I’ve recently been to Edinburgh to visit my old friend from school and to see how the Scots celebrate new year’s eve. If I didn’t go to university in London, I would have been in Edinburgh instead so this trip has somehow allowed me to see how it would have been if I ended there instead. While in Edinburgh, I managed to take over 1500 pictures (on both my LX5 and Nikon D5100) – probably the most I’ve ever taken in such a short time! I was planning the go to Glasgow as well but ran short of time. The train left at exactly 19:00 and I actually got on it at 18:58 lol.
My first destination was the famous “Elephant House” tea house – aka. the birthplace of Harry Potter! The place was packed (mostly with tourists though)and was pretty cozy but there wasn’t anything really special about it to be fair. I guess most people went there because of its links with the Harry Potter series.Visiting one of the places where J.K. Rowling got inspired to write one of my favourite series of all time was pretty awesome. J.K. Rowling actually finished the last book in Edinburgh as well, but it was in the Balmoral hotel instead. I sort of agree with my friend’s remark about how blatant/reflective of her success it is that she started the HP series in a tea house and finished it in a 5-star hotel hehehe. During my stay there, it rained literally every single day – talk about real UK weather! Anyways, I didn’t know that Scotland had a different type of money although it has the same value as the usual British Pound… looks pretty much like monopoly money to me.
During my whole stay, they had a sort of “Winter Wonderland” set up on Princes Street, next to the Scot’s Monument. Whilst the site was pretty amazing, it was rather standard – not much different from the ones back in London, with the amusement rides and ice skating rink. On the plus side though, the food was yummy :) …
These pictures were taken when I was sort of touring the buildings of the University of Edinburgh. The building in the background is the McEwan Hall, where apparently some exams take place during term time and it is also where their Graduation ceremony will take place – pretty cool. Oh and I haven’t mentioned but their campus MASSIVE… they have like a building for everything… so jealous :(
Taking random picture in a graveyard – because it is obviously not a creepy thing to do! Actually, J.K. Rowling apparently got inspired by some of the names in this particular graveyard to create her HP characters. I didn’t manage to verify whether it was true or not but apparently, you can find the tomb of ‘Tom Riddle’ there. There was also the tomb of Scottish Poet/Actor William McGonagall – not sure if that’s got anything to do with Professor McGonagall’s name though!
We met this human statue guy on the Royal Mile and he was hilarious! At first, he didn’t talk so I just assumed that he was Scottish or something (tourist assumptions duh!) but then he opened his mouth and started talking with this really heavy russian accent that threw me off guard. He kept asking what songs can I hear with my earmuffs and was insisting that I got scammed because there ‘headphones’ did not work hahah.
I really really like the streets of Edinburgh. They have such an antique vibe to them – especially on the Royal Mile, which reminded me soo much about the streets in the ‘Old City’ of Geneva
Although it is located at the heart of the city, I only managed to see the Castle of Edinburgh during the last few days of my trip – however, I did not go inside because I didn’t have enough time but on hindsight, I wish I had entered the place. I honestly thought it was on top of some mountain or something but no, it was right there, at the end of the royal mile (duh!). My friend who goes to the University of Edinburgh told me that there was some sort of superstition, saying that if you enter the castle while you’re still in university (of Edinburgh that is), you won’t graduate! So maybe it was a good thing that I didn’t actually enter the castle? Not sure how that superstition originated but sounds rather crazy to me. The view from the hill where the castle is located was simply amazing. On one side, you could see the cultural old city and on the other side was the new part of town with the modern offices and buildings.
The National Museum of Scotland was a really fun place to visit. They had exhibitions that covered a wide range of topics: from historical artefacts to scientific innovations and then even dinosaur (moulded) skeletons! At the natural science display, they had this “Animal Weight-in” booth and apparently I weight as much as a “giant anteater”which is surprisingly less than a chimpanzee! My friend Tebe got offended because he got the “Harbour Porpoise” – which he thought was a whale but was in fact just a dolphin lol.
David Hume – I’m not sure what the story is exactly but apparently, if you kiss the statue’s toe, you will gain all of Hume’s knowledge. From what I’ve seen, Hume seems to be quite an important Scottish figure, considering the number of statues that he has around town.
This is the Heart of Midlothian – you’ll often see people spitting on the heart for good luck but apparently, it’s got something else to do with a prison and public execution… can’t remember exactly :p
There were a lot of other street performers/human statues along the Royal Mile. One fun thing about Edinburgh is that you can always expect to see someone playing the bagpipe on the Royal Mile every day. We saw this really funny looking one as well… And check out what’s written on that display… eww.
I had little time left in Edinburgh but still wanted to see the outskirts of Edinburgh – mainly the seaside and the canal. So as we left the museum, I ditched my friend who had to go back home, I headed towards Waverley Station on my own to hop on one of those sightseeing tour buses. The ticket prices are quite reasonable I guess. I paid like 14 Pounds for a 48 Hours ticket that allowed me to get onto 3 different buses… Although, the horrible weather defeated the purpose of going on an open-top double-decker (I did it anyways but it was really freezing and I was somehow worried that I would have damaged my camera :[ ). Every time that you got on the bus, they would give you a pair of really cheap headphones to plug-in and listen to the audio tour guide. Part of it was quite interesting by to be fair, I didn’t pay much attention to it – was too focused on taking pictures hehehe. I went on two different busses. One of them passed by the monuments and attractions in the central part of Edinburgh – this last picture shows the Burns Monument, commemorating Robert Burns, the author of Auld Lang Syne. The second bus that I got on was the one that passed by the coast and canal…
This place looked literally like the middle of nowhere. Even my friend who live in Edinburgh has never been there. It’s supposed to have some sort of cruise ship that is opened to the public to visit but it was unfortunately closed when I was there (not sure I would visit it anyways). I walked around for a bit and then realised that the bus that just dropped me off was the second to last bus of the day!!! Luckily I realised that in time and went back to the bus stop to catch the last one back to central Edinburgh…
The Holyrood Palace – This is the Royal Family’s official residence in Scotland. I only briefly went past it although I think it’s possible to visit the palace when the royals are not in town.
This is a pretty random/stalker-ish picture but I just HAD to share it. The picture doesn’t do justice but the juxtaposition of modern and traditional architecture makes this one of the coolest flats that I’ve ever seen!
I had a really great time exploring this foreign city – although I must say that Edinburgh turned out to be smaller than what I had imagined. By the end of my week there, I somehow knew all the main streets and touristic areas like the palm of my hand (yay for cheesy expression). Whilst it is a really lovely city and it is definitely a must see if you ever come to the UK, I don’t think that I would have preferred to go there for uni instead of London… what can I say? London is the best! That being said, I would definitely have to return there at one point because I still haven’t had the chance to visit the Castle and climb up Arthur’s Seat!