Travel diaries: Edinburgh, Scotland

You were a couple people asking to hear about my adventures to Edinburgh and Scotland this summer, so here I am, fulfilling your wishes. I know you are used to me screaming about books, rather than travelling, but see…I have two big loves in my life : young adult books and travelling.

There’s nothing much that makes me feel as alive as I do when I’m travelling and exploring new cities. I feel like I’m another person completely, embracing the world even from an hotel bedroom, map of a new city in hand, head and heart filled with possibilities.

Edinburgh, a city of stories

Edinburgh has been on my bucket list for a long, long time and, despite what you might think of a bookworm like me, it’s NOT for its roots with the Harry Potter world, at all. The architecture and everything about it screamed “come to see me, I have stories to tell”. And boy, let me tell you: I know why V.E. Schwab is living there. It feels like stepping in another world, a world where fairy tales are made. And creepy stories, too.

Also, it’s a world where it rains. A LOT.

On the first day, we arrived around 11 a.m and were greeted right as the plane landed, by fog and rain. One of the plane attendant warned us that, outside, it was NOVEMBER (or at least, felt like it). Let me warn you: if you’re expecting hot weather and sunshine right in the middle of August in Scotland, you’re wrong. Armed with jackets, scarves and wet to the core with the rain, we ran back to the airport, to the tram taking us straight to the city center.

After some pizza and a little bit of wandering around a foggy, rainy and really busy Edinburgh, we hoped as we falled asleep for less rain in the next day to be able to explore a bit more.

Edinburgh’s Old Town, the Elephant House, rain and penguins

On the second day, we weren’t so lucky, but with limited time, we would have our feet wet, be cold and shivering, but we would explore Edinburgh’s hidden gems. WE HAD to. Scott’s Monument stood right at the bottom of our street, still hugged by the fog and rain all around, only giving this monument an eerie, fantastical aura. If you look at it too long, I swear you’ll get chills.

Following around people with their umbrellas, raincoats and SANDALS (I know. I wondered, too. Maybe their feet are like, insensitive??), we made our way to Edinburgh’s Old Town, an absolutely gorgeous Harry Potter-looking tiny little city, with little alleyways making you feel like you’re in Diagon Alley, big streets filled with people and more umbrellas, cathedrals standing in the middle of it all, little shops and traditional Scottish merch all around. A tourist paradise for sure when you look straight ahead, but if you look up a little bit… well, it’s another world.

We made our way to the Edinburgh’s Castle, unfortunately due to too much fog and rain, decided against going in for now – the view would not be worth it, that’s for sure. We still got to explore the castle from outside, the first castle I’m seeing that does NOT look like a castle, AT ALL.

We stopped by the Elephant House, because, well, we had to. After wandering in a couple of streets, wondering where it was supposed to be, we found a mass of people suddenly gathered in front of a place and somehow, we knew that was it. No matter how much time passes by, Harry Potter does not get old, friends.

Looking for some shelter from the rain, we visited the National Museum of Scotland, one gigantic, really pretty and FREE! museum filled with tons interesting information about art, culture in the world and in Scotland, as well as tons of animals from all around the world. There was one place you could stand on, that let you know what your weight was alike and apparently I’m a penguin so you can call me penguin now.

Edinburgh’s best views, Hollyrood Palace, a LOT of walking and people with birds

On our third day, we got out of bed and ran to the window, our new habit, and screamed because it was not raining. After a big breakfast, we quickly ran outside to try and enjoy the city’s best views before rain would fall again (spoiler alert: it did).

We happily made our way through the busy city again to Carlton Hill, a little hill, as its name states, on the east side of the city. A little walk and a little stroll up some stairs and we found ourselves in front of what was, for me, the best view of Edinburgh. It’s the best one because you can actually see a lot of the city and beautiful architecture on the one side and THE SEA on the other side. It’s not that far of a climb and the monuments are absolutely gorgeous. I feel like pictures speak much more than words here, so…

Our next stop of the day was Hollyrood Palace: the queen of England’s official residence when she stops by Edinburgh. We made our way through the Royal Mile, one of Edinburgh’s biggest streets running all the way through the Old Town of Edinburgh until the palace. A gorgeous street filled with little shops.

