Saturday, October 4, 2014

Stranded in Glasgow

Bright and early, Alejo went to school and I stayed in to pack and check email until my time of departure. I would be traveling to Glasgow by bus and Alejo by plane. I had been arranging my arrival with a "friend" I met in Bogota a few months before. He had planned everything we should see, offering to take us and to host us in his home. We had weeks of planning, but oh surprise. That same day Scot (yes, Scot from Scotland) disappeared from FB. He had never given me his phone number and he had no profile to speak of anymore. Of course I realized this once in the coach station in Glasgow, I contacted Mike and Chris (my buddies I had met at the same time as Scot in Bogota) and they couldn't find him either. I had arrived 2 hours later than expected, making it a trip of 11 hours instead of 9.
Fortunately, Alejo's flight arrived late too so he didn't have to wait around expecting me and Scot to pick him up at the airport as it had been planned (by Scot). I called Alejo as soon as he told me he had landed and gave him the bad news.
He came to the station and there we pondered for a while what to do. We ended up searching for a hostel on Hostel World, and after looking at a couple of places as we left the station, we just went for the first thing we had seen on the website. It turned out to be a cozy bed and breakfast that charged £40 for that first night. Frustrated and tired, we started to plan our own expedition, since Scot had disappeared and it didn't look like he would be showing up. By then, we were in such a mood that we didn't even want him to anymore.

Early in the morning we had a nice filling breakfast and headed off to Edinburgh. Back to the station, that was only a few blocks a way, we took a coach (bus) and in about 45 minutes arrived in lovely downtown Edinburgh. Not being sure of what to do first, we went for the most prominent thing in sight, Edinburgh Castle. The tickets were a bit expensive (like £14 but I can't quite recall any more), but hell, we were there and had to do it and it was totally worth it. We did a couple guided tours and saw St Margaret's Chapel (12th Century, oldest building in Edinburgh), the Honors of Scotland, the Royal Palace and the early-16th-century Great Hall. We also saw a presentation of old musical instruments and listened to some very interesting melodies. Just to let you know, as it was my luck on this trip, and as you can see in the pictures, we had a bright and shiny day.
Downtown Edinburgh

To reward ouselves for all of our walking, we headed to a nice pub to have our dinner.We ordered Haggis (not as bad as everyone thinks, actually quite good) and lentil soup (which was superb) with each of our favorite beers, Stella for him and Guinness for me. We walked around  a bit more through this magical looking city and before we left, we took some pictures of Edinburgh Castle illuminated at night (picture bellow). Quite nice, right? A few bumps at the start, but which would lead to a great stay in beautiful Scotland.
For all the pictures, click here! 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Once again in London ready for a Gig

I hadn't seen Julia in a while, and taking advantage of the fact that I was invited to a Temple Velocity Gig whose members where friends of Alejo, I invited her to join us and catch up a bit.
We met in Camden Town and after discussing what to do until the time of the gig, we decided to get some chocolate cookies at Sainsbury (they are soooo good) and some Polish fruity liqueur, and then we proceeded up Primrose Hill to get an impressive view of London. After a nice chat in the grass we headed back to Camden and to The Enterprise where the gig would take place. We got there a little late but got to hear a handful of songs that I found myself singing along to. Apparently I already knew the lyrics by heart because of the amount of times I had heard them on Alejo's Spotify account. A groupie without even knowing it. Btw, check them out on all the social and music media from Facebook and Twitter to Soundcloud and of course Spotify, you'll thank me!

Julia and I said hi to Alejo and after the gig we all headed downstairs to have a beer. There I met Pattra, a gorgeous girl from Thailand who had also attended the gig and was Alejo's classmate. From the moment we both ordered "dark as our soul" Guinness we had instant connection, so Julia, Pattra and I engaged in a nice chit chat. After a while Julia had to leave. This would be the last time we would see each other on this trip. We said goodbye with heavy hearts and promised to meet up again somewhere in the world soon, wherever that might be. I was introduced to the band and Lucian, the lead singer of the band, immediately Nicknamed me "Spacepants" (and continues to call me that) because I had a galaxy painted pair of leggings on. The band had to go but we had some time to chat and of course they were all charming and really fun to talk to.

I had originally invited Bassey to the event but he had other obligations, and so we met up with him, we being Alejo, Pattra and myself, at another bar in Camden Town. We had a few more beers and socialized for a bit longer until Alejo had to head home. We chatted a bit longer and Bassey and I agreed to walk Pattra home since she lived close by, I don't remember how the hell we got there but I do remember us telling random people on the street how we were all planning to backpack from Mexico to Colombia soon.We finally got Pattra home, she invited us in for a few minutes to catch our breath, and then Bassey and I headed back to Camdem town, where we went to pick up a friend of his at King's Cross station (yes, that late). Following that, we went back to his place to get some decent sleep.

We all slept in with good reason. It was a lazy day and the only productive thing done (and not by me) was the delicious, huge and spicy lunch prepared by Bassey. After this great meal I packed up. This was my last day at Bassey's place.I would be heading to Alejo's flat to prepare for traveling to Scotland the next day. Once at Alejo's we got ready to head out for Korean food. If it hadn't been Korean food we were talking about I wouldn't have been able to fit any more in me after that awesome lunch at Bassey's. We had a nice dinner in a very "British pub looking" Korean restaurant but that had really good traditional food (great Kimchi).

To help burn off all of the food, we walked down the bank of the Thames river and about like an hour after I had asked Alejo if he had ever see the Tower Bridge open, to which he said,  "no", it did! It happened right as we were walking over it. At least I got the experience and a semi-decent picture, check it out on my Flickr HERE.

Special thanks to Temple Velocity for singing the songs I actually knew, without knowing I did. You guys are magicians.

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Again, The Pictures!