I arrived in Edinburgh after a good nap on the plane. I grabbed the tram into town. As we were approaching town, the stops we were making were surrounded by gorgeous old buildings. It was like a step back in time, and Edinburgh itself was like this too.
I checked into my hostel and met another traveller at the same time. We chatted briefly and went out together to grab food. We went to walk to the top of the hill where the old Romanesque pillars stand, but we walked around the back somehow and ended up beneath a cliff face. We did however come across some interesting statues and grabbed a few pics of that.
We ran out of time for the walk up there as we had to get across the bridge to old town to start our ghost tour. They have free tours every day (we did that one) or paid tours available. We walked around the streets of Edinburgh and learned about some of the history and folk tales of the area and the apparent ghosts that haunt the town. While it wasn’t a scary adventure, and I didn’t come across any ghouls, I did enjoy it. We finished off on the east side of town, and her and I decided to walk up Arthur’s seat for sunset. Arthur’s seat is a mountain that stands to the east of the city and overlooks Edinburgh. As we headed for Arthur’s seat we bumped into another woman who had been on the tour, and invited her along with us. So the 3 of us set off for the hike up the hill! Of course, we took a wrong turn and went right instead of left which then took us around the lower lip of the mountain right round the other side and back down behind the mountain before a steeper climb up to the top. If you go (and I recommend making the trek up), remember to go left at the bottom of the mountain to then turn back right higher up and take the fast route to the top. Taking the scenic route for us was fine though, as we had a little time to spare and we saw a few wild hares and birds around. Around 3/4 the way up, the fog rolled in over the mountain and the valley behind us became misty. We walked up through the fog above it, as it kept moving toward the south. The walk up took us just shy of 1.5 hours with a few stops to look at the view and take some pics along the way. We made it just on sunset (just before 10pm) and took some more pics and soaked up the view before heading back down (the fast way) before it got dark.
I grabbed some chicken and chips for my very late dinner (after my very late lunch) but they gave me too much chicken (I think I paid for it but it was the wrong order) so I ate what I ordered and gave the rest to the homeless man on the street. My new found friend thanked me for giving it to him, and said it had been a long time since she’s seen people caring about the homeless. She’s American and much like a lot of the rest of the world, everyone ignores their homeless- including her. It was refreshing for her to see someone who cared and gave a meal to someone in need. I had too much food and saw a hungry mouth and wouldn’t have done anything differently! It got me thinking though, as I do buy a lot of food for those on the streets when they would like it, are there that many people who just ignore other humans in need? Why don’t we all look at each other with dignity and care, regardless of our situations? Why do we feel we can judge others, based on a glimpse of them? Everyone has a story, and it’s worth listening to. Why do people listen to Kim Kardashian, but not the man on the street? If you’re one of the people who walk past, or judge the people on the streets around you, I ask you to stop next time. Next time to see someone really in need, offer them a sandwich, maybe have a chat with them if they want that, and maybe you will learn something about yourself, or life, in the process.
The next day in Edinburgh after a good long sleep (finally) I wandered the city. I noticed people playing bagpipes through the street, and many kilt shops selling different clan tartans and accessories. While I know the kilt and bagpipes are a part of Scottish culture, I didn’t actually expect it to be so prevalent in town, but it’s everywhere. I also realised how much I love the Scottish accent (especially when it’s coming out of a gorgeous Scottish lass’s mouth).
I walked to Edinburgh castle and joined the free tour that I assume kicks off hourly but I happened upon it by chance. I learned a little about the history and stood in cellars beneath a fallen tower that was built in the 12thC. It was a mixture of old, and older, and I wandered through and took some pics. I then had a delicious lunch at a pub in a side street that I came across. After a good meal down in the cellar, and a cheeky flirt with the waitress, I carried on and browsed the markets on my way down the hill to Mary Kings Close. Mary Kings close was a street occupied 400 years ago on a steep slope down the hill, when it was decided that council wanted their parliament building to be on even ground with other important buildings in town, and thus built on top of part of the close (and neighbouring closes), using the houses as a foundation. As it’s illegal for people to live underground, anyone who lived under the new building had to move out, and many of the windows and doors were bricked in to stabilise the foundations. Here it was closed off for hundreds of years, untouched. Now you can do guided tours through these underground and preserved houses, which have been recreated to display scenes of life in those times (eg beds with mannequins dying of the plague). It was extremely interesting for me to see that, and picture life back in those times. It was worth the £15 entry for me. Unfortunately as its below a parliamentary building you cannot take any photos.
I then set off in search of that pair of nikes that I still need, only to find the shopping centre that has the store to buy them had closed down for renos.
I wandered a little more before taking a nap to the sound of bagpipes outside my hostel.
I woke up, wandered a little more, and grabbed some dinner, before walking the right way up to the Romanesque monument on the hill. The weather had been cloudy today unlike yesterday so the view wasn’t as lovely, but still a nice walk/ view.
As I stood atop the hill and the sun set over the city, I am grateful for where I am, what I have seen, and what is to come. Thanks Edinburgh.