Just before we climbed up Arthur's Seat Steinunn needed the loo. Where better to go for a pee than the new Scottish Parliament, a building that looks quite pathetic placed opposite Holyrood Palace and below the sheer heights of Arthur's Seat.
We took an alternative, rather steep route up towards Arthur's Seat, yet didn't venture to the top. Instead we headed for a pond below, dotted with a few swans and some ducks. Earlier today, a guy on the radio recounted a tale of when he was attacked by a lone swan on a canal. Somehow the guy ended up in the water, after which the swan proceeded to climb on top of him to force his head under. At the time, the guy was struggling for his life, but can now look back and see the funny side. Anyone and everyone he told his story to would laugh, as, I guess, it sounds ridiculous and conjures up comedy pictures in the head. In contrast, his story about a confrontation with a red back spider in the Australian outback serves only respect.
When I was in Australia, every place you go has death running below the surface. Sharks and jellyfish in the ocean, spiders and snakes on the land, crocodiles in the rivers, and cassowaries (the world's most dangerous bird, according to the Guiness Book of Records) in the forest. I encountered feral pigs, actually they were more like wild boar, in the forest with razor sharp teeth, known to have gone for people's legs. Also there's the risk of hitting cows, camels or kangaroos at breakneck speed whilst driving through the outback, especially at night. And then there's the powerful surf along the east and west coast, which can suck you under, spin you around, knock you out on the seabed, before spitting you back up. Add to the mix the man-made dare devil sports like bungee and sky diving and you can see why Australia is so popular. What do we have in the UK that could possibly kill us? Swans, mad cow disease, MRSA, grass snakes, a kick in the head from an angry horse. Acually, grass snakes don't kill do they?
There is a certain lack of natural dangers or predators in this country, but the yobs, thugs and hooligans you can find somewhere in every town and city up and down the country help to recreate the fear factor of swimming in possibly shark infested water.
Back to today, we finished the walk after two hours and popped into a tea room at the bottom of the Royal Mile. The peppermint teapot for 2 was good, as well as the smoked mackerel salad I had for lunch. Steinunn was being a bit critical about the way the tea room was run, which includes remarks about the wrong napkin holders, the cheapo teacups, the daido rail, the signage, the roadworks outside… I'm sure there's more.
Walked to Princes Street in an attempt to buy a jacket for Steinunn at H & M but it was far too busy so we walked home, very slowly as my legs were dead. On the way back, I had to move my car to a different street as the Bupa fun run in on tomorrow, which will pass through our street below.