Saturday, 3 September 2011

Day #169: The one with the Braunds (Edinburgh)

We aren't sure where or why Mike received his information about The Frankenstein bar in Edinburgh.  Perhaps he read about it in a travel book.  Maybe it was recommended by Samantha Brown on a Travel Channel special. Or quite possibly, this was his way of telling us that he has a secret affliction for cult horror movies made in the early 1900's.  Either way, he was convinced that this was the place to be on our first night in Edinburgh, Scotland!  Thankfully, he was right.

We were all a little scared walking in the door to Frankenstein's lair.  Shayne was worried that there would be people dressed up in horrifying Halloween-like costumes, Jake was afraid of falling victim to Shayne's thrashing if someone was standing in the foyer with a plastic axe in their head, Kristyn was nervous about the dark and daunting hallways lined with strobe lights, and Mike...well, Mike wasn't afraid at all.  In fact, he had a huge smile on his face like he was finally home.

When we rounded the bend into the main bar area, we were all shocked!  There, in the nave of an old cathedral, was a huge bar, neon lighting, a karaoke MC set up in the pulpit, and a crowd of extremely normal looking patrons.  It was destined to be a great night...and it was!  Kristyn and Shayne signed up to sing (something as rare as seeing a white lion cross the street under an eclipse on the 29th of February) and the boys got drinks.  Within a few minutes (and not nearly enough drinks later) the girls were called up to sing.  Half way through their rendition of "Brown Eyed Girl" they realized that they were singing a song that should have been sung by either men or the Indigo Girls.  Oh well - the opportunity was embraced!

The highlight of the night was about an hour later.  The scene involved two terrible singers (we are not being overly critical here - these guys were really, really bad!) and one drunk man who might have been homeless.  When the two sucky guys started to sing we all chuckled and shook our heads in disbelief.  However, the drunk and homeless guy sitting next to Mike was the most distraught.  He leaned forward in his seat, grabbed Mike by the shoulder and proceeded to shout, "Fuuuuuck Yooouuuuuuuu," towards the singers.  Mike handled the situation with grace and poise by saying, "Yeah, they are pretty bad aren't they." Mr. Drunk Homeless looked at Mike, looked back up to the singers and gave us another long and drawn out, "Fuuuuuuck Yoooouuuuu!"  After the song was over, he picked up his giant black trash bag and left the bar.
Sidenote: You need to picture this, "Fuuuuuuuck Yoooouuuu," in a gruff and raspy voice with a Scottish accent.  Classic.
We had the most incredible discovery on our way to the bar!  We found the coffee house where J.K. Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter book.  SO exciting.  LUMOS MAXIMA!  EXPELLIARMUS!

The entrance!
We are so tough!

This monsterish adventure really set the tone for the rest of the trip!  We had 1 day out and about in the city and hit up the Edinburgh Castle, National Gallery, multiple cathedrals, a tower climb of course!, 23 games of pigs, roughly 12 cheeky pints before 5pm, and many laughs.  

We found a fun house mirror on the Royal Mile! 
The most famous street in Edinburgh!
With a guard at the castle.  We really liked the little tassels on his skirt  :)
Waiting for the 1:00 gunfire from the Edinburgh Castle. 
The Sir Walter Scott Tower that we climbed.  We stood on the VERY top point!
Jake in the tiny stair way up to the top. 
View from the top!

As always, the nightlife with the Braund's was the highlight.  We embarked upon night #2 with high hopes, but disbelief that the Frankenstein could be one-upped.  However, a valiant effort was made, and we quite possibly accomplished the impossible!

Stop #1:  The Royal Oak
It was Shayne's turn to call the shot!  We walked into this hole in the wall establishment to find 6 musicians jamming together in a pick-up session that would have given James Taylor a run for his money. We are talking, classic Scottish jigs performed by young and old Scottish locals who had gathered to sit in the worn out plastic booths at a pub that held 30 people (and that was breaking the fire code!).  We sat in the smokey bar, poured sweat, and took in the sweet sounds of local patrons absolutely rocking it!  T-Shirt souvi's - FOR SURE!!!
The musicans - amazing!
Our matching T-Shirts  :)
Stop #2:  Jake's Disneyland
If you could have seen the look on Jake's face when he discovered that Brew Dog, his new favorite UK brewery, had a bar dedicated to their beer only, YOU would have been smiling from ear to ear.  Obviously, this was his choice in stop-offs on our night out.  We walked in the door and Jake tore through the crowd up to the bar as the rest of us found a table.  He quickly made friends with the bartender as they reminisced like old friends.  There is nothing like a common ground to start a convo!  From Stone to Lost Abbey the two beer-lovers all but exchanged phone numbers.  Jake proceeded to run back to the table and announce, "This is MY Disneyland!  And that guy...HE is MY Mickey Mouse!"  Quote of the trip - we thought so!  We spent the next hour playing Connect Four and journeying with Jake on a personal beer tasting tour of the Brew Dog repertoire.

Oh, what a night!
The taps!
Stop #3:  Dance Party Central
We thought the night was over, but we were wrong!  Mike had the monster, Shayne had her bag pipes, and Jake had his beer.  Kristyn had joined along like a champ, but it was her time to shine.  On our way back to the hotel we spotted a club that was still bumping.  They let us in and as we descended the stairs to this neon basement we discovered an almost vacant nightclub complete with house jams, a huge bar, and 8 WASTED teenagers who were just happy to have snuck in with their fake ID's.  There was jumping and dance-offs galore and Kristyn was like a kid in a candy store.  The highlight of this particular stop was when one of the drunk Bieber fans decided to swipe Kristyn's drink.  He literally picked it up, stood in front of us, and chugged.  We watched the whole thing and were perplexed when he claimed, "It wasn't me!"  After a brief confrontation, the boys quickly realized that the pre-teen level of intoxication and language barrier weren't going to result in a favorable outcome.

All-in-all the Edinburgh trip was masterful!  Even on the way to the airport the following day, laughs were had.  Mike and Shayne decided to have an impromptu, undeclared photo shooting competition on the top of their double decker bus.  Results?  67 photos snapped, not 1 successful picture of Edinburgh.
Photo contest!  
Lesson's Learned:  1) The Scottish are quite the karaoke critics, 2) Mike has decided what his Halloween costume will be for the 2011 season (Kristyn is still undecided if she will be participating as Igor), 3) Jake will take a great IPA over Space Mountain any day of the week!

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