2012/03/13

Discovering Edinburgh

I never thought my travel journal would come in useful, except for my own reminiscing about places I’ve travelled. However, upon request, here’s a slightly more detailed post about Sophy’s and my exploration of Edinburgh:


Day 1 – A tour with the tourist bus
On our first day, as mentioned before, we were rather exhausted and also arrived in the afternoon, so we mainly just did one tour with a typical tourist bus (the hop-on hop-off kind) to get an impression of the city and get an idea of where we can find all the sights we want to visit. I can definitely recommend that, and if you buy a 24-hour ticket around 4:30 p.m., at the time the last tour starts, you can use it for the next day as well to get to your preferred destination ;)

Day 2 – St. John’s Church, Edinburgh Castle, Grassmarket, Royal Mile
Now we could start our real tour! The tourist bus brought us to St. John’s Church, which is a really beautiful church and rather famous for its colorful stained glass windows. We also took a stroll around the cemetery next to it, offering a variety of interesting gravestones. From there, we continued our journey on foot to the nearby Edinburgh Castle – definitely worth taking a look at, too, although I found it not quite as fascinating as other castles I have been to. Still, the view from the hill where it stands is probably reason enough to make the trip.

If you’re in Edinburgh, you should definitely include an excursion to the Grassmarket area, which is where lots of pubs are situated and where we went to have lunch. You probably can’t do wrong with either of the choices there, so just decide spontaneously.

Lasty, the Royal Mile is worth a walk as well and starts close to the castle which is also not far from Grassmarket. My guide book even said that you can experience Edinburgh’s history when walking along that street, but you probably need a tour guide for that, to introduce you to all the secret stories hidden behind a few of the houses and walls. If you’re by yourselves, like Sophy and me, it’s nice to just follow the street as far as you want to go and marvel at the different architectural styles of the shops and houses.

Day 3 – Mary King’s Close, Palace of Holyroodhouse, The National Museum, Greyfriar’s Bobby
One place that was definitely worth visiting was Mary King’s Close. It’s a part of the city hidden underneath the rest of Edinburgh, which is uninhabited, yet you can get to know more about the stories of people who used to live there by taking part in one of the guided tours. (You'll probably get the doodle on the right after you've been there -  it shows the city's only doctor at the time).
Some of the tales might not be that pleasant, because the area was overcome by the plague, but at least the tour guide we had managed to present most of the information in a funny way, while maintaining a deadpan face the whole time.
There are also a few horror tours on offer in Edinburgh which we didn’t have the time (and courage) to try, but if anyone’s interested, you might want to take a look at one of those as well.

The Palace of Holyroodhouse is situated at one end of the Royal Mile and provides lots of information about the Scottish ‘royal’ history, as well as a number of wonderful rooms to walk through. And don’t forget to take a step into Holyrood Abbey as well which is where Sophy and I took our outfit pictures – I think it makes for a very nice backdrop!

Finally, to keep it a little shorter: The National Museum offered an exhibition about mummies that was very informative, although I’m not such a big fan of dead bodies lying in the middle of a room, but I learned a lot about Egyptian rituals that I had never heard before.
And lastly, next to the National Museum you can find a bar called ‘Greyfriars Bobby's Bar’ with the statue of a dog in front of it – probably the most loyal Scottish dog, similar to the Japanese Hachiko. On the menu inside the pub you can read his and his owner’s story :)

Day 4 – Calton Hill, Princes Street
Our last day was not too long because we had to catch our flight around 4 p.m. and be at the airport in time, but we managed to climb up to Calton Hill. From up there, you’ll get a wonderful view over all of Edinburgh and see a number of monuments and other buildings occupying the small hilltop.

As a final tip for everyone interested in fashion: Princes Street is one of Edinburgh’s biggest shopping streets, so you should definitely include some window shopping there. An underground shopping center is also not far from there and while you can look at window displays on your right, you have a marvelous view of the Old City of Edinburgh on your left (depending on which direction you’re walking ;)

I hope that information was helpful for those of you who are planning to go to the Scottish capital someday. I marked some of the stations mentioned in this post in a map so you can see where they are situated.

Image Credit

If you have any more questions, feel free to ask!
 

Love,
Hailey

2 comments:

  1. I'm visiting your blog (and I think i'll become a great fan *_*) and I believe I become more and more jealous of all the countries where you visited.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! :)
      Yeah, we do travel a lot, but I'm sure you've been to a few countries yourself, right? ;)

      Delete