There are lots of things I would like to do in life, travel being one of them, that I don’t do because I’m scared at the idea of doing it alone. Which is kind of stupid really because I spend 99% of my time alone, being an introvert will do that to you. Anyway, I finally bit the bullet and decided if I want to experience new places, I have to face my fears and just go, whether I’m alone or not, because if I wait around for someone to go with me, I’ll never get there. So we’re starting small I guess, by taking a solo trip to Edinburgh, somewhere I have always wanted to go and now my only wish is that I had gone sooner.
Ya’ll know I’m a city girl at heart, there’s something about a city, a vibe that you don’t get out of town and Edinburgh might be one of the most instragrammable places I’ve ever been, even if getting there was a little traumatic. This was the first time I was going somewhere completely new by myself and the first time I was flying alone, flying alone kinda sucks by the way, but I dunno, maybe I’ll do it again. My journey began with being chosen for a random security check at the airport, which honestly was the most inefficient thing I have ever witnessed. Like, I know security is important and as I had nothing that could pose a threat, I didn’t have a problem with them singling me out other than the fact that I am slightly anxious in airports anyway and was about to go in a plane by myself, but I did kind of assume that during the check they would ask to see some ID (they didn’t) or you know, check my pockets (they didn’t). Once that was over though, I could really start to enjoy the experience, which was in equal parts terrifying and liberating. Like, I was in a city by myself, I could do whatever and go wherever I wanted and no one knew where I was at any one time. But anyway, Edinburgh.
Once I’d alighted the plane, I made my way to the front of the airport where I had been told by other visitors that there was a shuttle bus which would take me to the city centre, the air link service does open returns for £7.50 btw if you’re considering a visit and the handy voice over tells you which stops are which, so I stayed on til the last one, which took me to Waverley Bridge, a place I now know is slap bang in the middle of a generic looking high street, a mountain and several very old, exciting looking buildings surrounding it. Honestly, there is nothing more exciting than looking out of a bus window at 8.30 in the morning and seeing a very normal looking British road system with a snow capped mountain in the background. Like seriously, this place is beautiful.
This was the first sight to greet my eyes when stepping off the bus in the heart of Edinburgh, the Scott’s memorial (which it turns out is for Walter Scott and not Scottish people in general, though that would be a nice thought).
Well, I thought to myself glancing from the Whetherspoons to one side of me and this beautiful piece of architecture to the other, this is off to a fabulous start. I couldn’t check into my hotel until 3 p.m. so, naturally I did the next best sensible thing, I looked beyond the memorial towards the castle and thought, I’ll go there first. So, I walked in its general direction for a couple of minutes before consulting google, who decided to abandon me in my hour of need and took me on a fifteen minute detour through Princes Gardens around the place before I found a group of school children to follow. Wait… That wasn’t meant to sound as weird as it did. Take that in the most innocent way possible!
Arthur’s Seat in the distance
The Royal Mile
Snow topped mountains in the distance
The castle reminded me a bit of the Tower of London, there were lots of little exhibitions and a great view and there were even crown jewels, though much like in London, you aren’t allowed to photograph the jewels there either. If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ll know I am a nerd and I love learning, I was actually surprised and ashamed of how much I learned at the castle about Scottish history, like guys, Scotland is part of the United Kingdom and yet, I had been told nothing of Scotland in history lessons at school, I guess I arrogantly assumed that it was all British history. Sorry, Scotland.
After spending several hours soaking up the castle and getting blown into oblivion because once again, my ignorance of Scotland was being proved by the fact that I, someone living in the South of England, thought to myself, its March, how cold can it be? It was bloody freezing. It was snowing on and off and blowing a gale. But anyway, after taking way too many photos and visiting all the exhibitions, I left the castle grounds to explore the Royal Mile, which is what my previously visiting friends had all raved about and honestly, it is possibly the most beautiful street I’ve ever walked down, seriously Edinburgh, you need to stop with all the things to look at, my eyes can only do so much.
At the other end of the Royal Mile is Holyrood, which had some commotion going on outside because there was a debate of some sort going on inside. Much like the rest of the city, Parliament was a very pretty building, as was the palace over the road and the mini mountain behind it. Can we take a moment to appreciate the fact that I was considering climbing Arthur’s Seat because google told me it was a hill? One thing to take from this trip, google is not always to be trusted. The closer I got to Arthur’s Seat, the less hill like and the more mountainous it became, I got a little way through the park and thought, nah, you know what, I’m happy just being here.
By this time it was getting fairly late in the afternoon, so back along the Royal Mile I went, debating ticking off something else off my bucket list and getting a tattoo from one of the many shops along the High Street, but my rumbling stomach won out, so instead I headed back to Waverley and across the bridge to Princes Street on the search for a vegan restaurant called Henderson’s I’d found, again on my not so trusted friend, Google. Turns out the place does exist and had a very exciting menu, however, until the evening it didn’t do main meals, only salads and well, it was snowing out and I hadn’t yet eaten, I didn’t want salad. So, a high street chain provided me with lunch instead, which was a shame, but my stomach appreciated it.
By the time I’d eaten it was late afternoon and what can only be described as a blizzard was taking place, so I checked into the hotel for some respite, before going on the hunt for a hat and scarf in one of the many shops along Princes Street. Sadly, it being ‘spring’ not a single woolly item could be found. So, I decided to continue my exploration of the Royal Mile and its side streets in a bid to keep warm, I did find a Writer’s Museum (which doesn’t open on Tuesdays, boo) and perhaps the most exciting thing, the Elephant House, where J K Rowling wrote Harry Potter.
Not being much of a drinker and having been up since 3 a.m., I retired much earlier than I’d have liked and I had to be up fairly early to get back on the bus to head to the airport. Next time, I am planning a much longer trip!
One final thought about Edinburgh, I love you. You’re aesthetically pleasing, you’re friendly af, you have the best atmosphere and I am very sorry I didn’t visit sooner.
Also, the Scots have the best sticker grafetti, seriously: