The minute I stepped off the plane in Edinburgh, I knew this was going to be a special place for many reasons. Most important for me, however, was the skyline. Have any of you seen this beauty?!
Edinburgh is split through the middle by rail track that used to be part of a river—on either side sits the Old Town, filled with old architectural beauties from the medieval periods, to the New Town, a more modern version of what’s found on the other side. The nobles and royal families used to live in the Old Town—all throughout the city are these small little tunnels and alley-sized pathways that were for servant use only. The wealthier families were the only ones that were allowed to walk proudly through its wide streets. Unsurprisingly, both the Old and New Towns were named as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Originally, there was a body of water running in between the two towns. “Body of water” may be an all-encompassing term; it was where everyone would dump their waste, so you can imagine how smelly this town would’ve been. Or not, since we don’t have large bodies of water containing a city’s worth of waste anymore.
After just walking around town for a bit, taking in all of the medieval structures of the Old Town, we headed off on a hunt for magnificent views of the city. In order to see amazing bird’s-eye views of Edinburgh, there are two places you should know: the National Monument of Scotland on Canton Hill and Arthur’s Seat.
First up, the National Monument of Scotland.
Canton Hill area has almost a Central Park feel about it. Friends gather here to lunch on the green lawn, lovers just hang out between the columns of the monument, and runners do a complete circuit around the entire park. We sat there for about an hour, chatting, while this one ambitious runner did the circuit almost 10 times.
I’m going to be straight with you… it was hard climbing onto the monument. As two girls at 5’4″, we had to locate this ROCK to use as a footstep. Coming down was no joke either. Luckily, we had the help of a few lovely Brazilian men who were chatting near the step to escort us down! Unfortunately, my friend was stuck in this position long enough for me to take a few embarrassing photos before they noticed we were struggling.
Finally, we got back up and decided to tackle our next bird’s-eye view: Arthur’s Seat. Arthur’s Seat is more of a hike, sitting at 251 meters overlooking the heart of Edinburgh. Armed with two bottles of cider each, we climbed and were made aware of how unfit we were to even walk up a hill. It was another 30 minutes before we realized that we were climbing the wrong mountain. We debated for a bit—more like 2 minutes as we looked over at how much farther we’d have to climb for the real peak—and decided to just keep going.
When we reached the top, we found a cute little place to nestle in and have a few drinks. From the various bottles loitering around, it looks like we weren’t the only ones who thought to do this!
Can you find me in this photo?
How about this one?
We left regretfully, forced by our bladders, taking one last glance at the mountain before walking as fast as we could to the nearest restrooms.
To top off such a relaxing, freshening day, I treated myself to Oink for dinner that night. This day was probably one of my favorites while in the city—not only was the weather gorgeous, but I had great company, a brilliant dinner, and a few drinks as well.