Anyway, I've decided to blog about my Edinburgh trip, short though it was, but I managed to capture some of Scotland's beautiful city and countryside.
The Edinburgh trip started off really early as we were looking at almost 1000 miles worth of road. That is, a roundtrip of going to Edinburgh, the attractions and back to Derby. We started off from Derby at about 7:30am, heading towards the M1 to go up north towards Leeds, and onwards towards the city of Edinburgh. We had directions taken from theAA.com, which provided comprehensive information for the long road up North.
The weather was not too good as it was drizzling and at some parts raining a little heavy. When it did rain a bit heavy, we had to drive a little slower. The route took us from highways to small country roads and eventually back to the main highway. We even managed to pass by the coast of Scotland just as we were entering the border of Scotland.
Half-way through, we managed to switch drivers. I didn't drive as I wasn't insured to drive the car and so, I acted as navigator for the trip. The trip up to Edinburgh took about 5hrs. By the time we reached the city, it was about 1pm. However, we got lost around the city and so, we managed to reach our hostel by 2pm.
The first thing which strikes us about Edinburgh is how hilly the city is. This means that most of the city is built on hills and thus, we need to be able to walk uphill ALOT! I would suggest that if you intend to visit the city to get some good walking shoes as the roads are mostly cobbled/concrete streets and thus, if the streets are wet, it will be slippery.
After checking in and taking a short break, we decided to visit Edinburgh castle which is just situated on a hill above our hostel. It is accessible via a flight of stairs (YES!! MORE CLIMBING!!) and the castle is situated right at the top of it. Once there, the first thing which greeted us was a huge gust of wind which nearly knocked us off our feet. The wind made our hands jerky and it is difficult to take photos.
Edinburgh castle served as a fortress and residence for the royal family of Scotland. The fortress was also the birthplace of King James I who unified England with Scotland to form the United Kingdom after the death of Queen Elizabeth I. The castle also included a memorial to all the Scottish soldiers who have fallen since the Great War (WWI) up til this day. The crown jewels of Scotland were also hosted at the castle. It had been returned 10 years ago by Queen Elizabeth II.
We stayed around the castle, taking some photos until it was close to closing time. After that, we decided to walk the streets of Edinburgh. We managed to pick up a few souvenirs and stuff. We even walked to Princes Street to look at the Christmas fair there. The fair was very busy with many stalls selling goods and food. There was mulled wines and even stalls selling some Christmas foods. I was feeling rather cold as the weather in Edinburgh was cold and windy. So, a good cup of hot chocolate was very much welcomed to warm a cold body.
We continued to walk around the city until it started to get a bit late for dinner. During the course of our walk, we got lost in the city. However, pressing on, decieded to get to Greyfriars Bobby's pub for dinner to have some pub eats. When we got there, there was no room and so, we had to go on to search for another restaurant. I regretted not taking a photo of the statue while I was there but all of us were tired and wet, looking for a place to recuperate. In the end, we found this pizza place to have dinner. We had to wait for a good 20 minutes before we had a seat. We had forgotten that Edinburgh, being a cosmopolitan city, was very active during Saturday nights and so, many places were full. Besides that, there were a few rugby matches, that night, being New Zealand played against Scotland. New Zealand won of course and the afternoon before, Australia had won their match as well.
Anyway, after dinner and getting warmed up in the restaurant, we made our way back to our hostel. Taking a hot shower and getting to sleep before having to wake up the next day at 5am (!!!!!!) for our trip to Uruqhart castle and subsequently making our way back to Derby.
I was freezing my butt off. Frankly, I don't think I was able to feel my hands and feet after all that walking in the cold... If this was autumn, I can't imagine what winter will be like.. (o___0)
Next up... Scotland's rugged countryside...