I knew I was going to like Edinburgh before we even got out of the airport. Not only were we greeted to Scotland by happy, smiling, laughing locals, but also by stunning weather, a crisp blue sky day with not a cloud to be seen. One plus of not flying Ryanair (there are also many more) was that the pilot had time to take us on a bird’s-eye view tour of the city, giving us an overview of what we were about to see and pointing out sights as we circled high above.
The first stop on our whirlwind 36 hour tour of the city was the Edinburgh castle which towers over the historic centre of the city. Although this castle has gained fame in the past few years as being the magical castle which Hogwarts is based on (J.K. Rowling wrote much of the Harry Potter series in Edinburgh), it is famous in its own right. It provides the backdrop for the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, as well as being an amazing building, full of history and relics, including the Scottish Crown Jewels (no photos allowed of course). Now that invading armies are no longer such a threat, the castle provides an excellent lookout over the city for tourists.
After a bottle of wine with lunch (a hearty Scottish stew) we saw a big hill and thought it would be a good idea to climb it to get another view of the city. Although strenuous, the climb to the summit of Arthur’s Seat was definitely worth it. We were treated to spectacular 360˚ views of the city, surrounding areas and North Sea. On the way up, however, there were times when I was definitely reconsidering the climb. I was particularly tempted to stop when we passed a falling boulders sign at the start of section entailing an almost vertical climb! Fortunately we did end up passing it without any hitches.
I couldn’t get over the age of everything in Edinburgh. It is such an old city, with buildings and monuments from hundreds of years ago. I was amazed to find out that an area in the historic centre called the “New Town” was built before New Zealand officially became a country! So you can only imagine how old the “Old Town” is. Walking through the streets of Edinburgh is like walking through history, with only a sprinkling of new buildings where there is space. And where there is space, they’ve certainly invested in good design and architecture, making Edinburgh a very intriguing city to wander around.
Like many other parts of the UK, Edinburgh was full of signs that made us laugh with their unique use of English. We walked past ‘World’s End Close’ – not a street I’d really like to live in, ‘The Bad Ass,’ a pub and even had a pint at ‘Dirty Dick’s.’ One pub even advertised ‘good food and hungover staff’ – at least they’re honest! The best sign of course was for Abercromby Place.
I can’t wait to return to Scotland one day. The people of Edinburgh have such a great sense of humor and laugh a lot. Not to mention the brilliant food and drink available in the copious pubs, restaurants and bars. It may not have the warmest weather in Europe, but the locals sure do know how to enjoy life with a magical twinkle in their eye.