Monday, May 16, 2011

[L.E.P.A.K series: Edinburgh] Chap 6: Mesmerising Vistas

After dinner and some rest, we headed out again at around 9.30pm to catch the night bus up to Edinburgh. Crazy schedule huh?

Here's something even more crazy.

Our return trip bus tickets cost a mere £6.50. That's about RM32. Dirt cheap no? Even a return trip to Kuala Lumpur cost more than that. So I guess its time for...

Hiyashibeeps' L.E.P.A.K Travel Tips No.6:
Check out for cheap bus tickets to anywhere in the UK. Be warned though, google for a review and you'll most likely stumble upon a bad one. Old bus, stinky smell, lateness, etc. My take on this? They're probably true. Our experience with Megabus wasn't a pleasant one but more of that later. But on another note, the buses were still full with passengers. So people still ride it nonetheless. Why? Price is definitely the factor here.

You see, Megabus price ticketing system works similar to that of AirAsia. The first released tickets are the cheapest of the bunch, and can be as low as £1. So you have to be on the look-out for ticket release which is about 2 - 3 months prior to your travelling date. The ticket price goes up a notch after the first set of tickets are sold and continues to rise thereafter.

Now, back to the ride. The bus was in fact quite punctual. However the bus that came was not a coach bus but a regular bus, like the ones that are travelling within the city. *shocking* It turns out our actual coach bus couldn't make it to the station and so we had to sit this regular bus for the first half of the journey until god knows where to switch to our actual coach bus. So you can imagine the discomfort sitting for a few hours in a regular bus with regular seats. Urgh.

So you can also imagine the contentment and comfort we felt when we finally switched to our actual coach bus. And if you thought coach buses in the UK and Europe are big and comfy because, well, maybe because the people there are generally bigger in size compared to Asians, :P then boy are you wrong! I can assure you that this is not just because it was Megabus that we're talking about, we took another coach operator later in our trip, one that is priced much higher and the bus condition is pretty much the same, making me feel the Megabus ride was not that bad after all, especially when it's three times cheaper. *nods*

OMG! We haven't even got to Edinburgh and the post is already so loooong.

Here's the advantage of taking the night bus. You'll wake up to the beautiful sunrise as you slowly reach Scotland. Now a normal sunrise would be comparable to any other sunrises from anywhere in the world. What made this sunrise so much more special was this...

*click to view video*

Yes. You see the full moon on one side of the bus as the sun begun to rise on the other side. Amazing huh? Like whuuaah! It's a wonderful moment indeed. *hearts* Suddenly you feel you're in the most amazing bus ride ever. *grins* And as the sun begun to shine upon the entire countryside. We saw sheeeeeps. Hehe.. cute fluffy whites with little blacks grazing the fields.

What's more, we even arrived Edinburgh earlier than expected. We walked out of St Andrew Bus Station and was instantly greeted by a strong gust of cold wind. The sky was clear and blue but the wind was oh so cold.

Down the road, the Scott Monument stood tall and eery.
It's beautiful yet so haunting in its design.

We bought our Edinburgh Pass from the Tourist Information Centre at Princes Street for £26.50, which brings us to...

Hiyashibeeps' L.E.P.A.K Travel Tips No.7:
The Edinburgh Pass is available in the form of 1-day, 2-day and 3-day passes. However, it is not necessary a must-buy item for your travels. You have to consider what you are planning to do during your trip. In general, the cost of 3 activities is probably the equivalent of a 1-day pass. If you manage a fourth, that's when you start to save but your schedule will be very tight and tiring.

We did explore three of the items included in the pass which actually if paid individually would have cost us £26.50 exactly. So no great savings whatsoever but the pass did came in the form of a magnetic card plus a booklet, both were great memento for the trip.

You can actually purchase the pass online and have it sent to you or collect on the spot upon arrival. The advantage? They do have online promotions that enable you to save more. BUT. Yes, there's a but here. Last I've checked, the price for a 1-day pass is now £29. So I'm not sure if it's that value-for-money anymore. You be your own judge. :)

Wow! This post is filled with way too much information.


Let's get the pictures to do the talking now, shall we?

Me in front of the Scott Monument.
It's a great day for photography isn't it?

The view from the walking path right beside the Scott Monument.
You can see Edinburgh Castle far ahead.

Edinburgh Castle is perched on a hill and thus it's up, up...

...and up we walked. *phew*

The Writer's Museum. We gave this one a miss (yes yes, I know I'm a writer) but a museum is just not as appealing as the many other attractions in town. Besides, time is not on our side remember? :)

The Hub. Hahaha.
A pretty modern name for such an old looking building don't you think? Well, don't be fooled. The interior of this building is quite modern I must say. After all, The Hub is not only a restaurant, a cafe and a wedding venue but also the grand location for the annual Edinburgh International Festival.

And finally Edinburgh Castle!
Look at me holding onto my dear hat so tightly.
The wind I tell you. The wind! Brrr....

Finally got rid of all the cars and got myself
a proper shot of me and the castle. :D

Nana finally broke down after the long climb.
*so dramatic wei*

Scottish kids!
Cik Datang commented that the kids must have took Scott Emulsion *rolls eyes*, that's why they're so fit at climbing up the slopes. Unlike some people... *sheepish smile*

Mr Tour Guide manually adjusting the time for the next tour to begin. LOL.

Mr Tour Guide in a kilt :P or what we more fondly call a Scottish Skirt. Hehe.

The view from the first level of the castle.
Now imagine you're here during the war and ready to fire the cannon. FIRE!

These kids didn't even bother to imagine as they attempt to lift the 'cannon ball'. Hahaha. Silly but so cute.

The breathtaking view from the very top of the castle.
You can even look out to the sea at the far end. I didn't realised Edinburgh was so close to the coast. I simply love Edinburgh and would definitely want to come back again if I ever have the chance in the future.

And finally, another shot together!

I promise this is the last shot of the castle. :P

Our last stop was the Royal Scots Military Museum where we got to remould a penny into a small souvenir token...

...using this machine and for an affordable price of 50 pence. :D


What a long post. Next up! The Royal Mile.
Eeek! No video to end the post this time. Hehe.