I have indeed managed to get all the way up to John O’ Groats, but my way there was somewhat different from the route I had planned. After Newcastle I got up to Edinburgh on the good old National Express bus, but orientation there was a little more difficult. After managing to find my way from the drop off point to the railway station, I eventually managed to find the now-closed tourist information but was somehow still able to locate a few hostels near-by, in one of which I ended up staying. I hadn’t been aware of it, but it now was the time all the students came to Edinburgh so most beds were actually “reserved” for them.
Anyhow in the hostel I had the chance to chat with two guys staring out at the University of Edinburgh this September, one of which was going to study English and the other, an older guy from Lithuania, who was first doing a prep-year and then going to do some post-grad in something so strange I cannot even remember. They were speaking really good about their first days &c. and it all sounded like a good place. Being out and about the next two days was not so much to my liking though – forget what I said about Land’s End – Edinburgh High St is like a Scottish uber-Land’s End with the most commercialised castle to one side and the Scottish parliament and Holyrood Place to the other. Still, the castle was good (apart from the way they extract money from visitors) and I spent an afternoon in the Parliament’s gallery, listening to the several discussions, one of which, co-incidentally, was about the unhealthy balance and more healthy ways to further increase tourism in Scotland. Quite interesting, if not always a painful realisation for a liberalists heart, to see important decisions being made with an almost empty house and the low interest many politicians seem to have in matters personally not relevant to them. On the last day in Edinburgh I climbed Arthurs Chair, just outside Holyrood Place and the Parliament, which offers splendid views over all Edinburgh and let me realise that there must be much calmer parts to the city than what I had seen (Thanks to Nic for the hint!).