Scotland 4: Day 18