Some great new memories in a magical city.
I went to Edinburgh this weekend. A slightly less spontaneous trip than the Dublin weekend as it was organised by a University related group with over 900 attendees, but still a lot of fun.
I thought I knew what to expect from this city. I was expecting lots of pubs, lots of bagpipes, lots of kilts, and lots of old buildings similar to what I have seen elsewhere in the British Isles. There was a little bit of all of that, then there was a lot of HOLY COW THIS CITY IS LIKE NOTHING I HAVE EVER SEEN BEFORE.
The old town of Edinburgh essentially runs between the Royal Palace of Holyrood at one end and Edinburgh Castle at the other. This road, or the ‘royal mile’ has two valleys on either side of it (yes, these are a bitch to walk up if anyone was wondering). The city also used to have a wall isolating parts of these towns due to fears that the English would attack the city. Parts of this wall can still be seen today. All of this equates to what appears to be a medieval style town centre that has slowly been added to or amended, but never really destroyed. A modern western hub exists in this medieval piece of heaven, and I absolutely love it!
I really recommend the walking tours in this city. I went on four because I am a lazy history nerd- which essentially means that I love learning about the city but would rather someone do the research for me and just share the relevant bits. I learned all about the castle, the royal mile, the plague, the terrible hygiene, the life for the rich and the life for the poor in the ancient city. I also learnt that like many European and commonwealth countries, Scotland had to experience the assholes that were the English back in the day. They really mellowed by the time Australia asked for independence. For this I am both relieved and grateful on behalf of my ancestors. Two specific tours I recommend are the Real Mary King’s Close and the City of Edinburgh Underground Ghost tour. Both of these were really interesting and done really well.
Readers, I may have let you down. I didn’t spend much time exploring the night life. I’m sorry! I was just so tired! I swear I am turning into an old lady. I did go into some of the pubs during the daytime, which was great. The Frankenstein bar is the one place I went at night that I really enjoyed. It has three levels, some good music and some interesting drinks including their own unique beer and cocktails.
Food wise I had two meat pies which isn’t too out of the norm for an Aussie, but for other tourists you 100% need to give them a go, they’ll change your life. I also tried Haggis. Apparently haggis is all sorts of gross sheep organs kinda mixed together. Downside; the thought of it really puts you off. Upside: it is really realllllly good. I am officially a fan!
Hmmm, what else did I do? Oooo lots of tourist shopping which was great. I fell in love with Highland cows so I bought a little stuffed one to take home with me. Her name is molly and she is my new best friend. I visited the café that the first Harry Potter book was written in. It is called the Elephant Café and is just off the royal mile. I am really happy for the owners of this place. They have allowed the writing of the book to give them some publicity, but maintained a really cool vibe and don’t overcharge you for food or drinks. Great little café, check it out.
I have only two complaints and one piece of advice. The first complaint is that my hostel had no heater and no hot water. The second complaint is that Scotland in November is getting a littttttle chilly (which made the first complaint seem a lot worse that it would have been ordinarily). I will admit that both of these things really just made me feel like a well-oiled traveller so it isn’t such a big deal. The piece of advice is to never try to understand a drunk Scottish person in a loud bar. I am adding it to my list of things that is completely impossible, right underneath my inability to lick my own elbow. In every other setting the Scottish accent is unique and awesome, but in pubs I couldn’t barely understand a word of it. Lots of smiling and nodding occurred,
Well I think that is it. If you pay Edinburgh a visit, don’t take for granted the opportunity to just walk around the city and take it all in. It truly is a magical place. I hope you appreciate my refraining from going on a much larger history rant that what occurred above. You really should experience it for yourself.
Till next time.