Thanks to a nice tailwind, we landed in Dublin half an hour early. It was 4:30 AM and the sun was rising. I walked through the terminal, checked through immigration as flights from Ireland to Britain are no different than from one state to the next. The terminal was nice and looked new—or at least they’d updated the lighting for everything was bright. Too bright. They’d be no sleeping while waiting After two hours, I boarded a prop plane for Glasgow and sat next to a delightfully talkative principal from Texas who was meeting her son and daughter-in-law in Scotland. It was 8 AM when we arrived in Glasgow and in no time I had taken the bus to the train station in the city centre and was on a train for Edinburgh. I was met at the station by Ewan. We threw my bags in his car, dropped them off at his house.
|View from Arthur's Seat|
By 10:30 AM, we were off climbing Arthur’s Seat, a volcanic outcropping in Edinburgh. It was cool and the wind was blowing and soon we were huffing and puffing as we climbed toward the rocky crest. It was also humid, but the wind and cool temperature made it very comfortable. Ewan pointed out the sights of the city. Although I’d been in Edinburgh, this was the first time to climb this hill. After climbing down, it was time for a late lunch, which we took at a seaside restaurant in Portobello, eating outside while looking out into the Firth of Leith.
At lunch, I asked about the local beers and ordered one. Surprisingly, Ewan ordered cranberry juice. Then I learned that Ewan wasn’t drinking this year. He’d decided to go dry every fourth year as a way to bring awareness to Scotland’s alcohol abuse problems. I was a little dumbfounded, for in my luggage I’d brought him a bottle of Savannah bourbon. He graciously accepted the gift and promised that on his birthday (the day he stops his fast) he’ll enjoy a drink and think of me.
|With Ewan, On Arthur's Seat|
After a rather late lunch, we walked along the Portobello Beach, a community that Ewan represented when he was on the Edinburgh Council. Later, we went up on Calton Hill, where he had more good views of Edinburgh and we continue to talk and catch up with each other. He then too me to a park in Leith, a part of Edinburgh along the water, which in its day had warehouses holding casts of whisky. There, Ewan showed me Leith Links, where golf was played on a seven hole course years before St. Andrews (or at least that’s what those in Edinburgh claim). After photos, we drove back to Ewan’s home. He had a formal engagement that evening (he was wearing his formal kilt). I had dinner with Hilary, his wife, and as I had only a few hours of sleep the night before, was asleep soon after laying down.
Tomorrow is Friday. I'll spend the day exploring Edinburgh on my own, catching sights I missed when I was here in 2011. On Saturday, I'll be on my way to Iona.