• Joelle Otterstedt

Edinburgh in 3 Days

Day 1

Braden and I had about a 2 ½ hour train ride from York to Edinburgh. Overall it went well, just wasn’t the most comfortable train, so we didn’t get much sleep. We arrived around noon and found a place to get some lunch. While eating, Braden saw a bus go by with advertising for the Lion King. I looked up how much tickets were, and we bought tickets for only 20 pounds each (way cheaper than when I had seen it in the U.S.). After lunch we made our way to St. Giles Cathedral. It was much smaller than the other cathedrals we’d seen, but it was still beautiful.

We realized we didn’t have anything nice to wear for the play, so we went to a massive H&M and found some cheap clothes that looked a bit nicer. At this point, it was almost check-in time at our Airbnb, so we got some snacks from Sainsbury’s (a chain grocery store), and headed to our home for the next few days.

This Airbnb was much easier to find than the last one we stayed in. We stayed in a guest room in a family’s home. The mother is the one who greeted us, but throughout the weekend we saw the husband and their two young children as well. We relaxed in the Airbnb for a few hours. The hosts left a pamphlet for us to read about things to do and how to use things in the flat. It was a really simple room, but for some reason the shower looked like a space pod from the future. There were 5 different shower heads, speakers and lights. I still have no idea how to make some of the things work.

We thought we left with plenty of time to get to the show. It turns out that when I looked up how far away it was earlier, I looked at driving directions instead of walking. After 25 minutes of speed walking we found the Edinburgh Playhouse and waited in a very long line to collect our tickets. Our tickets said we must be in our seats 5 minutes before show time or we would have to miss the first part. We made it with 2 minutes to spare. For how cheap our tickets were, I was surprised by how close we were to the stage. The show was absolutely amazing. Even better than I remembered.

Day 2

We got up fairly early, so we could be at the Edinburgh castle right around when it opened. We went to a restaurant and had a quick breakfast, then headed to the castle. We were amazed by the outside of the castle, so it took us a few minutes to realize that nobody was going in. A worker told me that the castle was closed due to high winds, and it probably wouldn’t open at all that day because they were predicted to get worse. Our plan for the day was a little thrown off, so we decided to check out some shops on the Royal Mile. We looked around a few stores, all filled with plaid and cashmere. Then decided to go explore the National Gallery. On our walk there it was starting to get a little more windy, and was sprinkling. It was another gallery filled with amazing artwork. It blows my mind that there can be so many galleries in England with such old and impressive art. After the gallery we headed back to our Airbnb to have some lunch and warm up a little bit.

Before heading back out, we both put a couple more layers on to try to stay warm. Within only a few minutes of leaving, the slushy rain started turning into snow. By the time we got to our first stop of the afternoon, Carlton Hill, it was sunny. People say Oregon weather changes a lot, but weather here is something else. It was still extremely windy when we got to the top, but luckily not raining. The views of the city up there were amazing, and there were lots of building and monuments on the top of the hill to look at. We walked through the mud to try to see the view from every side of the hill.

I saw some people climbing up a wall, so they could be standing between these huge pillars. I thought it’d be cool to get some pictures up there, so I climbed up too. After a couple pictures the wind started to really pick up. It was so strong I had to work pretty hard to stay standing in the same place. Then all of a sudden it started snowing. It was scary, and freezing, but also such an amazing moment. I got off the pillars, and we ran inside the closest building we could find. The hill had completely emptied. We watched the snow blow past the window for a few minutes and then it slowed. We took the break in the snow as our chance to move to our next spot.

The next place we visited was the Palace of Holyrood House. I was excited for this stop, but it was even more incredible than I could have imagined. We walked up stairs where kings and queens and presidents have walked. We walked through rooms where the queen meets her guests. We saw the dining room set with fancy china. Everything was so elegant and perfectly placed. It felt weird that people are allowed to walk through and tour such important places, but it was a great experience.

After the Palace, we still had some time before sunset, so we started making our way to Arthur’s seat. We had read it was only a 20-30 minute hike. I didn’t time it, but I definitely think it took us much longer than that. It may have been longer due to all the mud, or the extreme winds. Eventually we got to the top, and I have never, ever felt wind that strong. I thought the wind at Carlton Hill might have been the strongest I’d felt, but I knew that this topped it. The winds at Arthur’s seat were unbelievable, and absolutely the strongest I’d ever felt. It was pushing both Braden and I all over the place trying to walk on the rocks up there. As crazy as it was, it was so much fun.

After we made it down from the hike, it was starting to get dark. We were exhausted at this point (especially me), and slowly walked to find somewhere for dinner. After we finished eating, we walked back to our Airbnb. We walked a total of 14 miles that day, our new record for the most miles in one day while traveling.

Day 3

We had a more relaxing morning this day, and hung around the Airbnb until a little before we had to check out. We didn’t think the castle would be open, but I thought we might as well walk by to make sure. We were pleasantly surprised to see people walking in and out when we got there. After a very long line, we got our tickets and started exploring the castle. You get to walk all around the castle, but it also has many museums in it as well. The most impressive thing we got to see there were the crown jewels of Scotland. After the castle, we found some lunch, then explored more of the shops on the Royal Mile. We made our way back to the Airbnb to collect our bags (which luckily our host let us leave for the day), and walked to the train station.

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