Epic European Cycle : 2015-06-30 : Sight-Seeing in Scotland with Dawn

Type Name Description Service Provider Cost Notes Actions
General Info Dawn Staying Here 139 Cowgate Stay Central $0.00
Type Name Description Service Provider Cost Kms To Date Total Notes Actions
Other Camera Obscura $66.00
Sight See St. Andrew's Castle $20.00
Sight See St. Andrew's Cathedral $16.00
Sight See St. Rule's Tower $0.00 Included with St. Andrew's Cathedral
Tour Real Mary King's Close $60.00
Type Name Service Provider Confirmation Location Cost Notes Actions
Bed and Breakfast Carolina Villalba Roldan AirBnB Edinburgh $249.00 This person COMPLETELY SCREWED US OVER. She decided, when she hadn't heard from us by 3PM today (I e-mailed her at 7AM) that I'd "changed my mind" about staying with her and left town. I was billed two nights of the three regardless.

3 nights. $83/night
75/3 Cowgate
+44 7960 604084
Pension Stayed with Dawn $0.00

Trip Log

Notes Actions
I'm so angry right now. Second absolutely WRETCHED experience with AirBnB. I will never book through them again. We've got one remaining reservation through them, but after that. Never. Again.

The experience with Alencon was terrible. What happened this time was, I booked us in for three nights to stay at a place in Edinburgh, close to where Dawn is booked to stay.

On the 25th, I e-mailed the person and asked her what time we should plan to arrive. I received no response. So, this morning, before we left our place in Perth, I messaged her again asking what time to arrive. Then, we left and I didn't have WiFi all day. I got on e-mail at 4PM, well before what I would consider "losing your reservation/money" time. By that time, she had messaged me three times, and when she hadn't heard from me by 3PM, she left town, "assuming that I'd changed my mind".

I have now been billed for two of the three nights we were supposed to stay with this person, and we've been left with no place to stay. Well, ok, that's not exactly true. Dawn had booked herself a "room" at "Stay Central", just down the street. When she checked in, she discovered that her "room" was actually a mountain chalet-style "dorm" with bunkbeds - enough to sleep nine people (three lower bunks hold two people each, three upper bunks hold one each). So, we're "squatting" in Dawn's room. Thank goodness Dawn booked the mountain chalet-style "dorm"!!
Today was a very eventful sight-seeing day. We started off by driving to St. Andrew's. First, we saw St. Andrew's Castle, which had two things that I found absolutely fascinating:
- The mine and countermine of the Seige when the attackers tunnelled under the castle to try and blow it up, and the castle folk dug a countermine and intercepted them, just by listening for where they were digging. Amazing.
- The "bottle dungeon" where the lower class prisoners were kept... basically in a bottle-shaped hole in the ground with a hole and tunnel above it to get in and out.

Then, we moved on to St. Andrew's Cathedral. At the museum for the Cathedral, we turned in our tickies for some tokens to go up St. Rule's Tower, and went up the scary narrow 156 steps to the top of the 100 foot tower.

When we were done at St. Andrew's, we drove to Edinburgh. We decided to find Dawn's hotel first, and it was then that I discovered that I'd been royally screwed over by my Air BnB "host". But that's documented in a separate entry. Once I got over my heart attack with that and we had a backup plan in place, we quickly set out to the Royal Mile. We booked tickets for the 8:30PM tour of the Real Mary King's Close, and then hustled on over to Camera Obscura. We could have spent a whole lot more time playing in Camera Obscura, especially the mirror maze and the swirling hallway of vertigo (I can't remember the proper name for it). There was also a crazy "repeater" video camera that I couldn't get enough of. It would randomly video whatever was in front of it, then play back just a couple of seconds of it in a twitchy "Max Headroom" style GIF thing. Anyway, Camera Obscura closed at 7:00, so we hustled out for some dinner, and then over to the Real Mary King's Close.

I had gone to the Real Mary King's Close 7.5 years ago, the first time I came to Scotland, and I thought it was really cool then. It is even cooler now. They've learned a lot since then, updated their information and greatly improved the tour. What a fascinating place.
From Brent: St. Andrew's Castle was cool for a couple of reasons. The castle is in ruins but part that still remains is a "Bottle Dungeon." I'd never heard of such a thing but it's easy to see were it gets the name. It's shaped like a milk bottle, dug 23 feet down into the rock under the castle. The only entrance/exit is through the neck of the bottle and up through the mouth. That lands you in a small room from which you have to get through 2 doors and up 2 sets of narrow stairs to reach the inner courtyard of the castle. It's the definition of "No way out."

The other cool thing is the result of some siege engineering. When the castle was under siege the attackers decided to tunnel under the walls and set an explosive charge to blow them away. The defenders knew what was coming so dug a counter-mine to intercept the attacking tunnel. All they had was the ability to listen for mining sounds and their best guess. The defenders were successful, intercepted the attackers and battled them off underground. The tunnels are still there and I climbed down through them. Uber-cool.
From Brent: In Edinburgh we also had a few hassles, but nothing fatal.

Rhonda's friend, Dawn, had joined us for part of the trip and booked herself a room in a hostel. Rhonda had responded by booking us a place to stay nearby through Air B&B. When we got to Edinburgh, and Dawn was checking in to the hostel, Rhonda contacted the Air B&B host that we were to be staying with only to find that she had thought it too much trouble to wait past 3:00PM for her guests to show up. When Rhonda called her at 6:00PM she was in Glasgow, on the other side of the country. She offered to provide us with a phone number for a hostel. Rhonda had already paid Air B&B for 3 nights in advance and was some-pissed!

But things have a way of turning out (mostly). Dawn had booked a private room at a hostel that doesn't really have private rooms. Mistaking Pounds for Euros she had just paid the up-charge for all of the beds in a room so she wouldn't have to sleep with strangers. She came back to the office after seeing her room and was a bit confused. The room was huge. Two toilets, 2 showers, 3 sinks, a dart board, a ping-pong table, couches, tables and chairs, board games, 7 TV's, (That's no typo. Seven TV's) video game console, fridge full of booze and beds to sleep 9 people. She had the room booked for 2 nights so Rhonda and I stayed with her.

Also, after almost a week of wrangling, Rhonda got a refund - but no apology- from Air B&B. So things have a way of working out (mostly).