The Scottish centre of education, business, and culture, Edinburgh has been the capital of Scotland since the XV century. It was the first time ever I went somewhere so spectacularly unprepared – I hadn’t read much about this city nor had I any expectations. Now I want to come back.
We spent 2 days in Edinburgh. The first day welcomed us with weather you’ would expect in November rather than in August. As we were later told by some Scottish people, this actually was regular Scottish weather. Joanna and me – wearing trousers, softshells, raincoats, were absolutely amazed by the sight of the Scots wearing T-Shirts and shorts. The same conditions and we were mentally in the autumn, they were enjoying the summer. The second day surprised us all with temperature over degrees and nearly no clouds in the sky.
On the first day in Edinburgh, we mainly walked around historic heart of the city and checked all the awesome attractions we had to give up on since we had neither enough time nor enough money. Edinburgh teems with terrific entertainment: you can enjoy anything that comes to your mind: stand-up shows, street performances, buskers, theatres, live music on the streets, in pubs, in churches. It was on the Royal Mile that I heard life bagpipes first time in my life. I loved it at the first …. sound and I know I MUST go on a bagpipe concert. In Scotland.
So what’s Edinburgh like?
It would be difficult not to mention the Edinburgh’s most famous attraction, that is the castle on the hill which dominates the city. Although the exact age of the castle is not confirmed, it’s believed that it dates back to the XII century. Nowadays, it’s a place were the “Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo” takes place each year. It’s a show mixing the elements of music and dance, and it’s performed by… the British Army. Tickets are sold out months ahead the festival.
Edinburgh is where probably the best arts festival in the world takes place. “The Fringe Festival” lasts through August and nothing else matters during that time. The city is occupied by all sorts of amazing artists. Street performances, theatre plays, life music are basically everywhere, there are thousands of options to choose from. Joanna and me purposefully changed the dates of our visit to Edinburgh to …. avoid the festival. It’s such a shame, but the ho(s)tel prices become exorbitant for the duration of the festival. Maybe next time….?
Royal Mile, the wide, cobbled street is the true heart of Edinburgh. Both the street and the old town are actually enlisted on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. It’s on the Royal Mile where you’re bound to meet buskers, bagpipe players, and other street performers. We saw one guy pretending to be a cowboy riding a horse, but what he actually did, was just tossing a long line above his head. Hmmm… There are plenty of atmospheric pubs where you can taste all sorts of Scottish whisky and learn about how they were produced. It’s call “The Whisky Trail”.
We’re not the biggest fans of whisky, but we do enjoy a pint of beer or a good cider. Not to mention some tasty food. We wanted to eat dinner and relax after a whole day of walking in a cosy pub called “The World’s End”. However, as it turned out, it is so popular both among the local Scots and tourist, that the waiting time for a table was approximately 45 minutes (mind you, it was early afternoon!!!). Instead of waiting so long, we went to another great pub, “The Albanach”, which is just across “The World’s End”. Apart from having typical fish and chips, they also serve different types of burgers. Not to mention ALL kinds of alcohol. :)
Summing up, Edinburgh surprised me! Although Scotland’s capital city is the second largest busies and financial centre in the UK, it feels very atmospheric, traditional, cosy, and friendly. Contrary to e.g. London, I didn’t feel this hectic rush and nervous atmosphere.
In the next post, I’ll take you to the Arthur’s Seat, an amazing view point over Edinburgh.