Arthur’s seat and Scottish beer
The first steps are always easy. It are the big steps. Up up up I go. Taking huge steps and getting closer to the goal. But then, somewhere in the middle the steps are getting smaller, it gets harder, my goal seems so far away. The end is not getting any closer at all. Breathing gets hard. My body tells me to give up, to quit, to find another goal, getting back to where I started. The mind says different.
Behind me a dog is running around. The grey man this dog belongs to walks a little bit behind. He seems fit, no loud breathing, no despair in his eyes and when he says ‘hello’ I don’t hear any exhaustion. I feel like a failure, not being able to keep up with the old man and his dog. Feeling exhausted and not even being half way up the mountain. Where my body might struggle with getting up this bloody mountain my mind will not give up. It’s not in my nature, not in my blood. Perseverance, that’s my word.
So I get up, take a deep breath, and hike the shit out of that mountain. There I am at the top, at the place called Arthur’s Seat overlooking this old magical mysterious city of Edinburgh. When I look around I see lots of people, children, parents, elderly, dogs, hikers, non-hikers, students. You name it and it’s here at the top of the mountain. How is that possible? I decide to ask an older woman which route she took up here. Though I almost can’t understand her due to her heavy Scottish accent, she informs me she took the least difficult route around the mountain, actually the route that everyone takes.
Well, I wouldn’t be called Route 22 if I would take the route everyone did. Apparently I took a route no-one hiked. Maybe that’s why I didn’t see any people accept for the local with his dog. While walking down bit by bit I feel proud at myself. I made it to the top even though my body would have happily given up half way through and my mind wasn’t in its right state. I didn’t give in and that’s a great start of a solo weekend in Edinburgh.
When I arrive at the bottom of the mountain I see a Asian man fighting the air with a sword. The scene interests me. The guy is half naked, wearing wide white trousers and a strange strip around his middle. He holds the sword in two hands and moves it around and around. He cuts through the air in such a beautiful way it feels like he is dancing. Suddenly he stops and looks at me pointing his sword in my direction. I look over my shoulders hoping he is looking at someone else. He is not. Even though it’s rather cold and it just started to rain I feel hot, the blood is pumping through my body and I feel my cheeks turning red. Time to move on.
Move on means beer! It’s only three o’clock but I’ve been through a lot already and decide it’s time for some local tastings. To me it seems that ‘The World’s End’ is the best place to start. What can possible go wrong after the end of the world? It’s already crowded so I’m seated at the bar where I drink my first ‘Innis and Gunn’, a Scottish Ale. But I wouldn’t be in Great Britain if I wouldn’t order a Fish and Chips with it, yum! Both are delicious! The day is young and I decide it’s time for a mini pub crawl on my own. In most of the pubs I hear live music, which for me is a reason to enter. The pubs in Edinburgh are great from The Royal Mile to The Kings Wark and from Bennet’s Bar to Waverly Bar. After a Robert the Bruce, Naughty Scot and Dark Island Reserve I find myself in a small pub halfway a galley, therefore the name ‘The Halfway House’.
If I were to reward a pub for being Edinburgh’s best it would’ve been to ‘the Halfway House’. In only seconds I made friends here and talked some Scottish and Italian pub nonsense. I felt like a regular right away. This time I’m drinking a Wylam and Arran. Never knew the Scottish Ales are so good! After too many pints it is time to head back to the hostel. Tomorrow will be another day of exhaustion, a long night of sleep is well deserved!