What can I say about Edinburgh? I miss it already. I was there for only 5 days, and I would move my life there today without any reservations. Maybe that’s a little naive, but I can picture a life there. I love it. It’s like living in a fairy tale.
I realize I probably sound like the little boy who cried wolf, because I’m pretty sure I’ve said that I loved every city I’ve been to and that I can’t wait to go back, but Edinburgh is different. I seriously want to go back and live there….for a couple of years, at least.
(And before I go any further, I want to apologize now for the amount of pictures in this post. I realize it is probably taking forever to load, but I couldn’t narrow it down any further!)
We arrived late Friday night at the Edinburgh airport and took a bus into the city, where we walked to our hostel. It was late, so we just wanted to get some quick dinner and go to bed in order to be refreshed for the morning. We bought some delicious fish and chips (unhealthy meal #1 of trip) and sat on a bench in the middle of the Grassmarket eating our fried food. One guy yelled, “FISH AND CHIPS” at us in capital letters. A bit strange, but factual.
The next morning, we woke up early to eat breakfast at an American-type diner that we had heard about through a cousin of one of my accomplices. It was only a short walk from our hostel, and it was indeed American. They had eggs, bacon, waffles…everything. I got some scrambled eggs and toast. Then some waffles since I haven’t had any in the 7 months I’ve been here (unhealthy meal #2… okay, won’t do that anymore. you can count for yourself and judge). It was perfect. The best part was they had water for free. Yes, I said free. How amazing is that? Why can’t Germany and the rest of Europe figure out the great invention of free water? The second best part was the bathrooms were also free. In fact, we didn’t have to pay for water or a bathroom the entire time we were in Scotland. Imagine that! Get on board, rest of the EU.
Continuing on…next was our free tour of Scotland with New Europe SANDEMAN’s Free Tour. I’ve done these tours a couple of times in my travels and they never dissapoint. They are free…all they ask is you tip the tour guide as much as you think the tour is worth. You can give as much as you want. Most people give between 5 – 10, but I’ve seen people also give 20. The Edinburgh tour didn’t dissapoint. Our tour guide (Brendan from Ireland) was awesome and we learned so much about Scottish history. If you are traveling anywhere in Europe, I’d suggest googling this tour group and taking one of their tours. They are always much more informative than any other tour I go on, last about 3 hours and you get to see a lot of the city and find out what you would like to re-visit.
The rest of our days was spent seeing as much as possible and eating a lot of great food. Here are a few highlights:
-Walking to the top of Arthur’s Seat, part of the ancient volcano that Edinburgh is built through/around. It was quite a hike, but definitely well worth it. Spectacular views.
-Eating at the Elephant House Cafe, which was made famous as it is the cafe where J.K. Rowling birthed Harry Potter and wrote the first few books. We actually ended up being sat at the exact table that she is rumored to have sat. It had drawers, which we of course opened, and found dozens of letters and notes to J.K. Rowling and other travelers. Very interesting. It also overlooks Greyfriar’s Kirk (Graveyard), which has 2 famous graves: one hosting the names Tom Riddle Sr and Tom Riddle Jr, the other William McGonnagal, both of which did in fact inspire characters in her books. The cafe overlooks a school as well, which inspired the four different houses of Hogwarts. You can definitely feel Harry Potter while walking around Edinburgh. That might sound incredibly nerdy, but I don’t care. The books are awesome, no shame, and you can definitely see how Edinburgh inspired them.
-Tiny bookstores filled with old, used books. We had a ball in there, finding really old books (which I had to end up shipping home… too heavy for RyanAir’s 10kg limit).
-We (some of it just I after they left on Monday morning, I stayed until Wednesday) also did a ghost tour, pub crawl (both with same tour company), went to the National Museum, National Library, Writer’s Museum, the top of Carlton Hill (great views at dusk)…
Edinburgh is truly a place that I suggest visiting when you have the chance. It really exceeded my expectations, which were already high. They have great museums, libraries, arts, and people. Although I think we met more Irish and Australians than Scottish people, but they were all very friendly. Plus, it was great to be in an english-speaking country for a few days.
So if there are any Scottish men out there reading this that want to marry me (between the ages of 23 and 33), just leave a comment; I’ll be in touch. I want to live in Edinburgh.