Edinburgh // United Kingdom
In 2010, my first intention was to visit my friends Steffi and Daniel (from www.wir-sind-dann-mal-weg.com) on their trip around the world in Bali/Indonesia. But as the prices for flights were terribly expensive, I decided to fulfill a long-standing wish of mine and booked a trip to Scotland’s capital city. smile
This has been the first vacation on my own, and I still reminisce about the wonderful experiences I had. Even though I had bought myself a travel guide weeks before, I never really looked into it – which is still one of my favourite bad habits! I always buy these books and end up in using only the map inside. Sometimes I can even get myself motivated to read a few pages in the plane, but most of the time I prefer to listen to some music instead. Maybe I should switch over to these lovely designed Crumpled City Maps in the future …
Well, that was basically the reason that I had no plans whatsoever of what I should do or see. The only thing I knew for sure, was that I really wanted to go to the sea. And actually this is something I’d highly recommend: Don’t make plans! It helps you to travel at your own pace – which is the best thing about traveling on your own! You are able to just sit on a bench and watch the sky, watch the people passing by and experience the little details around town. In Copenhagen I met a fifty-year-old guy from the UK, who said: „I didn’t even knew I could walk this slowly!“. It’s fantastic! smile
ST. CHRISTOPHER’S INN9-13 Market Street, EH1 1DE, Edinburgh
Now to the trip itself: I stayed in the St. Christopher’s Inn in London before, so I chose one of their hostels again. Never change a running system, eh?! So I booked a bed in the St Christopher’s Inn in a 6-bed mixed dorm. When I do think of „mixed“, I expect at least one more girl in the same room. I do know better now … rolleyes
I had a hard time with a group of twelve Irish party boys, who thought it might be fun to get into my bed late at night and spread all my suitcases contents around the room in the morning. Eventually I got them kicked out of the hostel, which wasn’t really my intention. But when I went to the reception and asked for another room to stay in, they told me that safety is their top priority and that this kind of behavior isn’t tolerated at all. After that I enjoyed two nights all alone in the same room and then had the most pleasant roommates one can think of. bigsmile Still, this kind of incident wasn’t really affecting me having a good time, even though it really annoyed me, of course.
The hostel is located in the center of Edinburgh, right next to the train station and I would definitely stay there again. Here are some bored selfies in the dorm for your amusement: bigsmile
EDINBURGH CASTLECastlehill, EH1 2NG, Edinburgh
Well, you can’t really come around this one in Edinburgh as it sits majestically on the Castle Rock and dominates the city’s skyline. No wonder it is one of most popular tourist attractions in Scotland. Edinburgh Castle is a historic fortress, but the entrance fee of 13 pounds were too expensive for me, and therefore I was ok with just seeing it from the outside. Instead I went to see the museum nearby. In the souvenir and cashmere shop you can also see how a tartan is being woven. This is also where I got myself my beloved tartan skirt – still worth every penny! heart
EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
Somehow I always tend to be lucky and get to a city when some kind of festival is going on. As in Edinburgh, it has been the International Film Festival, which is taking place annually in June. I spent two nights in different movie theaters and watched one German movie called „My Words, My Lies – My Love“ and one Taiwanese movie called „Au Revoir Taipei“. Both have been really entertaining. Oh and by the way, it isn’t really scary to walk around Edinburgh at night. It’s a very safe city. I can tell because I had a looong walk home from the cinema. wink
NATIONAL GALLERIES OF SCOTLANDThe Mound, EH2 2EL, Edinburgh
The Scottish National Gallery houses the Scottish national collection of fine art, including Scottish and international art from the beginning of the Renaissance up to the start of the 20th century. It is located in between the New Town and the Old Town of Edinburgh on The Mound, an artificial hill connecting these two districts, and right next to the Princes Street Gardens. The galleries are open daily and admission is free!
HOLYROOD PARKQueen’s Drive, EH8 8HG, Edinburgh
While I was on my way to the sea, I stumbled across lots of beautiful places around Edinburgh. The first one was Holyrood Park, with its compelling Arthur’s Seat as a main peak. From the city center itself you can’t really see it. If I would have read the travel guide, I would have known about its existence. Maybe then I wouldn’t have been this surprised and mesmerized …
Arthur’s Seat is about a mile to the east of Edinburgh Castle and the hill itself rises above the city to a height of around 250 meters. I was too focused on going to the sea, so I skipped climbing up the hill. Even though it would provide an excellent panoramic view of the city. One more reason for me to get back to Edinburgh, I suppose! smile
The park is also associated with the Royal Palace of Holyroodhouse, which is the official residence of the British monarch in Scotland.
ROYAL BOTANIC GARDEN EDINBURGH20A Inverleith Row, EH3 5LR, Edinburgh
Around midday I came by the Royal Botanic Garden, where I then spent hours, because it is so (!) large and so (!) beautiful. Best thing: it’s also accessible for free!
LOCH LOMOND, THE TROSSACHS & STIRLING CASTLE
On day five my feet already hurt from all the walking, so I booked a one day bus tour to the Scottish Highlands. It took me sightseeing to Loch Lomond, the Trossachs National Park and Stirling Castle. Additionally I learned a lot about the land’s history and I very much enjoyed listening to the lady’s Scottish accent. She also taught us how to spell some stuff correctly. wink Only the left-hand traffic did freak me out occasionally! rolleyes
In Stirling, I skipped the historic part again. I rejected the possibility to see Stirling Castle from the inside and wandered around the streets instead. I loved the morbid attraction of the city’s cemetery and of course also the laid-back atmosphere of this town.
After that we arrived at one of the prettiest and largest lochs in the whole of Scotland: Loch Lomond. Also Loch Katrine was part of the tour and I definitely would have preferred to stay there a bit longer!
THE LOT4-6 Grassmarket, EH1 2JU, Edinburgh
The nice bus driver told me about weekly dance sessions in The Lot, called „ceilidh“, where they teach you Scottish dances. There are multiple dances, and they walk you through them step-by-step at the beginning of each song.
I did overcome my sheepishness and went there all alone. And I’m so glad I did. I had so much fun, just like everybody else there too. They were all about the same age as me; students and tourists mostly. The atmosphere was really relaxed and it was getting really hot in there because of all the excitement and laughter bigsmile
I couldn’t really figure out if this place still exists. But if it does, please go there and enjoy yourself! Here’s a short insight into what was happening that night:
>> IMPRESSIONS <<
I enjoyed six wonderful summer days in Edinburgh, and have seen lots of beautiful places even though I didn’t make any plans. You should try this too on your next trip! You’ll be loving it. And you won’t have a guilty conscience, if you didn’t get to see everything on your list. Remember: There’s always a next time. This green and Medieval city, where bagpipes sounds accompany your every step around town, is definitely worth visiting!