Travel Time

Riding Solo in Edinburgh

Hello dear reader! My adventure in Scotland has ended, and so for some closure, I’d like to write about it. To start things off, I’d like to clear the air. I, like many of you, pronounced Edinburgh like Edin-borough. To save you from future embarrassment, the way you are pronouncing it is completely wrong. It’s pronounced like Edin-bura. Say the last part quickly and softly, like it’s not even there. Say it with me. Edin-bura, edin-bura, edin-bura. Now that I’ve cleared that up, I might as well clear something else up. Melbourne is pronounced like Mel-ben, not Mel-born. That’s it. If there’s one thing you take away from this post, I’d like to be that. I’m correcting you not only because I care about you, but because please, stop, don’t, you’re making a fool of yourself.

My favorite cafe on my trip was the Elephant House where J.K Rowling famously “birthed” Harry Potter, as in she came up with the idea and often wrote Harry Potter there. I loved it not only because of that cool history, but because their americanos were fresh to death. I understand why Rowling went there so often. I went there twice and on both occasions I sat in the window seat overlooking the street. Just about every few seconds a new tourist would come up and take a picture of the building. I am probably in all of those. Just drinking my americano and staring at them.

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The Elephant House! My seat was right in the front window.

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My breakfast: an americano and toast with peanut butter, banana, and honey.

My favourite part of the trip was climbing to Arthurs Seat in Holyrood Park. Tip #1: It’s rumoured to be a hard climb, but honestly if you wear a wind jacket, shoes with grip, bring a water bottle, and wear your hair up, you’ll be golden. It will most likely rain at some point during your climb (this is the United Kingdom we’re talking about, folks) so wear a waterproof jacket or a hat. I’m not implying that I wasn’t completely out of breath when I got to the top (I was) but it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. A group of old ladies climbed it before me and one of them shouted “ALRIGHT LADIES, ARE WE ALL FEELING FIT?” And one by one they each climbed to the top. They were definitely feeling fit. If they could do it, so could I. When I got up to the very very top the first thing that I noticed, and it’s hard to miss, is the extreme winds. I have never experienced wind like that. At one point I could even lift my arms up from my side (disclaimer: I don’t have strong arms in the first place but seriously I am trying to emphasise how windy it actually was). No matter where I am and how windy it is, it will never be as windy as the tip top of Arthurs Seat. Tip #2: Why not learn German before you climb! There were about thirty people up there (it wasn’t a tourist group, I promise) and I swear they were all German. Every single one of them. So if you really want to get into this climb, I recommend taking a class in the language. Verstehst du? All in all though, Holyrood Park is incredible.

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View looking at climb to Arthur’s Seat.

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Steps to Arthur’s Seat!

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View from the top!

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Tip top of Arthur’s Seat.

While in Scotland, I took the opportunity of eating a full Scottish breakfast at a little cafe called Toast. It came with the classic beans, tomato, mushrooms, toast, and sausage, but with a twist: black pudding. The charming blend of onions, pork fat, oatmeal, and lastly, pork blood. It tasted not at all how I thought I would. It really wasn’t bad! However just knowing what was in there threw me off.

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Full Scottish breakfast.

Lastly, I visited the Edinburgh castle. My first recommendation to you is to buy tickets in advance. The que was so long that I’ve written this entire blog post on my phone while waiting. Not even joking. Not to imply that this was the longest of lines that I’ve stooded in. It wasn’t. (Vidcon 2014, man.) The entry price was steep (£16.00 and no student prices) but overall it is a good deal considering there’s so much to see that you could easily spend hours there.

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Edinburgh Castle

Because I love lists, here is a list of some observations I made:

1. I’ve honestly seen more tourists than actual Scottish people, although it’s one of the less touristy cities that I’ve visited.

2. The Scottish accent has completed all of my hopes and dreams. Everyone just seems like a character out of Harry Potter. I swear I saw Oliver Wood everywhere.

3. Everyday I heard bagpipe, whether it be someone playing them on the street or shops playing songs, and each time it reminded me of Scotland the Brave. I had it stuck in my head the entire time I was there.

4. Whenever I went to a restaurant I heard the sad and unavoidable question “are you waiting for someone?” I really don’t mind eating alone, however I didn’t like the pitiful look I got when I explained I just needed a table for one. I think other people in the restaurants felt bad for me too, judging by the looks they gave me.

5. If you’re in Edinburgh and are looking for a hostel to stay in, the Kick Ass Hostel really is kick ass! It’s clean, I never had to wait for a hot shower, and it’s in a very prime location. I definitely recommend it.

Overall thoughts: traveling alone is nice! You can do whatever you want, you don’t need to have a strict time schedule, and most of all, it’s rewarding. 🙂

I’m in France now, so I’ll be writing about that faster than you can say “Je suis désolé,  je ne parle pas Français!”

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