Roaming Around Edinburgh.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

After wrapping up my term papers last week, I treated myself to a mini getaway to Scotland before I get the ball rolling on my dissertation. I had visited Edinburgh previously, but it was about 10 years ago and I remember very little from the trip other than my best friend and I clutching each other atop Calton Hill with full blown glitter eyeshadow and braces, squealing things like "JK Rowling is somewhere down there!!!" (some things don't change, luckily my choices in makeup have).

Other than a booked day tour of the Highlands, I hadn't really planned much for my time in the city other than a few "must-sees," all in walking distance from the AirBnB I was staying at. After a speedy 45 minute flight across Great Britain, my feet hit the pavement and I pretty much just didn't stop walking for the following 4 days.

Rule #1 of Scotland - Don't bother spending a lot of time doing your hair. Exhibit A...

Rule #2 - Be ready for rain. And then sun. And then hail. And then wind. And then so much sun you'll sweat. All in 10 minute intervals.

Rule #3 - Walk. Walk everywhere you can. While everyone knows about the big name roads like the Royal Mile, a stretch of shops overflowing with tartan scarves, golf balls, and whiskey from Edinburgh Castle all the way down to Holyroodhouse Palace, Edinburgh is bursting with tiny side streets and alleyways, begging to be explored. While the city has a pretty efficient and handy bus system (don't mention the trams to the locals), I found it to be super walk-able, give or take how the weather is behaving.

Rule #4 - Take advantage of the city's parks. Princes Street Gardens, Holyrood Park, the Meadows...etc. They all offer different views of the city and completely unique vibes.

Enough of me babbling...onto the good stuff.

Edinburgh Castle, probably the most iconic landmark and impossible to miss as it dominates the city skyline. Historians say that there is evidence of human settlement on this 350 million year old volcanic plug, or "Castle Rock" as it's more commonly known as. Beat the crowds and get there early, as exploring this massive castle and learning its centuries of history will take hours. While J.K. Rowling was writing the early Harry Potter books, she would try to snag a window seat at the Elephant House Cafe with a direct view of the castle for inspiration.

Not to mention there are pretty great views from the hill!

I love that you can see the sea from the centre of the city thanks to all of the hills.

Heading east down the Royal Mile, through the throngs of tourists. I know I'm technically a tourist but I always work in the fact I live in England into conversations, to let people know I'm a tourist but not a tourist-tourist...right, fellow expats?

St. Giles Cathedral, showcasing just how temperamental the weather can be...entered the cathedral in blinding sunshine, exited about 30 minutes later to moody skies and rain.


If you told me this canal was in Bristol instead of Edinburgh, I would totally believe you if I hadn't seen it myself. The beginning of the canal was in the more modern area of town, lots of shiny buildings and people in suits - but nevertheless a nice place to sit with easy access to the Old Town.

I have no idea what this street art meant. But I liked it. And it was purple. I just hope it's not connected to some weird campaign while I'm over here thinking it's philosophical.

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