On the morning of my departure from London to Edinburgh, I took the very packed Underground to Sloane Square and followed my Google maps indications (this makes travelling so much easier!) to Victoria Station and hopped on the Megabus to Edinburgh.
The bus was okay. It was actually quite dirty, but the bathroom did not smell. This was a good thing as I was sitting right next to it. I slept for the first half of the ride, but enjoyed the scenery and the amazing rainbow when we entered Scotland.
I met up with Tanya, a friend of a friend, in Edinburgh. We walked around, took care of some business (banking and SIM card) and mostly just enjoyed the sunny day and each other’s company.
We stopped for a coffee and snack at Waterstone, a huge bookstore with a cafe providing excellent views of the castle and Princes street.
I left the next day for Perth, in order to attend my job interview. Because the job was to be a Seasonal Visitor Services Advisor for VisitScotland, I spent the next day learning a lot about things to see and do in Scotland. The interview went very well even though I clearly lacked the local knowledge, having just arrived in the UK a couple of days earlier.
I had a few days to spare before I would hear back about the job, so I decided to head out to Pitlochry, a charming little village located a short 40 minutes bus ride away from Perth.
I checked-in at the Pitlochry backpackers hostel and met the lovely and easy-going staff. Most of them were temporary staff working for two hours a day in exchange for a free bed.
I followed some of the staff’s suggestion and went for a walk in the Tay Forest. It was a great walk. It reminded me of Fish Creek, a place where I used to walk my dog back in Fort St. John, northern British-Columbia. I met a few people enjoying the trail, everybody sharing a quick hello, and a few people walking their dogs.
While I was walking and enjoying the peace and quiet of the loch next to a local fisherman, my phone rang. It was Katie, my interviewer from VisitScotland, offering me the job in the Perth Visitor Centre, which I gladly accepted, of course!
I happily walked back to Pitlochry, following Loch Faskally, and stopped at the dam and fish ladder. It was interesting to see and I took a few pictures for my dad, but unfortunately I did not get to see any salmon using the ladder. I stopped by the station to pick up my train ticket for the next day and went to the supermarket to buy some food. I even added a cider to my basket in order to celebrate my new job.
When I came back to the hostel I realized I just had one of the three tickets I needed for my train ride the next day. I had a little panic moment, and almost ran to the station to see if they could re-issue my ticket. Which they obviously could. Phew, I could breathe again! It felt good to relax after my slightly exaggerated reaction regarding the ticket. Having to buy another ticket would have made for an expensive ride, but it was definitely not the end of the world!
I spent the evening chatting with a Spanish-Dutch couple and a Welsh man who hitchhiked from Montreal to Vancouver and then Guatemala and back in 1973. It was quite the story! It must have been a very different experience to what one would expect nowadays. He obviously did not have Internet access, so no Skype session with his parents, no way to find out if it was easy to cross the borders beforehand etc. It was very inspiring and reminded me exactly why I love to travel so much, getting out of my comfort zone, experiencing some challenging situations and overcoming language and cultural barriers.