A £1 coach ride had taken me all the way from London to Edinburgh.
When I hopped off, I almost wished it hadn’t. The newspapers this weekend read “Scotland colder than Russia”. As I shivered in the bitter cold, an old man handed me a hot takeaway coffee. It was only after a few sips that I realised the coffee was half-drunk.
Freezing in the arctic weather, I walked to my accommodation. For three reasons, this would be a weekend of firsts. This was my first time in Scotland, my first time trying Couchsurfing, and the first time I’d ever opened a door and been greeted by a naked man. It turned out that my Couchsurfing host was a nudist. I couldn’t help but think that of all the places to pursue this lifestyle, freezing Scotland was an odd choice.
There was only so much I could say to a bloke with his knob out, so I ventured into Edinburgh. It was a different city to the one I knew from reading Trainspotting. For one, I couldn’t remember any of the characters paying £16 just to enter the bloody castle. Perched atop a volcano, it was wonderful to look at, a fact I only appreciated once I was inside and could no longer see the damn thing.
Being new to Europe at this point, swords and armour were still very interesting, so I meandered through Edinburgh’s museums and galleries. I even climbed Arthur’s Seat to look out over the city and its incredible architecture. Before me was the Scott Monument, Holyrood Palace, and St Giles Cathedral. The surrounding countryside looked stunning, yellow gorse carpeting the hills and fields.
Having ticked off some history and nature, I moved on to Scotland’s premier showpiece, the cuisine. Deep fried mars bars, porridge, and fried haddock are all delicacies that make people salivate, but there was only one dish I really needed to try: haggis.
Would haggis join the pantheon of other questionable foods I’d eaten, such as scorpion, tarantula and horse meat? A sheep’s stomach stuffed with liver, heart and lungs sounded vile, but I enjoyed it enough to want seconds.
The streets were quiet on this cold Saturday afternoon, no poor bastard getting glassed by a Begbie-type. So I returned to the nudist colony, looking forward to visiting Glasgow tomorrow where I’d see the majestic university and Salvador Dali’s infamous painting of Christ on the Cross. But it was the destination after Glasgow that I was really excited about. My beloved Liverpool.