Edinburgh was my 9th trip to a foreign country this year. It's kind of insane, especially for a girl who only crossed the borders three times in the first fifteen years of her life! Once to the Bordeaux region with my parents and sister, one day in Brugges, and a short trip to Paris with my class in high school. That's it. When I was a kid, my father always said (it's probably still his motto): "There is no better place on earth than home." Well dad, you are right, but that doesn't mean I want to be there 365 days of the year. ;) Also, during college I discovered that it is very well possible to feel at home miles away from everything you know and love. I experienced it in Flagstaff, in Washington DC, in Marbella, and also in random places I've never visited before, such as Edinburgh, where the people are so kind, where the streets look like Diagon alley and its castle resembles Hogwarts (+ the stadium next to it looks kind of like a place where they play quidditch, ammiright?!). Gosh this was one hell of a sentence. You're still with me?
Anyhow, it's not surprising that Edinburgh feels like one big Harry Potter world, since J.K. Rowling wrote her first book here. Aside from Harry Potter nerdiness, there was another reason why I was so excited to go to Edinburgh. Since last year, I have been watching Outlander, a series about a time traveler in Scotland. I have fallen in love with the kilts, the pipe bags, and the accent. When I walked out the airport and bought a bus ticket, I couldn't help myself from smiling when the man handed me my change and told me to have a good day in that wonderful tongue of theirs. Oh how I love the Scottish!
I visited Edinburgh together with my two good friends and former college roommates Marloes and Laura. It had been a while since I spent some time with them. I didn't realize how much I missed these two amazing girls until we were reunited again. We talked a lot and laughed a lot, spotted old ugly men in Kilts and younger good looking lads in dark restaurants, we climbed Arthur's seat (accidentally via the unofficial path which was not the smartest thing), nightmares almost came true when we tried to get down again, we visited 'underground' closes, went restaurant hunting and spent a lovely afternoon in the botanical garden. The days went by way too fast and I miss my girls already so much. Scroll down for a list of our favorite things to do, see, and eat/drink. I hope you enjoy the (many, many) photos!
The Real Mary King's Close - underground tour through Edinburgh's old closes
Royal Botanic Garden - free and in a wonderful green part of the city
Arthur's seat - one of the seven hills of Edinburgh, amazing views from the top (wear good shoes)
Greyfriars Kirkyard - look for the Thomas Riddle tombstone, of which its name is said to have been the inspiration for J.K. Rowling's Voldemort character.
The National Museum of Scotland - amazing architecture and interesting artifacts
Stockbridge - what Shoreditch is to London is Stockbridge to Edinburgh, though much more quiet and low key. On Sunday you'll find a wonderful farmers market across the street from I.J. Mellis Cheesemonger.
Royal Circus - have a look at the Georgian mansions in these beautiful crescents.
Coffee + pastry: Brew Lab Coffee / Fortitude Coffee
Drinks: Whiski Rooms
Lunch or Dinner: Under the Stairs / Brandon's of Canonmills
Shop: I.J. Mellis Cheesemonger
Ice cream: Mary's Milk Bar
PS: Thank you Silke, who sent me an extensive to do/see/eat list a few weeks before we departed. It was so sweet of you and I wish we had was more time to explore your wonderful options.