samster's adventures

An adventurous girl cooks, eats and explores in Europe.

A weekend in Edinburgh

We arrived rather late  on Friday and after a few busy days we were not up for making it out. A short ride in from the airport to city centre, and we were at our hotel, Thistle Hotel’s King James. We settled into bed planning an early morning on a big day.

Saturday we started off with a city walking tour, hitting all the main spots and getting a bit of Scottish history, as well as some Harry Potter facts. After the tour we walked around a bit more, stopped into some shops and got sandwiches at Oink Hog Roast. We wandered around town taking the scenic route to Arthur’s Seat.

Beautiful views

Not sure what to expect from the hike in terms of time or difficulty, we started our journey up. It was about two hours total from start to end. There were a few steep and slippery parts, but given our lovely weather, the walk was easy. It was more than worth it once you reached the top! The views were incredible. On our way back to town we took a quick peek at the Queen’s summer home in Edinburgh. We did not go in for the tour, I decided it was only essential if I could see Kate Middleton’s closet on the grounds but Marcus assured me it would not be part of the tour.  Judging by  the outside, I could spend a few weeks there every summer.

We stopped for a well deserved beer in a bar we’d passed on the way out, Three sister’s bar.  We noticed it because of the nice outdoor space in front, full of picnic tables, beer pong tables, foosball and a big bus that must’ve served some purpose (it did not serve pizza like the big blue bus, but they did have pizza at their grill). Seeing a few people out enjoying the sun on our walk by, we decided it would be a nice stop. Little did we know about 10 stag parties had the same thought since we walked by. I’d never seen so many ridiculous outfits in one public bar outside of Halloween! After one drink, we decided to move somewhere we were not likely to get sprayed with red hair dye.

Gorgeous buildings mixed with nature

From here we made it back down to the grass market and popped into the smallest pub in Scotland. For anyone as obsessed with small stuff as me, it is a bit of a fake out. It’s attached to and really part of the large pub next door. That said, it is a cute room with a cool feel and a very friendly bartender when we went. After enjoying some whiskeys, I decided to take a nap and trust the boys not to cause too much ruckus.

I met them shortly at the Jolly Judge, a small pub in one of the many closes, the small offshoots from the main streets forming courtyards- enclosures, with the nice buildings and houses around them. They had met an English couple they began to chat with and we had a few drinks before heading off to dinner. We stopped off at another pub that was thankfully still serving food as it was getting late, The Castle Arms. We ate, drank and caught up before we had to get to bed.View from the Castle

Sunday was another early morning, off to Edinburgh castle. We had breakfast and began to make our way out. The grounds were beautiful with so much to see. The castle was gorgeous, but the views may have been even better than the interior. Built on a cliff overlooking the city and the water, you could stare out all day at the gorgeous scene below you.

From the castle, we did a bit of shopping, popped in to Saint Giles Church at the mercat (the word for market, as our tour guide pointed out and told us not to confuse with meerkat. They do sound similar and now I can’t help but think of meerkats each time I hear the word).

Checking out the phone booths

We walked out towards New Town, through a gorgeous park full of people enjoying the awfully rare sun and hot weather. We made it out to a market we spotted from above and checked out the food and craft selection. With time to kill, we sat at one of the bars on a small street nearby and had some drinks in the sun. Lucky for us we caught a pretty great street performer, singing and playing guitar. It was the first rendition of Sesame Street’s  theme song I’d heard from a guitarist, specially chosen for a young boy dancing up a storm while he played. It is also the first I’d heard someone switch from Eminem to Call Me Maybe to Fresh Prince theme song and everywhere in between (yes, he did do it successfully).

It was finally time to head to the airport and I was not ready to leave. I could’ve spent much more time in this gorgeous city. Luckily its only a 50 minute flight, so a return trip may be in my future!

Lots of old mixed with new

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This entry was posted on September 24, 2013 by in Food, Playing Tourist, Travel, Travel Tips and tagged , , , .

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