“I did not expect Edinburgh to be this spectacular” This is what I told my sister after the first day walking the streets of the capital of Scotland. And it’s true, I hadn’t. I had thought it was a bit like Dublin or perhaps like Liverpool. I had envisioned stone, wet and cold weather, a city “up there in the North”, but none of the majesty, the monuments, the tall, dark, massive Georgian buildings.
The trip was one that I quickly put together on a whim. It turned out that I had accumulated holiday time off from work and I wanted to take advantage of the situation. Of course, the first thing I thought was “Where shall I go?”. Edinburgh had long been on my bucket list for a while. It was time.
It was a quick 45-minute Easyjet flight from Bristol and I arrived at night. Next morning, I was up early and the first thing I did was to talk to Calton Hill to admire the view, which did not disappoint. From there, I found the famous Royal Mile and walked up to the ancient Castle. I entered the surrounding park and visited the grounds. Edinburgh Castle is apparently one of the most attacked in the world and has had a role in all the Wars of Scottish Independence that have occurred throughout the years. Situated on a hill, it dominates the skyline of the town; you can see it and photograph it from so many angles.
It was late April and there was a brisk and freezing breeze, but no matter, the vistas from Edinburgh Castle were dramatic indeed. The thing with this town, is that it’s located in an area with land and hills on one side, and the North Sea on the other which gives it a lot of visual interest. As a keen photographer, I was delighted.
This World Heritage Site has two distinct areas: The older and medieval Old Town, surrounded by the more modern New Town, which is Georgian in style. I loved walking up and down the Royal Mile, which has Edinburgh Castle on one extreme and the Palace of Holyroodhouse on the other. I chose not to visit the latter (frankly, I did not want to add more money to the Queen’s coffers) and preferred wandering about the streets (Victoria Street) and gardens such as Prices Street Gardens right in the centre. I am sure the reader of this blog knows by now that I love visiting historic churches, and there is usually a courtyard/ cemetery attached to the temple, which most of the time I end up seeing as well. I am not a huge fan of macabre stuff, but I have had my share of funeral sites, and for this reason I was intrigued by Old Calton Burial Grounds built in the 18th century. This cemetery is the final resting place of philosopher David Hume and also houses Scotland’s American Civil War Memorial. Talking about churches, I also loved Greyfriars Kirk (and its burial grounds, of course).
Scotland has a reputation for bad weather, but I have to say, although cold and cloudy, the rain mostly held off during my stay. It made a small appearance, which I had anticipated; it was then that I chose to visit the very informative Museum of Scotland. I did not know that much about the people that have lived in this lands and its relationship with England and I wanted to learn more. The Museum did not disappoint.
Neither did a most wonderful climb up to Arthur’s Seat (an ancient volcano, actually). I did not reach the very top, but managed to walk around for a bit and enjoy spectacular views.
All in all, it was a good trip and did see quite a lot, a feat really, considering I put the trip together in haste. Loved the town and would like to return to Scotland some day, and visit the surrounding countryside and Glasgow.