Edinburgh, the one I fell in love with

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View to Edinburgh from Calton Hill

I arrived yesterday from Edinburgh, and yet it seems like a dream. Looking back, it looks like I wasn’t there yesterday or last weekend, but in a faraway past. Perhaps because going to Edinburgh was much more than traveling in space; it was traveling in time. I’d say it was precisely this: a trip to the Past, a magical trick that took me to a different era.

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Edinburgh

I always wanted to go to Scotland, and had a strange fascination for its History and culture. Even though I only had stereotypical images in my head – the ginger scotsman wearing a kilt and playing its bagpipe, whisky and gin drinkers, green Nessie in a big, big lake -, I knew it was a great beautiful country, full of history. However, I was appalled, seriously in shock, with the beauty I found from the moment I got off the train at Waverley station. Clouds were populating the sky, and the atmosphere was dark, Gods were threatening us with rain… but that was probably what mortified me. It was the perfect environment. Against a medieval landscape, any vestiges of the passage of time had disappeared. That was Edinburgh, there, for me to explore, for me to imagine, for me to live in. Even if only for a few days.

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Castle Rock from Princes Garden

It’s only unfair to use my photos to try to give you a taste of how Edinburgh actually felt. You do need to experience it. No words or images can do that for you. All I can do with all my humbleness is to share how much I loved it, how much I want to go back, and how much you should definitely go if you haven’t yet.

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Celtic Cross

Edinburgh has it all: a cosmopolitan city, full of history and amazing architecture, built in seven hills has got lots of green spaces, gorgeous, spooky victorian cemeteries and, still, the ocean is just right there. I did visit a probably too big amount of cemeteries, but we ended up in one eventually, which is not hard in Edinburgh.

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View on the way to Arthur’s Seat

It was also hard to select the photographs. Edinburgh is extremely photogenic. But not only the city. We went on a tour to the Loch Ness, and due to the awesomeness of that tour – the Scottish highlands are a breath taking view – I am going to reserve it for another post.

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View to Waverley Station and Scott’s Monument

The greatness of Edinburgh castle is something you need to live for yourself. It looks like it was carved in the rock, deserving the name Castle Rock. It is incredibly majestic. From there we have amazing views to the city, for the west and for east, where you can see the blue sea caressing the coast.

Streets of Edinburgh
On the way to Castle Rock
Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh View
West Side View
Arthur's Seat
View to the Arthur’s Seat from Castle Rock

Inside the castle, you find yourself in a small medieval village.

Edinburgh Castle
Inside the castle
Edinburgh Castle
View inside the castle
Edinburgh Castle
Inside the Castle
Edinburgh Castle
View to Old Town of Edinburgh

Unfortunately it started to rain. that did not stop us, and we went next to Greyfriars Cemetery. Harry Potter fans might know this is where Tom Riddle is buried. That was not the reason that drove me there, but the gothic beauty of the cemetery.

Greyfriars Cemitery
Entrance to Greyfriars
Greyfriars Cemitery
Inside Greyfriars Cemitery
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Greyfriars Graves
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Greyfriars Grave Detail
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View to Castle Rock from Greyfriars
Greyfriars
Some more graves

The rain was giving us the right ambience for spooky photos, but it is always annoying to hold your umbrella while trying to take photos and keep your camera dry. We needed a bit of luck. And where do you get luck in Edinburgh? You need to rub Greyfriars Bobby’s nose. Legend has it that Bobby continue to guard is human in Greyfriars cemetery even after his death. This is just heart breaking.

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Greyfriars Bobby

Not that I believe in luck, but all I know is that we rubbed Bobby’s nose and the sun came out. And believe me, we were REALLY lucky with everything for the rest of the trip.

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The Royal Mile
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Victoria’s Street
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Streets of Edinburgh

And, obviously, as a Harry Potter fan myself, I had to go have coffee at the very same cafe where J.K. Rowling started to write the books that would shape an entire generation of muggles expecting for their letters of admission to Hogwarts.

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The Elephant Cafe

The next day we were prepared for the big climb up to Arthur’s Seat. I confess I was a bit nervous about this. The extinct volcano seemed much higher that what I had imagined, but I had planned everything. Since I am the least athletic person I know, I knew there was the easy way, the way every single article I read online advised us to go. In my head, I only knew I didn’t want to go on the dangerous, hard, steep side of the mountain. Unfortunately, we ended up precisely doing that. I was breathless, I thought the wind was going to make me fall over and just die, because that’s how dramatic I am. But the tears I wanted to cry were not of fear of of pure amazement. The views were totally worth it.

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View to the Arthur’s Seat from another cemitery
Arthur's Seat
On the way to Arthur’s Seat
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Views
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View from the top of Arthur’s Seat
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Arthur’s Seat
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On the way down from Arthur’s Seat
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Duckies having fun
holyrood park
View from the bottom to the ruins of a chapel

I could go on and on of how the hiking is amazing. It was only hard because we did the difficult side of the mountain. I literally had to use my hands to reach the top, and for five minutes panic was raging inside me on how to get down. But everything went away with the spectacular view. How small we are, my friends.

Back down to the city, we went up another hill, Calton Hill.

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View to the city from Calton Hill
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Canongate

Regarding Museums, we only visited the National Gallery of Scotland, which I recommend if you admire the great masters such as Raphael, Titian, Da Vinci and great landscapers as John Constable or William McTaggart. After that we also visited The Writer’s Museum, dedicated to great Scottish writers. Both were free.

Princes Gardens is another great green space to visit.

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Princes Garden
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The Writers’ Museum

Another small magic place you need to visit is Deans Village.

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Deans Bridge

And please do spend some time in Old Town.

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St. Giles Cathedral Detail
Streets of Edinburgh
Entrance to Castle Rock from Old Town

I will definitely go back to Scotland one day, there is so much more I want to see. I fell in love with Edinburgh and I could even imagine myself moving there. But, well, let’s just let the river flow for now 🙂

Read about my experience in Scottish Highlands and Loch Ness here.

Love,

Nic

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