I want to start the Travel section by writing about my favorite city in Europe, the one city I would move to and leave my beloved Vienna for (but don’t tell her, she will get jealous): Edinburgh.
Situated near the Scottish Highlands, near the sea, Edinburgh is a small gem of a city, a perfect blend of history, diversity, culture and homeliness.
We chose July to visit, best decision ever. As it’s higher up on the map, temperatures don’t get crazy high and you can actually enjoy visiting. We took a flight from London, got to Edinburgh and took a nice bus to the center of the city.
My advise to you, don’t be too quick on booking a hotel. We booked a lovely B&B in an old townhouse, amazing rooms, decor and the breakfast was lovely (fresh bread, coffee, milk, jam, butter, eggs). The picture you can see below was taken in the common room where you can sit, read a book, relax.
The structure of the city is a little different than your normal city, you have the city center with pubs and shops downtown and then you have to go up the hill to the Edinburgh Castle, from where you can walk along the Royal Mile and enjoy the narrow streets of the Old Town. When the plague hit the city in 1645, the richer residents fled the Old Town and settled in down the hill in an effort to minimize the death toll numbers. That is today’s city center. You can have a lovely view of the castle from downtown.
The views at night from the Old Town are amazing, take a moment to enjoy and take pictures. If you cross the bridge over the train station, you will find a staircase open to the public which gives you a spooky yet historic feeling. You can leave the bridge there and take the hidden passages through the Old Town.
What we did one day was walk from our B&B around the city through the forest (perfectly safe, tourists take the route all the time) to get to the Edinburgh Farmers’ Market where we had the most yummy fresh food (and I got spicy sauce all over my white jacket) and from there, we took a longer route (which I hated because I hate to walk around but the sights were so pretty) to the Botanical Garden. We spent hours exploring the gardens, lush green fields and beautiful flowers.
Quick tip. You can take the bus from there directly to the Castle in the Old Town to avoid going up the hill. But we didn’t. My friend was keen on walking through the narrow passages on the cobbled streets and got my claustrophobia acting up. At some point, when I was getting very creative with my curse words, we got to the Castle. From there, you can see all of Edinburgh.
After taking in the sights, we walked down the Royal Mile and entered a wool manufacturer where everything is overpriced but authentic. You can get a lovely Scottish scarf from there but I advise you to walk down the Mile, prices go way down. We stopped at a 50s American Diner, had some ribs and went exploring. Food is cheaper than in London, it’s like going out in Vienna. Try the many pubs, they offer yummy food, good music and it’s a good way to meet new people. The Scots are very talkative and kind, they will take up a conversation with you at once.
And have a local cream soup, you will love it.
But the most important part: before rushing from one sight to the other, take the time to walk around and feel the vibe. The city has a unique feeling, many students and you can have an adventure.
Ooh, and don’t leave without going to a Gin Tasting (you might want to book it in advance, they are in high demand). Get plastered at 10 in the morning, it’s Happy Hour somewhere.
Before finishing up, I will leave you with the fun fact of our trip: Being higher up on the map, you never quite have a dark sky in summer. So you don’t have a real night. We went to bed at about 11 pm and I woke up some hours later to a blinding sun coming through our curtains. At which point I panicked because…breakfast. I tried to wake up my friend but she wasn’t having it. So I rushed down to have breakfast. And I got there and nobody was present. I tried to call out for somebody. And then I turned around…and looked at the clock…and it was 4 o’clock in the morning. So I went back to bed. The End:)
For recommendations on B&Bs, restaurants and Gin Tastings, contact me, I’ll hook you up with the info.