Hollyrood Palace was, as its name states, well… a palace. It was gigantic and gorgeous, with big fences and big towers. Again, pictures speak for themselves here.

We weren’t apparently sick of having walked a couple miles, because Arthur’s Seat, one of Edinburgh’s best recommended sight, was right at our feet, so… why not. The climb is quite impressive and the path rocky and unstable – I’d advise to have great shoes if you ever feel like climbing up there. The view is worth the fatigue and hurt in your feet though.

On our way back, we enjoyed the Royal Mile and Edinburgh’s Old Town again – we happened to stumble upon a small international food market and people holding gigantic owls. I’ve never felt more in a Harry Potter novel than in that very moment, staring into the eyes of an OWL.

Exploring Scotland: Forthbridge, Anstruther, St Andrews, the sea and SUNSHINE!

On our fourth day, we thought it would be nice to get out of the city and explore Scotland’s countryside, so my best travel buddy sister and I hopped on a bus to explore more. Our direction? Strange, impressive bridges, little fisherman’s villages and the sea.

Our first stop was Forthbridge, an impressive red bridge across the sea. I’ll let the pictures talk (and tell you ALL about that beautiful weather again. Aermm.).

Our second stop was Anstruther, a gorgeous little fishing village. On our way there, the rain started pouring again. For an awful twenty minutes, we thought we would be drenched in the matter of seconds, but… the sun came out after a little while, just as we arrived and we never felt more happy and grateful for it.ย  We got to see the little boats, the sea and the cute little seaside houses that make me want to write stories.

Then, we hopped back on the bus to get to St Andrews, our most expected stop today. See, St. Andrews seemed to be an absolutely gorgeous little town with a castle, a cathedral, a gorgeous university (that inspires me for my story… no, really). We were not disappointed AND we did not get much rain either, so that was a double win.

We got to explore St. Andrews’ Castle and, a little farther down the road, St. Andrews’ Cathedral, or well, what remains of it all. It was gorgeous and a little creepy all at once, an impressive sight for sure and one that will surely inspire you if you want to write. St. Andrews’ little streets and shops were as adorable as ever and the sea and sunshine, ah. Happy moment there.

Our last stop before getting back to Edinburgh was Falkland, another small town, mostly known for its palace, Falkland Palace. When I say small town, I say that we did our little tour of it in the matter of a couple minutes, honestly. Still, it was absolutely gorgeous.

Dean Village, Prince Street’s Gardens: one last day in Edinburgh

On our fifth and last day in Edinburgh, we went to find a little bit of nature and calm. See, right in August is the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, a music/art/theatre/performances and, well… like I mentioned before, it was busy. Like, really, really busy. So we took our rain jackets and umbrellas (because well, you have to) and headed off to Dean Village, a small little part of the city that’s absolutely adorable and feels recluse from all the noise.

A little bit below the city itself, going down one street and another, it felt like finding yourself in another world. A world with calm, little bridges, towers, an occasional cab, nature and silence.

Because finally, on our last day, Edinburgh decided to greet us with some sunshine, we got back to the city center and Prince’s Gardens and got to enjoy the Castle and Scott’s Monument for a last time in all of their glory and with no fog or rain at all.

We left on our sixth day and, as I’m writing this, I’m still feeling nostalgic about it all. Edinburgh was a gorgeous city and one that inspired me to explore and to write, that made me crave more of Scotland’s countryside and more travel after all.

Edinburgh, summing it up:

Walked: 32,6 km

Drank: 10+ cups of tea

Bought: 3 books

Got rained on: I’ve lost count here.

I’m sorry that post got a bit long, I hope you enjoyed reading it or, if you got lazy – which I’d completely understand…- enjoyed the pictures!

Did you ever go to Edinburgh, or Scotland? What did you think of it? Would you like to go there someday?

What’s one place on your travel bucket-list right now? Would you dream of being in a very Harry-Potter-like kind of city? Let me know everything in comments!

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Book blogger, travel blogger, writer. ๐Ÿ“š |๐ŸŒ | ๐Ÿ’ž Writing & Communications Graduate. French. Living on love, wanderlust and ya books.

123 thoughts on “Travel diaries: Edinburgh, Scotland

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