This past weekend I visited the beautiful city of Edinburgh, Scotland where I was fortunate to have warm, sunny weather the whole weekend.
Saturday I was up bright and early – I wanted to explore! I started my day by wandering round the Royal Mile, walked by The Elephant Cafe (one of the cafes that J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter in), checked out St. Giles Cathedral, and roamed around Grayfriar’s Kirkyard (the graveyard where J.K. Rowling got names for Harry Potter characters).
Late morning I did a tour of Mary King’s Close. A close is a 17th century narrow street of the Royal Mile with tenement houses on either side, stretching up to seven stories high. Life in a close house was not easy; people were very poor and the homes were dark and small. Excrement was thrown into the closes, so you can only imagine how they smelled. I enjoyed the tour but it was hard to imagine that people had once lived like that.
For lunch I went to a pub and ordered a Scottish classic – haggis neeps and tatties with a whisky gravy. Haggis is a mix of lamb, beef, oats, onions and spices and was actually quite tasty.
In the afternoon I went on a Harry Potter walking tour. We headed back to Grayfriar’s Kirkyard where I had earlier unsuccessfully not found any of the Harry Potter themed graves, and was led directly to the grave of Tom Riddell, McGonagall, and Potter. We also went to Victoria Street which was the inspiration for Diagon Alley, and walked by Edinburgh Castle which was the inspiration for Hogwarts.
In the evening I went on a literary pub tour. There were two actors who performed skits based on various Scottish authors and poets as we walked to three different pubs. My favorite story is about Deacon Brodie, who is the inspiration for Jekyll and Hyde (read more about Deacon Brodie here). I also met a few people on the tour so we hung out at the last pub for the evening. We ended up talking to various Scottish people who informed us that they love Americans! 😉
As you can imagine, after a Saturday of doing so much (I think my step count was over 30,000/approximately 15 miles of walking), Sunday I took a much much slower pace. I browsed Stockbridge Market, an Edinburgh farmers market where I purchased a bottle of mead – I got to sample it and it basically tastes like a dessert wine. After, I relaxed in the Prince Street Gardens while reading for a few hours.
All in all I really enjoyed my stay in Edinburgh – it had a great, relaxing, friendly vibe to it. I’d definitely like to see more of Scotland in the future, particularly the highlands and Isle of Skye.
Till next time all!