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April 27, Edinburgh

Hello again! It’s been a whirlwind of a trip so far and I’ve meant to blog many times, but when I get on the computer I find that looking for a place to stay is more pressing. I suppose that once I finalize the rest of my trip I’ll blog more frequently, but as of now I just have tonight (May 6) and the weekend (May 11 & 12) booked until May 19, so this trip is definitely an intuitive one. I’ll talk more about that later. 😉
This post is to tell you about my time in Edinburgh! As I told you in my last blog post, I arrived in the afternoon and after a wait that wasn’t too long I made it into the flat where I promptly showered, ate some cookies, and fell asleep for 14 hours. The next day no one seemed to be home when I got up (it was hard to tell sometimes because 2 of the flatmates had a large room with a couch as well so they mostly stayed in there unless they were in the kitchen) and it was my first day of not having anything to do in weeks, perhaps longer, so I was leisurely in my approach. I ate the other pack of cookies for breakfast and had some tea before venturing out in search of a grocery store. Little did I know that there was a grocery store right across the street if I’d gone to the right, but on the taxi ride to the place we’d come from the left and I had seen the beautiful green space so I went that way.

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I was breaking in my new boots for hiking Hadrian’s Wall– well, they weren’t exactly new. I bought them on clearance for $8 at Khol’s and had worn them on a short 2 mile walk and gotten awful blisters from where it was too tight on my heel. The night before my flight to the UK my boyfriend put some shoe stretchers in them at the tight spot and that seemed to have helped, otherwise I might have donated them to a secondhand shop by now.
Anyway, the shoes weren’t too bad and I walked about twenty minutes through the green space and then back to the main road of Bruntsfield, the Southern section of Edinburgh. It was much colder than anticipated, even though my sister (who lived in Manchester for 6 weeks during the summer) had warned me. I finally spotted a proper grocery store and I was excited to see all the strange brands and foods.

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I bought what I thought would last a few days and headed straight back to the flat where I started researching things to do in Edinburgh. I’d already done some research, but I didn’t know anyone and I was hoping that there might be a group of people also there for Beltane having a get together beforehand. There was no such luck, but I did discover a local board game meetup group so I joined the group and by then it was almost 6 pm and the group was starting so I mapped the walk on my phone and took screenshots so I could see it even without wifi and made my way.
I arrived at a small shop and the meetup group had said it was in the basement so I walked past the man buying something and started to head downstairs when the woman at the counter called me back. I hadn’t seen that there was a fee for the board game meetup, but it was only 2 pounds 50. I paid and followed the man who had been at the counter before me downstairs– it turns out he was also there for the board game night.
Everyone had already started by the time we got down there so I watched what people were playing and admired their massive game collection which was the width of three bookshelves, piled to the ceiling. I recognized a lot of them and then I went to the other part of the room and there were three more bookshelves back to back with the ones in the main area, also stacked to the ceiling with games. It was a wonderful place. I did interrupt a game when I walked around the bookshelves– the only other girls and a guy were playing a board game of something that’s traditionally a card game, but I can’t remember what. They all stopped what they were doing and stared at me until I told them I was just looking at the games. I suppose since they didn’t recognize me I was startling.
Anyway, once I walked around the bookshelves again the main table game had ended and they were dividing to play with those who had arrived late as I had. I joined a group of friendly looking guys and the most talkative one, who introduced himself as Goose, told me about the game we were going to play. “Not to perpetuate gaming stereotypes, but we’re playing a game about trading in the ancient world,” he told me. It was about pleasing the ancient Roman gods and I didn’t fully understand, even though he gave thorough instructions. I understood how to play, but not how to win, that is. It was fun and I got to joking with the four guys, only a few of whom I remember the names of. Callum, Goose, Ishmael, and I think Ian. Ian (if that was his name) was quiet.

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After that game we joined with some others and became a group of 9 to play Resistance. I was blue (a good guy) and we ended up winning, though we shouldn’t have because there was a spy on the final mission who threw a success just because he didn’t like the game. Anyway, that was the end of the meetup, but not the end of the night.
I think it was Ishmael who told me that some of them went to a pub nearby afterwards to play more and he invited me along, so I went with Ishmael, Goose, Collin, and either Aiden or Ian (not the same Ian). The pub wasn’t too far away and they all got the same beer except for Ishmael and I waited until the end to order. I told the bartender that I wasn’t much of a beer drinker but I didn’t want to get a mixed drink and she gave me two samples, one of each of the two beers my newfound friends had gotten. I ended up going with the majority and getting Giles beer, or whatever it was, and I joined the guys at a table where they taught me a game with coasters. It was a betting game, but with no money involved. We each had 3 coasters and we had to lay one down at our turn, then whoever wanted to could place a bet after everyone had laid down one. They would bet how many coasters they could pick up without getting the “skull” card, which was just a coaster with a different picture than the other main coasters. If you could pick them all up without getting a skull you won that round, and if you did get a skull then you had to either randomly loose a coaster or select it if you lost based on your own pile.

After that we played Incan Gold, which I liked much more. It was a risk game as well, but the risk was from exploring ancient ruins for treasure. There were five rounds and each card turned over was treasure, which was divided equally with the remainder left on the card, or an artifact (worth 10 gold) or something that would kill you if two of the same card were drawn. It was fun, especially the last round when I was ahead and I kept voting to stay in the ruin to explore more because I was pressuring them all to stay as well. We died by fire, but I won anyway. I recommend that game– it was quick, easy, and fun. I left when they did and we parted ways without exchanging information, but it was a great experience for my first day.


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