Day 13: Around Waverly, rail delays, an ancient room and Greek food
Tuesday 28 Jun 2011 - Tuesday 28 Jun 2011
Today was another travel day. I relaxed in Edinburgh for the morning, going first from Haymarket where I was staying (and here the really isn't much to see or do) to the Waverly Station area where I would catch my train to London. Since my train didn't leave until 1:30, I had some time to kill.
I simply roamed about the area, which is rife with old buildings, statues and memorials to men whose names meant nothing to me, but whose visages glowered down with stark indignation lest they ever be forgotten. In this area, you can find St Andrews square, the Walter Scott monument (I know him!), the Dugald Stewart monument, the Nelson Monument (I've heard of him, too!), and other, lesser known monuments to politicians, kings, soldiers and scholars.
I stopped and had lunch at a Chinese buffet. I thought it would be pretty good, since the bulk of it's customers were Asian, but they apparently were not here for the buffet. My guess is that the menu items were for the locals and the buffet was for the tourists, since the buffet was overall pretty bland and uninteresting. Or perhaps my view of Chinese food has been seriously skewed by my exposure to US Chinese restaurants. I may never know.
I caught the train on time and settled in for my four-plus hour trip. About three hours into thus trip, the guard announced that there had been some problems down the line (related to a lightning strike) that was causing a delay getting into London. Not to worry, stiff upper lip and all that. Instead of speeding down the tracks without stopping, we started stopping at every station-not to let anyone on or off-just to kill time while they cleared up the problem. Between this and the relatively slow speed we traveled betwixt stops, we finally made it into Kings Cross around 7:00, almost two hours late.
From there I navigated may way through an angry sea of irate commuters, tossing this way and that in an effort to reach their destinations. It amazes me how the human animal will simply pull up short and stand still staring blankly, oblivious to the people around and how he's blocking the flow of traffic. Is it so difficult to step to one side before checking your map or pulling a sweet from your purse?
After I made it from the rail station to the underground, it was only a short jaunt on the Victoria line to Euston station and a short walk to my hotel, the St Athans. It is another older hotel and although it does not consider itself a hostel, it has it's similarities. I have a single bed room with shared bath. The room reminds me of something you might have rented on a monthly basis in the Victorian era. Or if you were very poor, you would cram your whole family in it. It is simply a box, about 5x10 feet, with a bed, desk, chair, wardrobe and sink in it. I sit now, at the little desk, imagining a candle burning down as I scratch my pen across sheets of cheap foolscap, taking down the events of the day. Except the candle is electric and the foolscap is electronic.
After checking in, I found myself feeling peckish so I wandered out for dinner, which turned out to be a little Greek restaurant down the street from my hotel. Good enough, but nothing worth writing about. With my belly full, I decided to return to the hotel to plan tomorrow's ventures.