Scotland

Hogmanay 2015

Peter and I spent Hogmanay 2015 (aka New Years Eve) in Edinburgh, Scotland. This was our third trip to Scotland and we’d seen and done all of the main tourist things like a Scotch Whisky tasting and a day trip to the Scottish Highlands. Quite frankly, this trip was about getting drunk.

Edinburgh is a quick 4.5-hour train journey from London. It’s convenient and who doesn’t want to hang out with Scots?

Edinburgh puts on quite the party of Hogmanay. 

Among other things, there were live bands, a fairly extensive German-themed Christmas market, a small Ferris wheel (ironically called the “Big Wheel”), and an ice skating rink that left a lot to be desired but, hey, they gave it their best go. 

We debated for a few months on whether or not we would buy tickets to the live band/street party and ultimately decided against it. The weather in December/January can be, um, unpredictable and we don’t like big crowds or loud music. 

Instead we decided to stroll around the Christmas market and go pub hopping in the Grassmarket and Cowgate neighborhoods. 

I do not know how many pubs and bars we visited but it was enough. I honestly don’t know what we talk about for those hours in pubs and bars. Anyway…

It was close to midnight when we arrived in front of Edinburgh Castle to watch the fireworks. Many people were smoking pot. This had been the theme of the day. The smell of pot is absolutely vile to me. I do not mind people smoking pot but I don’t want to smell it and the smell is a very unforgiving smell that permeates for hours. 

There were thousands of people at the castle watching the fireworks but it didn’t feel completely crowded. For the most part, no one was pushing against us and with the exception of the pot smell, it was a good experience. 

The downside was that people brought with them liquor and bottles of beer to drink and the city was absolutely trashed the following morning. 

I wondered where all of the revelers stayed. There are many hotels, hostels, and guest houses in Edinburgh but it seemed that there were more people in the city than available beds. 

On our walk back to our hotel, we noticed multiple coach busses parked along the main road. All of which had disappeared by the following morning. I concluded that spending Hogmanay in Edinburgh is a lot like seeing the sunset in Santorini. It’s a bucket list event for many people. 

I was just there to get drunk.

We woke up on New Years Day, shockingly, without hangovers. We walked to a restaurant that we have tried to eat at five times before. This was our sixth and final attempt and they were, you guessed it, closed. 

Defeated for the sixth time, we found another restaurant to dine at and were happy to be inside, escaping the hurricane-force winds.

After lunch, we went back to the Christmas market and shared a mug of hot apple toddy. We weren’t huge fans but it was cold, raining, and extremely windy and the hot drink warmed us up for a little bit. 

I asked Peter to take a picture of me with the hot apple toddy. 

Peter has a terrible habit of snapping the photo before I’m ready. He does this 100 percent of the time I ask him to take a photo. 

After reviewing the photo, I asked him to take another one of me while I was trying my best to look “less tired”. I’m an insomniac and go through life in a perpetual state of tiredness but I was not tired that day.

Next, we got mugs of mulled wine. This wasn’t my first or second or even third rodeo with mulled wine but I thought why not? (I don’t like mulled wine.)

Mulled wine and its more-gross sister, mulled Champagne, are two of my most disliked European drinks. Others include Aperol Spritz and Pimm’s Cup.

What makes mulled wine more disgusting is adding various shots of alcohol to it like Captain Morgan or vodka. I do not understand this and I do not recommend this.

I honestly cannot recall what we did for the remainder of the day but given the weather, it was likely spent indoors. The only thing worse than English weather is Scottish weather. 

We departed Edinburgh the following day. Edinburgh remains one of my favorite cities and I’d jump on an opportunity to return for a fourth time.

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