I was already seeing the effects on the street, the sidewalks were getting quite crowded, and I saw a number of folks who were wearing the kind of goofy outfits you see at football games. I decided that rather than trying to fight my way through rowdy football fans, I would simply leave town a day early.
Unfortunately, I had to accomplish a number of errands (car rental, laundry, email, etc.) which held me up quite a while. I also bought an extra sweater to keep warm, and a pair of Dr. Martans boots with high ankle support in an attempt to alleviate my sore ankles. (The Timberland hiking boots that I got a few weeks before the trip are comfortable on the soles, but my ankles have been very sore, and especially after the hike up to Arthur's Seat they were very painful for the next few days. A pity, since it seems that one of the best ways to see things around here is via hiking.)
As a result of all this, I didn't get out of the city until 4:00 pm. I drove north, out of the city for about 30 miles and stopped at the town of Perth.
A shot of the river Tay, in Perth.
Unfortunately, I was once again faced with the problem of Scotland's pubs serving food at odd times. I happen to like "pub grub" quite a bit, or so I've found. Certainly I would rather eat that than the fancy French cuisine (there are French and Italian restaurants all over the place, as well as a surprising number of Chinese restaurants.)
Anyway, I walked into a number of pubs, to be told "we stopped serving food at 6:00". At the third pub, a place called "Greyfriars", I asked if they were serving food, and the barmaid was about to tell me no, when a man at the bar says "here..." and hands me a plate full of food! "That's awfully nice of you," I said, "are you sure you're not going to eat this?" and he replies "no, go on, the food's free anyway..." There were in fact several identical plates at the bar, all full of breaded scampi and chips. He then proceeded to introduce me to the other folks at the bar.
I am beginning to form a theory, which is that as you get further from London, the people get friendlier. Let's see if this theory continues to hold...
I told them about how I went around photographing things and putting them on the Internet, and they were all very excited about being on the Internet. (Even though one of them is a systems programmer). Anyway, here they are:
We then had a long political discussion...I now have an understanding of what the basic Scottish political parties are, although I'm still a little bit unclear as to what all the issues are.
I then found a small B&B which put me up for 18 pounds...