We left London around 5:00pm on a train headed for Edinburgh, Scotland. We arrived about 10:00pm, sans reservations, with no place to stay.
We locked up our backpacks in a couple lockers in the train station and headed out into the city in search of a place to stay. There was some kind of ceremony going on in Edinburgh Castle, high on the hill. It was all lit up there were fireworks. It was beautiful. I wished I had my camera with me, but I didn't, so I just cursed myself instead.
About ten minutes after we arrived, the festivities seemed to end. The lights around the castle went out. There were no more fireworks Everything was closed. Everything was closed.
We couldn't find a place to stay. We wandered around aimlessly for a few hours. We tried to enter some seemingly dark deserted area around the base of the mountain that the castle was perched on but there was a kind of guard at the gate that wouldn't let us through. This seemed to be on account of whatever special occasion had warranted the fireworks. (something with the word "Tattoo" in it, having to do with drums or something. I forget.)
We tried to find our way into one of the cemeteries that were all over the place, thinking they would make a nice, peaceful place to crash for the night, but they were all surrounded by high stone walls and locked up tight. No rest for the living.
We wandered around some more. We finally found Holyrood Park and a dark deserted place where people had been cardboard sliding on a hilllside. We crawled inside a couple of cardboard boxes and slept. It was freezing cold. It was awesome. When we awoke, and it was light, we realized the place we slept was hardly "deserted", as it had seemed at night. Still it had more than sufficed.
The next night though, we found a great youth hostel ("Central" I think it was, individual rooms, no less) to stay in and they charged us only $US 7.00 per night. Incredible.
If you ever have the chance to visit Edinburgh, take it.