Saturday, 23 June 2012

Midsummer's eve in Edinburgh

Edinburgh, Wednesday 20 June. Midsummer eve. It's ten pm and broad daylight! Below: the Royal Scottish Academy seen from the junction of George Street and Hanover Street; beyond it New College and beyond that, the spire of The Hub.

Below: statue of George IV, on the corner of George St and Hanover St.

Below: statue of William Pitt the Younger (who, at the age of 24, became Britain's youngest prime minister), on the corner of George St and Fredrick St.

I spent Midsummer Night in the best value for money accommodation to be found in Scotland's capital - Edinburgh University's Pollock Halls of Residence (outside of term time). I paid a mere £28 for a single room with breakfast. This is about £100 cheaper than any other central Edinburgh hotel - highly recommended. Below: Chancellor's Court, a baronial-style building now surrounded by 1970s architecture.

Left: the view that greeted me on Thursday morning - Arthur's Seat looming out of the mist above the university buildings.

Breakfast was a bit of a rush; starting at 7:30, there was already a long queue of hotel guests standing outside the refectory at 7:15. Once it opened, it proved admirable with handling a vast number of guests - hundreds of them - much faster than a hotel. Breakfast was fabulous - full Scottish - beating breakfasts south of the border hands down. Bacon, sausages, Stornoway black pudding, fruit, cereal - everything. And service with a smile - after breakfast, I was hovering around the clearing area with a mug of hot coffee; the cleaning lady could see my dilemma - I was in a hurry but my coffee was too hot to drink - so she offered to fetch me a paper cup to pour in into. Such customer service - based on human understanding and kindness - cannot be taught. I can say that I've experienced this a few times in the UK, but sadly, never in Poland; taking the initiative to anticipate customer needs will take a generational shift to introduce here.

This time last year:
And the Lord spaketh unto the Tribe of Hipsters

This time two years ago:
Poland's presidential elections - knife's edge

This time three years ago:
In search of a good Polish beer
[I must say the choice is much better these days!]

This time four years ago:
In the Solstice garden

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