Incrediburgh – an awkward pun from a failed Marketing campaign back in 2012 – is quite fitting for this blog post. Our first taste of Scotland was the incredible city of Edinburgh – the first stop of our 5 day trip for Andrew’s 30th birthday. Our NZ friends, John & Amy, moved to this fine city earlier in the year so we arrived with some great tips of what to see and more importantly where to eat/drink!
Edinburgh is such a walkable city, with so much on offer in a condensed area. We first took to the high ground of Calton Hill which offers panoramic views of the city. The hill is home to several iconic monuments and buildings – including the unfinished National Monument which was never completed due to the lack of funds. From here you can also get great views of Salisbury Crags and Arthur’s Seat – although the clouds were hanging a bit low that morning obscuring the view. We had planned to walk up Arthur’s Seat but unfortunately the Scottish weather was not co-operating that day.
We wandered down to the Palace of Holyrood – the official residence of Her Majesty the Queen in Scotland. We peaked through the ornate gates but sadly there was no sighting of Queenie who would’ve been busy getting prepared for her birthday celebrations in Londontown.
We took the Royal Mile route into the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town – this is a busy, cobbled tourist street lined with souvenirs, whisky shops, pubs and of course amazing architecture. The strict conservation rules in Edinburgh have allowed the survival of a wealth of landmark and medieval buildings, meaning lots of business parks have had to locate to the outskirts of the city. It is great to see the character of the city has been able to stay intact and true to its history. Coming from New Zealand, which is a baby compared to some of these historical areas, I am always in awe.
Tucked away off the main street we visited The Holyrood 9a for a quick lunch and a pint and had our first taste of Haggis in the form of delicious crumbed bon bons (highly recommended). Afterwards we diverted from the Royal Mile and dipped down into the Princes Street Gardens – which were absolutely immaculate – to get our first views of the Edinburgh Castle. After doing a full circle loop we entered the castle courtyard where workers were busy constructing the seating for the upcoming Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo – an annual event showcasing musicians and performers from around the world. I had actually never heard of it – but it is a pretty big deal I’m told!
Another thing that Edinburgh is well known for is Greyfriars Bobby. Bobby was a Skye Terrier who became known in the 19th century for supposedly spending 14 years guarding the grave of his owner until he died himself in 1872. There is even a commemorative statue near the cemetery and it’s tradition to rub Bobby’s nose for good luck – how sweet!
After just one day we had already fallen in love with Scotland a little bit. Andrew has a special place in his heart for Scotland – he has been wanting to visit ever since he was young – because his Grandparents were born and bred in Glasgow. This definitely won’t be our last trip to this beautiful place! If you’re not in love yet wait until my next post on our Whisky Tasting tour of Islay…