When I was planning my trip to Europe, reading all I could, looking for pictures I could take and trying REALLY HARD to come up with an itinerary, I had help from my two sisters and some friends who had already been to Europe before. In my brain, I was looking for an itinerary that was logical, geographically speaking. I knew I wanted to go to London and Paris, but other than that I didn’t have a very clear idea of where I wanted to go.
A friend suggested Amsterdam. Because it’s A-MA-ZING, and beautiful, and A-MA-ZING. So I added Amsterdam to my trip. And then it was only logical I added Brussels too, right? It is right in the middle, between the Netherlands and France, so why the hell not?
So there I was, researching, trying to figure out what to do and where to go and all that, and talking to my sisters on Telegram (we are all spread around the world – Brazil – the younger – here referred to as YS, Canada – me and Norway – the middle sister – MS, so we chat all day on Telegram) when YS asks me if she could be honest, and the dialog goes something like that:
YS – Can I ask you an honest question?
Me – Sure!
YS – What the hell are you going to do in Brussels?
Me – I have NO idea. And so far I could not find anything there that appeals to me (no offense meant here. I’m gonna go to Brussels one day and I’m sure I’ll love it).
YS – So, in this case, may I suggest a change in your itinerary?
YS – So, you should totally not go to Brussels, spend less time in Amsterdam and go to Liverpool instead, and also to Edinburgh.
I mean, Liverpool I get it. I’m a HUGE fan of The Beatles, grew up listening to them (Thanks, mom and dad). But Edinburgh? What’s there to see?
And she goes on and on, talking about how she barely had even heard about Edinburgh before she went there, and that she went only because she had a gap in her itinerary (she was following a band throughout Europe for 2 months or so) and how amazed she was, and yada, yada, yada.
OK!OK! Let’s go to Edinburgh then. And I started looking for bus tickets and Hostels, and when I realized I had everything arranged to go to Edinburgh for a 3 days stay.
So after reading my eyes out about what to do there, and reviews on Hostels, etc I booked 3 nights at the Castle Rock Hostel (all via Hostel World), bought a bus ticket from MegaBus for £3.50 from London to Edinburgh and a day trip to the Highlands + Loch Ness and I was all set.
So, the day before I checked out of the Hostel I was staying in London, left my backpack in their locker room and spent the WHOLE day walking. Just because I believe this is the best way of actually knowing a place. So I walked. THE-WHOLE-FREAKING-DAY!
When the time came, my bus was scheduled for 11:00 pm, I went back to the Hostel, grabbed my stuff and headed to the Victoria Station. At this point my feet were hurting so badly I wanted to pop some Advil or cut them off.
I decided to buy an overnight ticket like MS had suggested, which is a good way of saving money AND time.
Here’s why: going from London to Edinburgh by bus takes about 7 hours. It’s WAY cheaper than taking the train (have I mentioned that I paid £3.50 for the ticket?) which will take 4 to 5 hours. It’s a lot of time to waste on a bus/train BUT if you take the overnight, you not only save the time by traveling while you sleep but you will also save one night in a hotel/hostel. So that’s what I did. It’s not comfortable, I’ll give you that. But if you have the body strength and the mindset to do so, I say: Go for it!!
So the bus is there, is a double-deck big bus, and as we started to get in I have the
not so BRILLIANT idea of taking the very first seat on the upper deck, thinking (silly me) that I would have more space to stretch my very short legs. Oh man, I cannot even begin to describe how wrong I was. The seats were as comfy as a bus seat can be, but there was almost no space in front of it and by the time I realized that the whole bus had been occupied.
And there I was, after walking all day long, sitting in a very tight space where I was going to spend the next 6 hours. Trying to sleep was impossible, not only because of the
lack of space, but because there was a teenager sitting behind me who spent the whole trip on the phone. Who needs to sleep when you are a teenager after all?
When I got off of the bus, after not sleeping at all, I was so angry, so frustrated I could easily punch something
(or someone). All I could think of was f*** Edinburgh, I want to sleep, I’m going straight to the hostel and I’ll lay down on the floor and sleep there if I have to.
But then I come out of the bus station, walk for 1 or 2 minutes and this is the scene I see:
And that first sight of Edinburgh melted my cold and tired heart. And the next thought that came to my mind (as if a thought could’ve come to any other part of my body) was: forget sleeping, I’m gonna leave my things at the Hostel and I’m gonna walk because this city looks really AMAZING!