Sunday, June 17, 2012

Since I’m bound for Scotland this morning, a Robert Burns quote seems to be in order:

“The best-laid plans of mice and men oft go astray.”

Indeed.

My train was to depart from Kings Cross this morning at 9:50 AM, but it’s running late. The departures board overhead flashes ominously and the crowd around me groans. I had been preoccupied taking pictures of Platform 9¾ from the Harry Potter books, but the sudden noise causes me to look up quickly. CANCELLED, it says.

Confusion follows, then people start sprinting towards alternative routes. The official explanation is “overrunning engineering works on the tracks,” whatever that means. I’m instructed to take a train to Peterborough and change lines there, which I do grudgingly because I know it will negate the money I spent on a first class seat reservation.

By the time I make it all the way to Edinburgh, it’s late afternoon and I’m in a foul mood. It’s freezing cold and pouring down rain—of course—but from a practical standpoint it means that I can’t hold an umbrella and carry my luggage at the same time. I pull up my hood, tighten my scarf, and mumble something about staying calm and carrying on under my breath, followed by an expletive.

I’m so weary that I feel like Joey the “War Horse” dragging my luggage up the ramp and out of Waverly Station to my hotel. After checking in to a bright, modern room at the Apex Waterloo Place, I venture out across North Bridge toward the Royal Mile in search of the nearest restaurant, which happens to be an Italian place called Prezzo. It’s warm and inviting inside with the fire from the brick ovens and their bruschetta with sliced cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, and pesto does wonders for my mood. By the time I finish off a plate of chicken ravioli, I feel refreshed and ready to explore the city in the morning, and determined to brace myself against the weather by buying a tartan wool shawl.

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