One of my first trips as an adult took place at a very cold but still beautiful city. This place is known as Edinburgh and is the proud capital of Scotland. My plan was simple, I saved up some money, I booked a ticket(direct flights from all EU countries, USA, Qatar and UAE), I packed a bag with warm clothes and I headed to Edinburgh in order to spend as much time as it was possible and why not to get a job. I was very scary at this moment, cause traveling from a Meditterean country to a north country might be a huge challenge, as it was. In my mind, I didn’t expect to find Edinburgh so lovely, beautiful and friendly. I didn’t expect to be so green and eco-friendly and most important I didn’t expect to have so amazing time there. By arriving at the airport, there is a specific bus called “AirLink” and runs by one of the main transportation companies of Edinburgh.
I have to inform you that during my first visit to Scotland I was speaking a little bit of English although I was understanding perfectly, so you can imagine that was difficult for them to understand me and sometimes it was difficult for me to understand the Scottish accent. But the bus driver was patient and very helpful in order to ask him all these nonsense and difficult to understand questions. My mind was blowing, no one was so friendly to me while I was traveling aboard and couldn’t communicate with. The place that I was going to stay was a friend’s flat. She was going to study at Herriot Watt University and she invited me to stay as long as I wanted. She arrived a day sooner than me and she spends her night at a hotel. She was waiting for me at the final stop of “AirLink” in order to pick me up. So before to go to the flat, we had to visit the Real Estate Agency to take the flat’s key. After an hour walking around ,we were totally lost and with a map at our hands, we were trying to find our way. Until the moment that a stranger came to us and ask us if we need any help. That was my second shock of the day. We told her that we are trying to find our way to the Real Estate Agency and she literally grabbed our hands and took us to the right place! After a lot of application forms and briefing for the flat, we finally get the key and it was time to go home.
The feeling that grows inside you
I have never been in a place like Edinburgh before. I haven’t felt so proud to be in such historical country, even if I come from Greece. Scotland is a country that can easily surprise you by its history, people and structure. Separated into 15 regions , this country can make you feel that you travel through the time, that you are part of Hobbit’s clan or to feel the presence of William Wallace(known by the movie “Braveheart”). Motherland of Whisky, bagpipes and haggis. Birthplace of Dolly(the first mammal cloned from an adult somatic cell), Alexander Fleming, Alexander Graham Bell, James Watt and J.K.Rowling, Scotland will always be famous and known for plenty of reasons. I won’t analyze more the Scottish history, other websites or blogs can do that better than me, but by these lines, I try to make you understand not only the important role that Scotland played to our life during the last centuries, but also to make you understand why Scottish people are so proud of them nation and why I am so respectful to a country like Scotland.
My first walk
I was living in Leith, an area located NE from the Centre of Edinburgh. It is the main port of Edinburgh and the largest enclosed deepwater port in Scotland.Leith walk is one the
largest streets of Edinburgh and connects Leith with the center of Edinburgh (around 20′ by walk, 5′ to 9′ by bus). My first walk began at 17:00 and it was already dark. I was more
scared and cold than feeling fun. Me and my friend we decided to walk instead to take a bus in order to explore the streets and to discover shops, bars-pubs, restaurants and supermarkets. As we saw, the Leith Walk was a huge supermarket. Grocery shops,.butcher shops, clothes stores, restaurants, pizzerias, cafe-bars and plenty of other businesses are located on a street and the funniest part is that almost all of these delightful places have foreign owners.. Leith is one of the most multicultural places and strange area of Edinburgh. You can find, Indian, Mexican, Italian, Turkish, Spanish, even a Greek sandwich shop.
By arriving at Princess Street, the main and busiest streets of Edinburgh, I saw all these lights, all these people walking by and I felt like I was in a Luna Park. My friend as she had visits Edinburgh before, she took me for a quick walk to the most “must visit” places of Edinburgh.
Must Visit in Edinburgh
1) Scott Monument
The Scott Monument was built by public subscription in the 1840s to commemorate Sir Walter Scott, one of Scotland’s greatest novelists. Tickets cost £3, for both adults and children. There are no concessions.
2) Royal Scottish Academy
The RSA runs a year-round program of exhibitions, artist opportunities and related educational talks and events which support artists at all stages of their careers. The Academy’s distinguished history is reflected in its extensive collections and archives and
has been awarded Recognized Collection status by Museums Galleries Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Government for being a collection of National Significance to Scotland.
3) Scottish National Gallery
The Scottish National Gallery is in the heart of Edinburgh and houses one of the best collections of fine art in the world.Admission is free. A charge may be made for special exhibitions.
4) Museum on the Mound
Opened in 2006, this fascinating museum takes a fresh look at money – and much, much more. Art & design, technology, crime, trade and security – all feature in the story of money. It is open throughout the year and admission is FREE.
5) The Writers’ Museum
The Writers’ Museum celebrates the lives of three giants of Scottish Literature – Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson. Their stories are told through personal objects, portraits, manuscripts and first editions. Admission is free, but donations are welcome.
6) Edinburgh Castle
Standing on its great rock, Edinburgh castle dominates Scotland’s capital. Great events have taken place within its wall and it has witnessed many sieges. To control the castle was to hold the keys to the kingdom.
Adult(16 – 59 yrs) – £16.50,
Child (5 – 15 yrs) – £9.90,
Concession(60 yrs+ and unemployed) – £13.20.
Children under 5 years old go free.
7) Museum of Childhood
The Museum of Childhood has a place in the hearts of millions. The first museum in the world dedicated to the history of childhood, it displays toys and games from across the generations. The Museum also explores other aspects of growing up, from schooldays and clubs to clothing, health and holidays. Admission is free, but donations are welcome.
8) National Museum of Scotland
Our diverse collections will take you on a journey of discovery through the history of Scotland and around the world, taking in the wonders of nature, art, design and fashion and science and technology – all under one roof. Free entrance, donations welcome.
9) Palace of Holyroodhouse
The Queen is in residence at the Palace of Holyroodhouse during Holyrood week, which usually takes place from the end of June to the beginning of July. Then the Scottish variant of the Royal Standard of the United Kingdom is flown, and the Royal Company of Archers forms Her Majesty’s ceremonial bodyguard.
Adult – £12.00
Over 60/Student(with valid ID) – £11.00
Family (2 adults, 3 under 17s) – £31.20 Under 17/Disabled – £7.20 Under 5 – Free
10) The Elephant House
Opened in 1995,The Elephant House has established itself as one of the best tea and coffee houses in Edinburgh. Made famous as the place of inspiration to writers such as J.K. Rowling, who sat writing much of her early novels in the back room overlooking Edinburgh Castle. J.K. Rowling wrote her first and second Harry Potter books at “The Elephant House”.