On my second day in Scotland, we woke up bright and early, packed our bags, and hopped on the late morning train from Glasgow to Edinburgh. I was really looking forward to Edinburgh and knew I couldn’t miss it if I was only a train ride away. Most of my friends had already gone and bragged my ear off about how much fun they had, so it was my turn.
When we got off the train we immediately headed to Arthur’s Seat, a group of mountains in Edinburgh that boast an amazing view of the city. It was a little chilly out, mostly due to the wind, but the sun was shining and it was a clear day overall. The hike up probably took 45 minutes, I think. It was very steep and very windy and I had to stop to catch my breath a few times, but then again my nose was a little plugged so it was useless for breathing and my mouth was full of my hair which blew in my face, so that didn’t help. I think for a while Jacob didn’t know if I was going to make it. Once we did get to the top the view was worth every steep step and every stop. You could see the entire city for miles. At the foot of the mountains is one of the Queen’s main residences which I thought was pretty cool. It was still relatively early in the day so it wasn’t too busy, which was great. We stopped for some coffee, took some pictures and enjoyed the view for nearly an hour before heading down. I discussed how great it would be if there was a zipline down to the bottom and how it would boost tourism and be fun and help tired people like me out. Unfortunately there is no such option.
There appeared to be another trail down, as going against the traffic up might be a little difficult, so we opted for the other trail. This option was a literal walk in the park. So, for anyone every hoping to do Arthur’s Seat, find this option first and save your legs.
Our next stop was Calton Hill, which is located in central Edinburgh. The hill has a number of monuments atop it including the National Monument (which looks similar to Greek Columns), the Nelson Monument, the Dugald Stewart Monument and the Old Observatory. We took some pictures, enjoyed some other great city views and wandered around looking at the monuments. There also was a very small art museum that was open on the hill, and once again, museums in Scotland are free so why not? We went inside and saw 3 pictures of nothing on the wall and then a big piece of slate. That’s it. We don’t understand modern art. At all.
From there we headed to the Edinburgh Castle, which I do not have a single picture of because my poor hands were too cold, and a lot of the castle doesn’t allow photography. We spent a few hours touring the Castle, and even experienced the 1pm canon and some gun demonstrations. I think my favourite part was either the canon or the crown jewels which are held in one of the many museums in the Castle. I also enjoyed the great room which held many of the weapons and armour used in battles. The whole room was lined with different swords and stakes and knives which made up the decorations in the room. There was so many that it was kind of mind boggling to think that this was only a very very very small portion of the weapons that would have been used.
After spending a few hours checking out all the crooks and crannies of the castle we headed down to find some food. We ended up coming across a little food market, which had some great local food options, so we decided we’d grab something and enjoy it on a nearby bench. My food of choice was Asian street food, udon specifically, and I think Jacob got samosas and little donut bites.
It was also Guy Fawkes day, which meant there would be fireworks all over town, so we decided we might as well stay for that. That also meant we still had quite a few hours to kill. We decided to head over to the Science Museum which was phenomenal. It would have been easy to spend the entire day in there, but I’m glad I saw the rest of Edinburgh first. They kicked us out of the museum when it was closing time, but we still had about 2 hours until the fireworks, so we headed to a little restaurant/cafe for some food and warmth.
When it was time to go see the fireworks we decided the two best spots in town would be Arthur’s Seat or Calton Hill, and since Calton Hill was much less than half the effort and was lit up, we headed there. Clearly the rest of Edinburgh had the same idea because there was easily a thousand people up there. There wasn’t a single huge fireworks display anywhere, but there were small sets of fireworks going on all around the city which was really cool to see. When it seemed that everything was winding down we decided to head back to the train station and venture back to Glasgow.
Overall, it was an amazing day and I would go back to Edinburgh in a heartbeat. Definitely one of my favourite UK cities thus far (which isn’t saying much).