We slept in fairly late (maybe 11:00), and then set about finding another place in Edinburgh to sleep for the night. We decided we needed a rest day, and we were going to spend it hanging out in the city, walking around, and maybe getting tickets to one of the many ghost-themed tours. We didnt want to impose upon Jennifer for another night, and besides, her sister was coming into town and would be taking the couch, so we thought we would splurge on a hotel.
As we were trying to find a place to stay, someone from Tyler's message board said we could stay at his place in Edinburgh! Perfect! Jennifer let us leave our panniers in her apartment, and our bikes downstairs, and we packed what we needed for the day in our backpacks. By the time we actually left it was about 2:30 in the afternoon.
We walked through the city to the bike shop and picked up some chain lube and bike-path maps for the next few legs of our journey. Off we went again, walking through the park and up the hill to Ryan's place on Merchiston Avenue where we were warmly welcomed by Ryan and Mercedes. They graciously let us stay in their living room and offered us their computer and showers and everything a traveler could want.
After some settling-in and researching which tours we wanted to do, we were quickly ushered out to the pub for a drink. We met up with Ryan's friend, Oliver, and learned all about the differences between ales and lagers. After a lot of great conversation and laughter, a beer (for us), and a few (for them), Tyler and I left to go on the 'Ghosts and Ghouls' tour of Edinburgh.
Along the Royal Mile and in the narrow winding closes, or passageways, of the city, we learned about all kinds of fun things like who was hung where and how many people were burned at the stake. Tyler and I both happily volunteered to demonstrate being tortured, and were disappointed at the rest of the crowd's lack of enthusiasm.
We were then led underground into what used to be storage rooms beneath a bridge. Everything was very dank and candlelit, and wonderfully spooky. We learned of The Watcher (the ghost who haunts one of the cavernous rooms), and a pair of Irishmen who, upon discovering how much money could be made donating dead bodies to the medical school, began helping people along to meet their grim ends. The tour ended at an underground pub where we all got a drink and could ask our guide more questions.
After a few final ghost stories, we made our way towards home at Ryan and Mercedes apartment.
Unfortunately, we couldn't remember the quick way to get to their place, so we took the long way and got a bit lost. I was starting to get really tired and a little cranky, stressed out about being lost, and dubious about how another night on someone's couch was going to turn out.
It seems like whenever things get a little crappy, some wonderful angel-in-disguise sort of person appears out of nowhere to help.
The following experience was very surreal, and felt reminiscent of a scene from "Field of Dreams": We asked an elderly lady for directions, and she ended up coming with us for the whole 20-minute stroll! Liz was her name, and she was just out for a nighttime walk, and said she could use some company. Her dear friend and her beloved cat had both recently passed away, and she couldn't bear to go back home just yet. She had just inherited a small fortune, but it didn't matter one bit because it couldn't bring back her friend and pet.
Liz had always wanted to go to law school, but everyone told her she couldn't do it. We encouraged her to go study, and to take as long as she wanted, now that she had the money to do it. She would likely feel satisfied. We talked about our trip and our families, and she shared stories of her life as well. It was a very, very good walk. Thank you so much, Liz. It was wonderful to meet you. Thank you for your help just when we needed it most. Go and get your law degree! You can do it!
We walked up to Ryan and Mercedes' apartment, were blown away by their kindness and hospitality, took showers, and snuggled up for another night in Scotland.