A Scottish Streak: Edinburgh

Sunday, February 15, 2015

OAfter a dip into Dublin, we flew to the UK for a Scottish Christmas in Edinburgh.

Pros: Edinburgh was aesthetically stunning and I bought the warmest wool scarf there
Cons: Nearly everything "touristy" was closed for five days straight and the grey sleet was nonstop

BW, brother TheHipster and I all agreed that we wish we would've planned our whole vacation just for Edinburgh. We felt we didn't give it enough time, especially with things being closed between holidays and a museum workers' strike. We were enchanted by the grandiose architecture and ghostly little passageways and gobs of artsy/foodie spots.


On Christmas Eve, there were a number of fairs/markets open in city squares, but the weather was positively prohibitive. Those people on ice skates below are a hearty bunch; it was literally raining ice needles in the photo. About 5 minutes later, everyone headed for shelter.


We followed the Royal Mile up to Edinburgh Castle on two different days, stopping to poke in shops and churches and things on the way. It's a shame we couldn't actually get into the castle, but we got some good shots of the outside.



One of the few attractions that had open doors was the Scotch Whisky  Experience, so we partook in that. To my surprise, I (sort of) enjoyed a smoky sample from the peat bogs of Scotland.



We spent Christmas Day in a beautiful apartment rental; luckily, we'd raided Marks and Spencers the day before along with everyone other person in central Edinburgh. The place was a war zone, with shelves gone bare and food trampled on the floor and people pushing to get the last mince pie. Just nuts! (Pardon the pun.) But we made it out with sausage rolls and salmon and other goodies.



Speaking of food, a restaurant in Edinburgh that we LOVED was The Dogs. An old, high-ceilinged flat filled with mismatched antique furniture, it served amazing gourmet food for not a lot of money. And it was a welcome find after the night prior, where we went to an Asian restaurant and ordered the special hot pot menu that all of the Asian people around us were eating. The waiter wouldn't let us have it because he said, "you wouldn't like it. Too Asian." What?? But it was the only place open in the neighborhood so we didn't argue.



In a way, it was rather lovely just having time to walk about and take panoramic pictures rather than rushing from tourist site to site.


We saw a home where Scottish poet Robert Burns (yes, of the infamous Burns Night) lived. And we met a friend who took a train in from her family's village to show us some of the historical pubs downtown.



And then we hopped a bus for... Glasgow!


18 comments

  1. Many years ago we visited Edinburgh when the Tattoo was on. The Tattoo happens at Edinburgh Castle which made it all the more stunning.

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  2. Wow, what a stunning city! A friend of mine used to live in Glasgow, but she preferred Edinburgh. One of my biggest regrets was not going over to visit her there when I had the chance, and your pictures are really confirming that regret. ;)

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  3. Edinburgh sure is beautiful.... never fails to impress! And so wonderful to be among the old houses of all of the literary greats. I especially love that first photo of the monument, aww. Really looking forward to seeing how you enjoyed Glasgow. For some reason, it's a bit closer to my heart than the capital, really not sure why!

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  4. I'm afraid that if you go to Scotland in winter, Em, you're most unlikely to get anything like fine weather. Admittedly, that was said by an Englishman :-) But your photos certainly capture the impressive Edinburgh architecture & I'm glad you found a good, reasonably priced place to eat.

    Please forgive me being a proofreader again, but the Scottish version of an alcoholic malt drink is spelt 'whisky'. It's the Irish version that is spelt 'whiskey'.

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  5. Aw you don't need to go to any touristic sights to enjoy the beauty of Edinburgh! And yes I found this the hard way my first new year's in Edinburgh that everything closes during holidays here, it's ridiculous! But seems like you had a decent dinner at your flat :)

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  6. Beautiful! Sorry the weather wasn't better for you though! x

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  7. Such beautiful pictures! Edinburgh is such a magical place. I'm so glad you got to enjoy the scenery and the people, even if most tourist attractions were closed. Wasn't the Scotch Whisky experience so interesting? I actually kind of (okay, really) hate whisky, but I still had fun when I toured it!

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  8. The Dessert EngineerFebruary 17, 2015 at 12:15 PM

    I would love to spend at least one Christmas in my lifetime in Europe. Your picture of the churches and castles looks just like a postcard, I had to do a double take.

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  9. Jealous; I would have loved to see inside the castle! I had to google what the tattoo was- it's fascinating! Thanks for the info!

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  10. I think you should accompany your friend on a visit back to her former country, Katrina. It would be a good excuse to go :)

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  11. Glasgow was excellent, too, though we weren't there long at all. Scotland proved to be a stellar destination for a trip, but my wallet was glad to get home! :)

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  12. You English are a hearty bunch, it's true! Thank you for the photo compliment; I take a heck of a lot on trips, to my husband's chagrine. I didn't realize there was a difference in spellings; fascinating! Thanks for pointing that out :)

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  13. So true! I can tell why you like it there :) Just don't go to M&S on Xmas Eve- mayhem!!

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  14. Thanks, Amanda! I should have been able to handle it, being from North Dakota and all... :)

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  15. It really is! "Magical" is a great word for it. And I hate whisky too, but the tour was really informative!

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  16. Many thanks! Do it, do it; book a Euro-Christmas! :D

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  17. Wow, your photos of Edinburgh are amazing! I'm sad I skipped Scotland now. I would love to just spend 6 months wandering through the UK. So much history and beauty in that country alone.

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  18. Great photos! I visited Edinburgh many years ago and I loved it! I remember just really enjoying strolling down the streets because the buildings looked like they had so many stories to tell. I also distinctly remember a shop that had chocolate soup, chocolate everything and I felt like I was in heaven!

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