Remembering Edinburgh

Part 1 of 2 

Tania, my friend from Yorkshire (now), sent me a message last week and told me about her nth trip to Edinburgh with her husband, Tristan, and her family who paid her a visit for the summer. I suddenly remembered Edinburgh and our trip there right after the new year of last year… Since I haven’t written a story about this particular trip, here’s what I remember so far…

I remember how funny it was when I took the bus from Birmingham in the evening and arrived in Halifax at almost midnight. Tris and Tan called me almost every 30 minutes during my remaining 2 hours on the bus to check where I was and how I was getting along. Such a sweet couple!

I remember how I felt so much at home upon arriving at their doorstep (too bad they’re selling the house now). Theirs was my second home in England. I even told Tania that I could stay at home the whole day without feeling bored. The house has some kind of a hex which made me relaxed and happy to be just at home.

I remember how, on the train from Leeds to Edinburgh, we had to stay awake during the first hour to entertain an English lady who kept on asking us questions. I really wanted to get some sleep since we woke up early that morning to catch the train but then, it wasn’t that frequent that I get asked by someone from that land. It would always be me who would do the asking.

I remember how I fell in love with Edinburgh the moment I saw it…

And I remember these…

Tan and I arrived in Edinburgh around 8 a.m. and headed straight to the Visitors’ Information Center to purchase a pass of those get-on-get-off-at-your-own-leisure open-top busses. These busses provide a great way to explore the city with their multi-language information facility.

Then we went to Charlotte Square, where the youth hostel is located. Like the backpackers, since we opted to spend our time exploring the city and the highlands, we decided to get a cheap accommodation and spend the money somewhere else. The hostel was fairly clean and well-equipped, although I never took a risk in walking down the hallways alone because they resembled those old, old buildings which looked hunted. Furthermore, I didn’t want to spoil my trip to this really lovely city.

After checking-in and getting a short orientation about the hostel, we went to Waverley Bridge, one of the few main stops of the busses. A few minutes later, we were off to Princes Street, where the main shopping stores are located, and then the huge West Princes Street Gardens. We turned left to Lothian Street and headed to the back of the Edinburgh Castle, where we got off and took the Edinburgh Castle Wynd Steps to get to the Royal Mile. Royal Mile is the city’s famous cobbled street where historical buildings, castles, museums, souvenir shops, and other buildings of interest sit.

Royal Mile – So Lovely! 🙂

Exploring the Royal Mile on foot is the best way to appreciate the different attractions in the area. We visited the Outlook Tower, the Camera Obscura, the Tartan Weaving Mill, the Castle Esplanade, the Old Distillery Close, and the small souvenir shops.

Tania On Top Of Camera Obscura

Part of our city tour was the Vaults Tour. So, we walked to Mercat Cross, the tour’s meeting place, a few minutes before the tour started. Vaults tour is a visit to the 18th century vaults beneath the South Bridge, the highway built to link the city’s Old Town’s High Street with the University buildings on the south side of the city. As it was narrated…

“A great bridge was built spanning a deep valley to the south of the Royal Mile. Under its 19 enormous arches, in a catacomb of underground chambers, a community begins to thrive. Trades, first legal and then illicit, flourish – and during these hard times there was that cannot be bought or sold for a purse of gold!”

The tour was well-organized and our tour guide had met our expectations. He wasn’t boring, he knew the historical facts very well, and he valued audience participation. We finished the tour at Blair Street, took a quick Italian dinner, went to the nearest coffee shop (what else, but Starbucks! 🙂 ), and rested for some hours.

We needed to rest before we went to another tour, which was the Murder and Mystery Tour. Ghost tours aren’t scarce in this part of the world because of the number of sufferings and murders it had witnessed. I liked the way the stories were narrated to us but I didn’t enjoy much of this tour maybe because we moved a lot from one place to another and I was already tired from the activities we had in the morning.

That was our last activity during our first day in Edinburgh. My bed that night, no matter how inexpensive, felt like the most comfortable bed in the whole world… 🙂

Related Posts and Photos: (1) A Day in the Scottish Highlands (2) The Scotts and the Highlands (2006) (3) Edinburgh and the Highlands

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4 Comments »

  1. […] Posts: (1) Remembering Edinburgh (2) The Scotts and the Highlands (2006)Photos: Edinburgh and the […]

  2. Tania said

    it’s amazing how you remember this all Pam. i really had a good time in Edinburgh – maybe next time, we can go for another city break – I’m thinking about Prague? haha!

  3. Tania said

    it’s amazing how you remember this all Pam. i really had a good time in Edinburgh – maybe next time, we can go for another city break – I’m thinking about Prague?

  4. pamalfaro said

    ON TANIA: 🙂 I do remember almost all of my travels… That’s how much I love travelling, I guess… Prague must be really beautiful Tan! You know how much I love places with culture! I hope you can still wait until next year. 🙂

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