When Meenal visited us for the first time in February, the timing was a bit off because that's the time of the year when Edinburgh loses the charm of winter after all the Christmas festivities are taken down and somehow, actual winter sets in with colder, windier days than usual. Also, the days are annoyingly short around that time with the sun rising at around 8 a.m and setting by 4 p.m. Short days coupled with a city stripped of Christmas lights is kinda meh.
It was also a time when we were just getting a lot of work sorted and had very few systems in place to run things smoothly. So believe it or not, we spent almost every single day of that week indoors, working a lot and bitching about the weather. Which is why, this time around, I made a lot of outdoorsy plans from Day 1 and swore to myself that Meenal was going to get at least a partial Edinburgh experience. We still had a lot of work to do each day but I made sure to set time aside to do non-touristy fun stuff.
One of the main things I had planned was the famous hike up Arthur's Seat which is the main peak amongst a group of extinct volcanoes in Edinburgh. It takes me and Shane about three and a half hours in total to complete the hike the way normal people do it and we assumed that sportsy Meenal would surely enjoy this activity. But the only thing we didn't take into consideration was that sportsy Meenal grew up in sportsy Gibraltar where she used to climb the Rock of Gibraltar on an almost daily basis. In fact, that's where she usually went running. You know, just for LOLs.
For more clarity, consider this:
The elevation of Arthur's Seat is 251 meters.
And that of the Rock is 426.
Climbing Arthur's Seat the way normal people do was like peanuts to Meenal so she somehow convinced us to do it the unconventional way - by actually "climbing" it.
Within 5 minutes of our hike, we found ourselves breaking away from the traditional path and holding on to rocks, using our core strength and quads to lift us up. We ended up getting to the top way sooner than most other people because we literally climbed vertically as opposed to taking the path around the hill.
If you zoom into this photograph, you'll be able to see people at the very top. Within less than an hour after this was taken, we were up there too, except we didn't hike, we rock-climbed.
We were surprised to see that there was still a path up the unconventional way which meant that there were other crazies out there who had attempted this and clearly succeeded. It was obviously a less traveled path but Shane and I were relieved to find out that we may not fall to our deaths and die after all. The unfortunate bit, though, was that this less traveled path was lined with dangerously thorny shrubs, most that got to me even through my tights. Meenal was even more hurt during the climb because she was wearing shorts and had zero protection against the thorns. By the time we got to the top, her legs were kind of wrecked and I genuinely believed that she had had enough.
But what was I thinking? HAVE I MET HER?
On the way down, she somehow managed to convince us once again that we should climb down the "less traveled" path. This "less traveled" path though, was more of an "untravelled" path because none of us had any idea what we were doing. Meenal decided to lead the way and at certain points, she had to crawl because her shoes couldn't support her weight down the steep path. At many points, she slipped, held on to a thorny bush, cried out in pain, and expressed genuine fear of falling to her death. That wasn't very reassuring to an unathletic noob like me. That girl has scarred me for life and I will never forget this.
For clarity, this is what we climbed down:
Like, vertically down. All the way from the top, right to the bottom. And what you're seeing in this picture is just the tip of the iceberg.
It's only upon reaching the bottom that we soaked in the gravity of what we had just attempted. Our upper bodies still hurt from the strain of holding on to dear life throughout that descent.
After the whole thing, we reached stable ground and just collapsed on the grass to take a break from everything. I knew that Shane was feeling human again after he started complaining about how it was "too sunny", saying that he had purposely chosen to live in Scotland because he likes cold, rainy, miserable weather so why on earth was he being forced to go rock climbing on a gloriously sunny day! Life was getting too hard for Shane and normalcy returned to mine. We were alive and sane after all.
But man, I am never doing anything physically active with that little shit who skipped back home like we hadn't just almost died, and said that the hike was "okay".
Notice that man's head right under her crotch? That's Karma, bitch.