Edinburgh, haggis is only just the beginning

Trip Start Nov 30, 2012
Trip End Jan 30, 2013

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Flag of United Kingdom  , Scotland,
Thursday, December 27, 2012

Man, writing this so late now...more than two weeks back in Melbourne but what to say about this amazing city?  Well, just off the bat let me just say of all it's the most atmospheric, a combination I think of the tall gloomy buildings, that magnificent castle perched on the ancient volcano and the rainy weather =P.  It's no wonder JK Rowling got so much inspiration from this city.  Anyways, I highly recommend it, doesn't have the glamour and it's quite dreary but boy can it take you to a completely different world.

It has been quite a while so this entry's probably gonna be quite short haha but all I remember is making an epic train trip from Brussels to London then to Edinburgh, all on Christmas eve!  Just like rushing home to our family...the only problem is that we had nothing waiting for us on the other side =P.  Arrived late at night in Edinburgh, hungry as hell with a massive hike ahead of us and who would've thunk it...Maccas was closed!!!   Nooooooo....  By the time we arrived at the hostel and met up with Gary and Ai Yun, even the asian places were cleaning up and we resorted to begging for food at our hostel haha.  Nar, the guy was really cool and let us take a whole loaf of bread with nutella! mmmm....Christmas eve dinner...nutella with break =P.  Ah well, food is food and hey, we were in Edinburgh!!  Albeit deserted haha.  Spent the night at the hostel bar just playing pool and chilling out, got trolled by Chun Kiu...no surprise there haha.

The next day we left to go on our grand hike...and grand it was!  Made sure to scope out some places for food (it was Christmas day after all) and made our epic hike down the Royal Mile towards Arthurs Seat.  That I think was when I started to fall in love with the city...just so different to what we had seen before and amazing how uniform everything was!  All these dark looking cobblestones, and the towering buildings with their weird patch work of stones all down the Royal Mile.  Just fitted so nicely in creating this brooding dark atmosphere...but it was a good kind of brooding, if you can imagine it....like a dark novel ;).  Anyways, we went all the way down to the end of the Royal Mile, of course stopping at any tourist shop that was open and we finally found it!  The Scottish Parliament!!  No just kidding...Holyrood!  No no no...the bottom of Arthurs Seat!!  haha so begins our long slippery muddy trip up the ancient volcano.  The hike could've been better (ie: I could've been fitter haha) but the views!  My goodness and the fact that the low winter sun (ie: it was getting really late) may such amazing photos.  I'm sure you'll approve.  It was windy as hell too and at the top you could almost get blown over, I sure as hell couldn't stand up without support haha but I think we were all very glad we made it. 

Hiked our way back down (surprisingly easier) to our scoped out Chinese restaurant and prepared ourselves for an amazing Christmas meal only to find!  Shock horror...that the food was cold and kinda bad and the service was horrible...well maybe not such shock horror cos it was run by mainlanders XD haha, ah wells, normally I think I could've forgiven it but it was Christmas dinner! =(  Needless to say we weren't very satisfied and decided to transform our 'supper' of microwavable meals and random food can snacks into the main thing.  Not the best either but we had a lot of fun.  Chilled out by playing big 2 in the potentially awkward making out room and Brian even found a guitar to impress us all by =P.  Anyways, of all Christmas's it was pretty cool I must admit, no presents or giant fireplaces or snow BUT we were together having a good time and in an awesome hostel filled with bean bags and having tasty tasty Belgian chocolate in Edinburgh!  So I think it was pretty special =) 

Next day we made our way to our first walking tour!!  And we were late haha so we power walked pretty much only to discover that the tour would be waiting for 15mins anyways for latecomers XD.  Ah wells, our tour guide, Kiel was a very cool Aussie doing professional guides for a while now so we were in good hands.  Very informative about the places, from the pinning of thieves ears on the mercat cross, to JK Rowling stealing names from a nearby graveyard, to Irn bru outselling coke and the overly descriptive talk on Haggis!   Ooooh and learning about the heart of Midlothian and also spitting in it for good luck...serious!  Oooh and Greyfriars Bobby!   Ooh and all the Scottish writers!!  It was all very cool and we got to see a lot of the city! =D  Of course there was tipping at the end but it was worth it and to top it off we got to try haggis!  Mmmm...haggis....seriously, don't be put off by what's IN it =P, just go and TRY it!!  It's quite nice...like sausages/meat pie with a peppery flavour.  I don't know what the big scary thing about it was, it's so NICE!  I would have another in a heartbeat =).   Finished off that day with a nice trip to the circus haha, I know right, and the Moscow circus at that.  Hiked all the way to Leith too just to see it but I actually enjoyed myself quite a bit despite getting pulled up for some embarrassing moments involving me, my sister and a hula hoop.  Never making eye contact with a clown ever again.  The acrobatics was amazing though and despite the bad stage faces the skill was there.

Spent the last day in Edinburgh checking out the national scottish museum and I must say it was a lot bigger and detailed that I thought!  So much to see, like the science, history, art and natural history museums all jumbled into one.  Checked out the Scottish history side and the science technology (Dolly the sheep!!) but that was it and I spent almost 3 hours there!  Ah wells definitely worth the visit, surprising amount of innovations from this little country and funny that Edinburgh considered itself the Athens of the north once...apparently that's why they tried to build the Parthenon copy but then they ran out of money =(.  BUT we have a lot to thank from the Scottish Enlightenment =).  Finished off the day with some more Scottish food...Haggis and fish and chips at the frankenstein bar!  Before heading up the Royal Mile to see Edinburgh castle, very nice and imposing but expensive.  Was cool we got to hear the canon fire though!

And that was it, took the train back to London that night.  But all in all, despite the angry youths that peppered the city here and there, Edinburgh was a really cool place to see.  Amazing volcanic sights within a 20 minute walk from the city centre, awesome foods to try out (oooh had my first Whiskey there too! Smokey!), such fantasy inspiring architecture and a rich and bloody history full of wars and fighting!...then engineering innovation!  I don't think you can ask for much more in a city right? ;)

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