Wednesday, 3 July 2019

22 William Street (Edinburgh, Scotland)

On the 26 of June I moved to the 22 William Street property. Even though I made reservations for my stay in Edinburgh last October, I had to fit into existing bookings. (My host’s properties are very popular.) So, I needed to move out of 23 Great King Street on the 26th and will stay in the Williams Street flat until the 4th of July then move to the 6 Glencairn Crescent where I’ll stay until I leave Edinburgh.

I’ve not stayed in the William Street flat before. It was smaller than the other two and located in a more lively part of the West End of Edinburgh. I figured it was only for 8 nights and I’ll manage, which I did. Except for Friday when it was warm outside and people were out on the street talking until 1:30 a.m., but that was about it.

Walking to the gym is a bit longer but I don’t have to walk up a hill. I guess that it’s an even trade off. I’m not pushing myself too much during my workouts, but add a little here and there each day. I’m definitely feeling more fit and limber, which is my goal. But no change in weight so far. Looks like I’ll need to make some changes to my diet. First change will be to limit how often I make my hash browns and eggs in the morning. I’ll try to have a breakfast of orange juice, fruit and oat meal and see how that works out.

My only out-of-town visit was on the 1st of July when I took the train to Newcastle, about 90 minutes away from Edinburgh. I caught the 9:15 train and arrived in Newcastle at 10:45.

Newcastle (formal name is Newcastle upon Tyne). The city (along with its sister city, Gateshead) was a major shipbuilding and manufacturing hub during the Industrial Revolution. A number of important bridges span the River Tyne. Now known as a university city and a center of business, arts and sciences.

As I left the train station I saw that there was a barber shop across the street. I’ve been meaning to get my hair cut and the big arrows pointing to the shop was a clear sign that this was the place I needed to be. The barber was very familiar with the city and gave me his suggestions on what to see while I’m here.

The first stop recommended by the barber was the nearby Cathedral Church of St. Nicholas. While walking there I fell flat on the sidewalk. I hadn’t seen that there was a step down. The step was at a 45 degree angle and when I stepped on it, over I went. I landed mostly on my right knee, both hands, and chin. No major bleeding and I was able to get up and walk slowly with a little pain from my right knee.

I continued on my way to the Cathedral. On the way I was stopped by three different men asking if I was okay. I suppose I should have gone to a clinic to be checked out, but being a bit stubborn and on a mission of site-seeing, I didn’t give it much of a thought.

Though a bit painful to walk, I toured the Cathedral, then the Newcastle Castle and the adjoining Black Gate. Nearby was the historical High Level Bridge that was built in the mid 1800s and considered to be the most notable historical engineering work in the city. From there I could see a few other bridges that span the river.

By this time I needed to sit down and have lunch. The city’s quayside area that featured a number of restaurants was down by the river. I found a set of stairs that took me to there and I took one step at a time. Was good to sit down and rest.

There were a couple of other sites I wanted to see. My plan was to call of an Uber and pay a bit extra to help me get around. First on my list was to see Washington Hall, where George Washington’s great-grandfather lived until 1613. My driver, Sean Patrick, was from Ireland and we had a great time chatting while he drove to Washington Hall. He was okay with driving me around and we agreed on a price that I would pay in addition to the Uber fare.

Washington Hall has been extensively refurbished and some of the original features of the large manor home were restored. The home, or some part of it, was there since the 1400s. I just walked around the ground floor since it was the more historical part of the home. The guide was very informative and talked about the history of the Washington family in England. George Washington never visited England.

From there we drove to see the Angel of the North. A very large contemporary sculpture (statue) that was completed in 1998. It is considered to be the most recognizable pieces of public art ever produced. You don’t fathom how big it is until you see it with your own eyes. You can’t help but stare at it.

I asked Sean to take me to the station in hopes that I could catch an early train back to Edinburgh. I gave him a bit extra since he was so helpful and great company. One of his stories was about helping to reroof a tavern in his hometown in Ireland. He drives every so often to Ireland and helps out. He told me that once they removed the roof they saw that the main beam holding up the roof was actually a double mast from a ship. You wonder if the Mayflower’s mast is holding up some roof in England.

When I arrived at the station, I asked at the ticket office about getting an earlier train. I learned that it would cost nearly 50 pounds. The ticket that I wanted to exchange only cost 11 pounds. I decided to wait the hour and a half until my train arrived.

As I was waiting around I saw a small group of people who looked a bit worse for wear. Almost like they had been camping or perhaps unemployed misfits. Since they looked a bit sketchy I moved away just a bit. Though surprised when one of them asked me to take their picture. I learned that they had spent the last five days at the Glastonbury Festival, the largest greenfield festival in the world with around 200,000 people attending. Okay, now I was impressed. After we talked for a bit they asked if I wanted to join them for a beer. But I had a train to catch. I’m sure they had some great stories.

I couldn’t wait to get back to the flat and rest. The Uber driver that I called at Waverley dropped me off at a Boots pharmacy near to the flat so I could buy some ibuprofen and then I went to the Tesco next door and bought a bag of frozen green peas. Both helped and my leg felt much better by the time I went to bed and even better the next day.

Yesterday I made an appointment with an ophthalmologist to see why the vision out of my left eye. I forgot to include above that I had a bad migraine a few days before. I called OHSU, who performed my cataract surgery, for advice. They recommended that I contact an ophthalmologist. I had thought that after the surgery my vision would stay constant. I was concerned that my migraine might have caused a change in vision.

Glad I made the appointment. I learned that it is somewhat common for the lens gets a film on it and a laser is used to blast off the film to restore vision. What a relief! Though the bill for the appointment and procedure was over 750 pounds. I guess the lens had progressively gotten worse but I hadn’t noticed. The ophthalmologist said that he could tell that my right eye will need to be done sometime in the future. Oh well, it is a small price to pay for good eyesight.

Tomorrow I move to the Glencairn flat. Looking forward to being in a nice large flat until the end of July. Perhaps that will inspire me to confirm travel plans for the next couple of months.

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