This weekend marked my second ever trip to Scotland, in the form of the beautiful Edinburgh. The catalyst? A work conference. HELLO free travel and accommodation! The conference was only on Friday so I figured that once my work pals left on Saturday morning, I’d spend the whole day wandering around the town, hook up with a pal I’d not seen in years, and generally have some touristy time.
Let me admit something right away – this trip wasn’t STRICTLY solo. Yeah alright, so shoot me, I have got friends ya know! This was by no means a bad thing anyway because a) I have missed my pal terribly so seeing him was AMAZING and b) being friends with a local meant that I had my very own personal tour guide!.
I arrived in Edinburgh on Thursday evening. The first thing I noticed was: it is fucking hilly. I mean, there’s no such thing as a leisurely walk in this place, because at every turn you’re on another hill or cobbled road. I could not have looked MORE like a tourist as I huffed and puffed my way up hills, dragging my wheely suitcase behind me, with my eyes glued to google maps. I tried to ignore the pitying stares of the locals as they enjoyed their fags outside the pubs that lined the horrendous alleyway that had, like, 1000 flights of steps.
I headed straight to our conference venue to set up (which I wont detail!) but later, as we walked to our flat (courtesy of air bnb) we walked through the Grassmarket and grabbed some Italian nosh. It was ok. Nothing special. I guess Italian food isnt the Scots’ forte…
…which leads me onto Scottish Square Sausage. I mean, what the HELL is this shit? We partook of this local culinary ‘delight’ on Friday morning, in a bid to ensconce ourselves into the Scottish way of life. It turned out that this stuff wasn’t just normal sausage shaped jauntily into a square, but a bizarre meat that tasted like a burger and looked like it had been injected with baubles of fat, coated in some kind of rancid red stuff. Sorry Scotland, you let me down. Never again.
Friday was pretty much stuck inside the venue (Surgeons Hall, just 5 mins walk from the Royal Mile) but that was all good because I knew that Saturday was going to be my real chance for some smashing sightseeing. Well, reader, Saturday did not disappoint.
I’ll digress slightly at this juncture to mention our accommodation. This flat was AMAZING (although potentially haunted), and it is thanks to this place that I am now an Air BnB convert. It was a huge 4 bed flat practically within the grounds of Edinburgh Castle.
Seriously – our morning view as we munched our cereal was the Castle. In fact, we were so close to it that I didnt even notice it at first. And it only cost us £120 each for two nights – say WHAT! This Air BnB business is a bloody dream.
So yeah, Saturday. I set off early to the Commonwealth Pools – no, not for an Olympian-esque swim – but to meet my pal Pete there before we head off to Arthurs Seat. It turns out, that Arthurs seat is magnificent. Like, super cool and beautiful. We only went to the bottom of Arthur (I was not equipped, plus we had a buggy with us) but even from there, the views were spectacular. Then we trundled down the Salisbury crags, which were bumpy as hell and fairly treacherous when you’ve got a small child and buggy in tow. But anyway, these gave us more wonderful views, as I stood and contemplated why the HELL DONT I LIVE HERE??!
After a coffee outside a nice family-friendly cafe, we head up to the Castle and went into the grounds. Obviously, I took a shitload more photos. Pete and his little bubba left me shortly after that, so I made my way into the nearest tacky gift shop (of which there are MANY along the Royal Mile) to buy a shot glass. I buy a shot glass in every country I visit. Yeah, I’m cool.
I had my suitcase back with me by this point, and couldn’t handle any more frigging hills or cobbles, so I went down towards the train station nearer the more modern part of town. Not as beautiful, but a swift pit-stop in Clarks garnered a winter boots purchase, so I felt productive. I clocked a cute little kiosk outside by some gardens (if anyone can tell me what these gardens are, then go for it. They are by the train station) and shovelled some pizza down my gob as I watched the world go by and tried to put the prospect of a 6 hour journey home out of my mind.
After that it was time to head home, so I whizzed over to my train, armed with a train-gin o’ course, and prepared to sleep because, reader, I was fookin’ shattered!
In a nutshell, Edinburgh is the kind of place you’d be proud to live in. It’s such a unique mix of old buildings, greenery, and even the sea is visible. I am deifnitely going back to a) climb Arthur properly and b) develop a Whisky habit. Probably in that order.
Edinburgh old girl, I salute you.