My first trip to Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, happened in mid-April, almost 6 months after my arrival in this country. I said “first” trip because it sure wouldn’t be the last. Edinburgh is only an hour away from Glasgow by train, so it is even more convenient than going to Paris from Bordeaux. I could pretty much go every weekend and know the city as well as I know Glasgow. The visit was with friends who were actually visiting me in Glasgow. We figured we’d do a day trip in Edinburgh, the first for me and for them.
The first thing I noticed when I exited Edinburgh Waverley train station was the Scott Monument. It kind of looked like a cathedral building with a hole in the middle and I thought…this looked really cool. I had to rush to meet my friends though, so I only passed by the monument quickly and made note of its location so that I could come back later. Oh, and the sky was super blue that April day, thank God!
I stumbled upon a rehearsing choir when touring the inside of St. Giles’ Cathedral, which was located right on the Royal Mile of Edinburgh. The choir consisted of mainly elderly men and women, and I assumed it was a rehearsal as there was no formal performance taking place. But gosh. Their a cappella voices stunned me unexpectedly, and the echoing effect inside the cathedral accentuated the purity and crystallinity of the sound. It made me feel renewed within five minutes. Music indeed has a mystic healing power that enables the revival of the heart and soul.
And of course the chairs in the cathedral were adorned with the Scottish flag, harhar!
The Scottish flag wasn’t the only thing that was blue inside St. Giles. Look up and you’d see a delicate blue ceiling embellished with golden lines and stars.
A major landmark in Edinburgh that we saw was Mary King’s Close. As we weren’t allowed to take photos in the historic site of the now underground close, this model is the closest (seriously no pun intended) that I got to representing what we saw. It was also the first time that I realized that the meaning of “close” in this sense is an alleyway or a street.
The Royal Mile is another main area of attraction in Edinburgh. The two extremities of the Royal Mile, a series of streets running through the old town, house the Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace. We did head to the castle for a tour, but didn’t go to Holyrood Palace at the other end. I’ll be there for sure some other time when I go back to climb Arthur’s Seat… 😛
Man in kilt walking through the street playing the bagpipes – this is more common than you’d expect! I’m appreciating the Scottish culture more and more each day that I spend in this country. I really love the style of the kilt and bagpipe music is simply amazing. A match made in heaven? We might agree!
Here is something amusing: a sign for the “Edinburgh School of English”. I don’t know if it’s actually a school where people learn to master the English language, but the first thing that came to mind when I saw the sign was the Scottish accent that the students would acquire upon graduation. I’m sorry, Scotland, I really mean no disrespect. And I’ve learned to cope with the Scottish accent much better now, so please excuse me for still poking fun at it from time to time, heh 😉
Ah, yes, there’s Arthur’s Seat that I mentioned earlier. It is a hill in the city, near Holyrood Palace, on top of which views of Edinburgh are said to be fabulous. The hill itself is only 250 metres or so in height, so it should be a relatively leisurely stroll without too much strenuous legwork. I had planned to climb it during my first visit to Edinburgh, but as my friends only had one day to spend there and we had limited time, I decided to skip it this time and come back later for it. But wow, how magnificent it looks already in the background! As I’ve recently gotten addicted to hill-climbing, I can’t wait to go back and climb it even though it is a baby hill 😉
Yes, we did go inside the Edinburgh Castle. To be honest, having seen so many castles in Europe, I’ve become mostly desensitized to them and don’t find them so interesting anymore. I would rather spend my time on other activities…like climbing Arthur’s Seat.
Back in the city centre in the area near the Scott Monument, which I passed by in the morning, the weather was gorgeous enough for many people to be gathered in the Princes Street Gardens for a nice day out. It almost made us believe that summer was arriving.
At the end of the trip, I had to run for my train back to Glasgow, but not before stopping for a brief moment to capture the beautiful silhouette of the Scott Monument towering over the city in the fading afterglow of the sunset.
I thought I’d just include this photo that we took at the end of an escape room game. It was actually my first escape room game ever and I’m surprised it happened in Edinburgh, out of all places. My friends were all huge fans of escape rooms and though I didn’t originally want to do it (nothing against the game, I just didn’t want to play on the ONE day I was on Edinburgh), they managed to convince me to play. Well, WE WON, WOOT. After the game, we put on some of the costumes that were provided in the scenario just for the heck of. FEAR US THE INVINCIBLE!
In a nutshell, I enjoyed Edinburgh a lot. By the end of the day, I was glad that Edinburgh is so close to Glasgow because there is so much that I didn’t get a chance to fully explore. I MUST go back for Arthur’s Seat and I gotta go through the many closes that were scattered around the city, but I have so many weekends ahead of me to do that, hah! Of course I can’t keep saying that not going back and regretting when I have to leave Glasgow and haven’t revisited Edinburgh because I go hiking instead…ah, Scotland, the dilemma you give me!!