Hey all welcome back! I apologize for the lengthy pause between posts but Edinburgh is one of the coolest places I’ve ever been and I wanted to do the city justice by making sure my post properly portrayed how I feel about it. Edinburgh is a place where you can move from the present to the past in a matter of steps due to the wonderful mixture of architecture that pervades the city. It was so beautiful we had to see it twice in one trip! Again I apologize, this post is going to be long and somewhat rambling as I could never say enough about Edinburgh. (As always, there is a small gallery at the bottom of the post and more pictures are added to the gallery tab.)
Before I discuss what all we experienced here, there’s a very important theme that will reoccur many times throughout my posts: the topic of energy and resonance. I am a big believer in the idea that because time is not linear as we perceive it to be, a place or an object can hold a lot of energy or resonance due to the things that have happened or are going to happen. I know that not everyone agrees with this idea and that’s fine, but much of how I feel when I experience things is based on this idea, especially when I’m viewing things with enormous historical importance. Edinburgh is no exception to this.
Picking up where we left off, my aunt and I woke up early to grab breakfast and head out from London. Maybe it’s just the idea of eating breakfast in another country that’s so alluring, but it was definitely the best hotel breakfast I’ve ever had. Most hotels in the states have a small selection of fruits, breads, eggs, and cereal but the Lancaster London had an entire smorgasbord of fresh fruits, cheeses, meats, breads, etc. Once we checked out of the hotel, we headed to the train station, stowed our luggage and settled in for the most pleasant train ride I’ve ever taken. Granted, I was enchanted to be in England at all but to see the countryside from the window of the train was breathtaking. The amount of times I was offered coffee was probably too many but who am I to turn down coffee, right? We only saw the cities we passed through briefly but I tried to make a note of every city that we passed that I have to come back to see which I highly suggest that anyone taking a train does. Using your phone it is extremely easy to track where you are and it’s really helpful to write down places that you see that call to you to revisit.
I think the funniest part about the whole ride was when the man seated next to us turned without any preamble to ask me who I was voting for. Keep in mind, this was right in the middle of the 2016 election cycle as well as the referendum being held in the UK. I know, what a time to be in the UK, right? I remember very clearly the astonishment of his wife when he asked me a political question of that gravity. Of course it led to our discussing the differences in policies between the UK and the US. Honestly, it became very common for anyone who learned we were from the states to ask us who we were voting for (both of us being extremely opinionated, vocal, and very against the idea of Trump becoming president had no problems sharing our ideas.) Me being me, my immediate response after I finished ranting about the insanity that was the 2016 elections in the US, was to ask their opinions on the referendum.
We pulled into the train station in Edinburgh which happened to be very modern in architecture. I have to say after all my aunt had said and all I had read about Edinburgh, I was surprised to see so much glass and metal. However, leaving the station I was immediately in awe. I was instantly presented with buildings and streets that ranged from the Middle Ages through modern times, though admittedly I enjoyed that so much seemed to retain the medieval look. It took me a bit to be able to even formulate any thoughts. I was only looking at part of the city but the part I was looking at left me breathless.
We immediately headed to our cute little boutique hotel to drop off our luggage (Hotel One.) Everything from the color schemes to the cute little rooms overlooking the rooftops of the city was truly enjoyable and it was right in the middle of the city which made getting anywhere very easy.
We spent the evening wandering the city a bit, stopping at The Conan Doyle for dinner. We didn’t realize at the time (we were hungry!) that we did NOT need to order the extra half a fillet of fish with your fish and chips. I was not expecting the massive amount of fish that I received. It’s too bad that we had no way of storing our food and eating the leftovers because the fish, chips, and pea mash was so good. Afterward we just wandered the streets a bit more. We looked at the maps of the city to see what was around but it was about six at night and not much was still open anyway.
We briefly stopped at the Scott Monument which was beautiful and next time I go there, I will have to make sure I have the time to climb to the top. We couldn’t really decide what to do with the rest of the night so we stopped by a nearby place to grab a coffee. We decided the best thing to do with our evening, since most things were closed, was to grab a cab and get ourselves a quick tour of the city.
If you didn’t know, the drivers of the black cabs are extremely well versed. They have to take an extensive test before they can become black cab drivers (the same goes for London.) There are little stickers on the window that say to ask about guided tours of the cities. So we did. We told the cabbie we had about a half an hour to burn and to show us his favorite parts of the city. Let me just say it is WELL worth your time. Especially if you have a driver like ours. He took us to every part of the city and gave us a history lesson and a joke every step of the way. He had me cracking up at every location he showed us.
The architecture of the city is awe inspiring. We passed by Edinburgh Castle, the Palace of Holyroodhouse (a personal residence of the Queen), and through the old markets that I like to think look almost the same as they did 800 years ago. Many of the streets are still cobbled instead of paved and sometimes our car barely fit. It’s too bad we didn’t have more time to wander that area of the city because the little storefronts we passed were delightful.We tried to make a note of the things we wanted to see in the morning before we grabbed our rental car to head to the highlands.
When we got back to the hotel we hung out in our room where we had tea and biscuits and we talked about what our plans were for the next day. If we had more time, we would have gone to all of the museums and wandered the streets for hours, but we knew we only had a part of the next morning to explore what we hadn’t seen the night before. We decided the best way to spend our morning was to head to Edinburgh Castle (which was the obvious choice because I was obsessed since the moment we left the train.)
I could have spent days at Edinburgh Castle (or lived there. A guy can dream right?) To get to stand in Saint Margaret’s Chapel, a space that could only fit a few people but that has been standing for nearly 1,000 years took my breath away. It was so tiny but the air was thick with history. I got to stand in the room where King James was born. It was hard to even comprehend. Every room I went into in the Castle gave me that overwhelming feeling I get any time I enter any space that contains that kind of energy or history. I get the same feeling in museums, its like my brain is trying to comprehend all of the experiences and happenings all at once. It can be hard to do anything but sit and take it all in but I love it. It makes the experience so much more humbling and in an odd way, personal. I feel almost as if I was there. I tried to see every inch of that castle and when I go back, I’ll go and see it again. The view that standing on the ramparts provides (as was obviously strategic then and so beautiful now) shows you the entirety of the city and the whole surrounding area to the Firth of Forth.
I was so excited to drive out to see the highlands but I was so very sad to leave Edinburgh behind. So far it is the single most beautiful, energy filled, and memorable cities I have ever seen. The people were astoundingly kind and witty. I would love to have a day to wander through the Grassmarket and Cowgate areas. The buildings still heavily resemble the architecture of the Middle Ages. It was cool to learn that some of the buildings in this city that still stand were part of what made it the high rise capital of Europe during the Middle Ages according to our cab driver the night before.
Edinburgh will always have my heart. I recommend any traveler to the UK should visit. From the history, to the architecture and landscape, and to the food and the people Edinburgh is altogether a wonderful city. It’s no surprise that it is the capital of Scotland as it is one of the most amazing places I’ve ever visited and my soul will always be drawn to return to this amazing city.