About a month ago, Matt’s sister let us know that there were still a few tickets available for the All Blacks v Scotland match in Edinburgh and asked if we wanted to go to it with her. Of course, it didn’t take long for us to go back to her with a resounding ‘yes’.
Matt had already promised me an All Blacks jersey for my birthday but even though we ordered it about 3 weeks ago, it didn’t arrive in time. No worries though, it was so cold that all our layers would cover it up anyway!
Since we’re newly converted to the best way to travel ever, the train was our transport of choice. I was very surprised to find out that it would take longer to get to Edinburgh than it did for us to get to Reims while costing pretty much the same. A little backwards in my opinion, but oh well. I would pick the train over flying any day.
Besides, the ride up was worth it on its own. We got to see a lot of the country, went through quaint little English towns, and even got to see the ocean. The ocean! I didn’t realise how much I’ve missed living next to the ocean until I saw it again.
I’m on a bit of a reading binge at the moment (currently on book number 6 in as many weeks, suggestions for my next one welcome!) so it gave me a good chunk of time to do that. However, I’m not the type of person that can sit still for very long so by the time we reached our destination, I was very ready to get off the train.
Once we had checked into our cute little guesthouse (The Glenora – highly recommend for its decent price and generous free breakfast), we bundled up and walked into town.
Immediately we noticed tartan EVERYWHERE, the sound of bagpipes constantly surrounded us, and I absolutely fell in love with the city. There was just a good, friendly vibe, the buildings were gorgeous, and oh who am I kidding, I just really like the bagpipes and the Scottish accent.
It also made me feel really close to my Grandma who, as most of you know, is from Scotland and one of my favourite people in the whole world.
Anyway, since we didn’t have a whole lot of time we didn’t do anything touristy and just walked around the city. We went to Princes Garden park where Matt made friends with a squirrel and we looked up at the massive and equally impressive Edinburgh Castle.
Along our way to find a pub, we stumbled across a candy store and bought some Pull n Peel (which I’ve been craving for weeks) and the most sour candies I have ever eaten which is saying something because sour candy is my weakness.
I had one and the roof of my mouth is still raw. Matt had 5 and well, I don’t think he’ll be tasting anything for weeks.
We had heard about a pub in Edinburgh that Matt wanted to go to as a joke just because of its name. Turns out it’s actually a ‘famous’ and really nice pub despite having the name, Dirty Dick’s.
There was random things covering every inch (umm…no pun intended) of the place.
Dad – you would have loved it and no doubt could donate some of your knick knacks to the cause.
Also, my Dad keeps giving me a hard time about drinking a lot (which doesn’t actually happen, but this is a travel blog and travel usually involves drinking more than when at home), so I’ll skip talking about the rest of the evening!
The next morning, we nursed our slight hangovers with the delicious breakfast put on by our hotel and headed back into town to walk around some more and kill time before the game started.
As it was Remembrance Day, there were lots of people dressed in traditional clothes (kilts and the like) and wearing medals. We stumbled upon a section of the park where you could donate money and get a cross to write a name of a loved one on and place it in the ground. We opted to get a traditional poppy instead but took some time to look at the crosses.
Soon it was time to meet back up with Sarah for lunch and a pint before the game. We thought we had booked a table at a pub however, it turned out to be a little more flash than that and we ended up paying £30 each for an average 2 course meal. Oh well, those things happen!
Our luck didn’t get much better when we tried to get drinks from the tents set up outside and after seeing a guy get kicked out for puking his guts out (at 1:30pm in the afternoon) we decided to cut our losses and head to the stadium.
We quickly got drinks (water for me as my tummy was a bit off from the night before and perhaps, lunch) then listened to the band playing outside the stadium for a bit before it was time to go in.
Sarah scored us some awesome seats in the lower section close to the try line. Only interesting part was the very crazy Scottish lady who was quite excited to be at the game. Luckily, she moved to the aisle and as the game went on her excitement died down quite a bit (I suspect as the drugs wore off).
Anyway, there was a moment of silence before the game began and about half way through a guy started playing the bagpipes from the roof of the stadium. It was incredibly powerful and I still get shivers thinking about it. I think a combination of being in a place where bombs were actually dropped and remembering stories of how it affected my family members had quite an effect on me and made this Remembrance Day even more poignant.
The shivers continued during the Scottish National Anthem as the band finished playing but the crowd continued singing. That combined with the words of the anthem was wow…powerful.
Then came the Haka which saw Scotland challenge it by walking towards the ABs.
On with the game.
The All Blacks are always expected to win so, as a fan, all you can really hope for is an exciting game. Even though the final score was 51-22 for the ABs, Scotland put up a decent fight and seemed to be in possession of the ball for most of the game. Lots of tense moments with Scotland opening the scoring and then being held on the try line by the ABs for AGES before finally scoring a well deserved try.
After nearly missing it (damn long food lines!), we boarded our train back to London where I had an awkward looking nap. It was such a good weekend but not nearly enough time. Scotland, we’ll be back.