It generally takes me around 25 minutes on a good day and 45 minutes on a less than good day to get from home, not far from Holyrood, to the edge of Edinburgh. That’s sometimes half my journey time or more, which can include getting to Glasgow. No matter which route I select there are bits that just snarl up.
If I’m being honest I don’t really think Edinburgh has got a particularly bad traffic problem and of course you have to bear in mind the tram works, the number of buses (owned and operated by the Council of course) water works, gas works and the Johnnies (foreigners) in tour buses or just milling about in general.
At the moment it’s the Festival. Now everywhere is busy and some bits are just silly. The route from the Parliament building round the back into Holyrood Park then back onto Holyrood Road through the Cowgate and then the Grassmarket is problematical. Never mind that the junction at the bottom of the Pleasance is too narrow for two queuing lanes and one coming the other way, nevermind the delivery lorries and construction site traffic along the Cowgate and never mind the Johnnies crossing one at a time on the Zebras in the Grassmarket which have the odd bus parked over them just to spice things up a smidgeon.
Whizz round Lady Lawson Street and along Castle Terrace and at the end you have what is normally a reasonable little junction with traffic lights, which leads onto Lothian Road before an immediate right onto the western approach road. At the moment it takes about four changes of the lights for you to get to the junction and the traffic from Princes Street drive into the yellow box thing, so things tend to get heated. But since it’s Edinburgh everyone is shockingly polite as they remonstrate and apologies whilst trying to drive each off the road.
It’s great to see the tourists coming to Edinburgh and spending their hard earned cash on visiting, going to see stuff and eating/drinking. I overheard a wag should up at some Johnnies on an open topped tour bus.
(Just to clarify, in Edinburgh “Eh” Is added to the end of many sentences by some members of the local populace and sometimes joined with ‘bud” or “pal”. It’s like a sort of more polite but far more irritating version of the dialogue from Trainspotting. e.g. Aw right pal eh? Fine Bud how’s yersell eh? And so on and so forth eh! Now I’m at it! Good grief!)
“Nice to see yi” he shouted up to the passengers on the bus, “Nixt time whey no jist stey it hame and jist send us the monie! Eh!”
(Translation – Perchance you may well wish to ponder the stress of the travelling etc. and strongly consider sending the monies you may well have spent directly to the destination of your choice which would reduce your stress considerably but which may well result in less of an experience as you planned it to be previously).
He had a point I felt, although he may well have missed the whole essence of going on holiday. Mind you we all go on holiday at one time or another during out lives and when we get to where we want to go to, we are the Johnnies getting in the way and not spending enough money to keep the local population in the lifestyle they feel they deserve. But hey you can’t have everything.
In a couple of weeks things will calm down a bit. Later on during the winter it will calm down considerably more although the Johhnies will still be coming to visit, standing around frozen in the pouring rain wondering what to do next. When they chose to come to Edinburgh I’m sure the brochure had pics showing sunny days, the castle in the sun, Holyrood in the sun, The Grassmarket in the sun etc. etc. etc.
In a couple of weeks I’ll be able to zip about once again without long queues, tour busses and general Johnnies dithering about. I had to drive up to the Lawnmarket a couple of weeks ago to drop a guy off with some stuff, which meant I had to park for a moment or six. That’s the bit of road just before you go onto the castle esplanade.
It was awash with Johnnies. They were wandering about all over the road. They were all assuming, en masse, that it was a car free zone. It isn’t. I missed them all though, I mean you have to, it’s only good manners after all.
You know how difficult it can be to wash a significant seagulls jobbie off your car? Well washing squished Johnnies off is much, much worse and there are more forms to fill in too.
I’m going for a lie down now. That won’t surprise you a bit!
I haven’t mentioned the street artists or the wandering troops of loonies who put on shows at the Fringe. I’ll save that for later.