I have just gotten back from the most amazing easter holiday trip to Scotland (hence the silence on the blog) and I can´t wait to share my impressions. I visited Scotland for the first time and it has absolutely stolen my heart. We spent three amazing days in Edinburgh, three mindblowing ones in the Scottish Highlands and then had another two very quiet ones in Glasgow. I honestly loved every step along the way and recommend a trip to Scotland more than anything! Before we get to my favourite, the Highlands we are off to Edinburgh, the beautiful and slightly crazy capital of my new happy place.
Obviously from most places in Europe a flight is your best choice, but if you like me are already in the United Kingdom you might consider an other option. Flights to Edinburgh are around 89 pounds from London, but if you want some money trains and buses are your best friends. Trains from London to Edinburgh or Glasgow with the 16-25 railcard can be as cheap as 20 pounds one way (make sure to book very early!). You will need about 5 hours and get to soak up the beautiful English and Scottish countryside on the way. Now if you seriously need to cut costs and if you are hardcore (or like me able to sleep in whatever kind of transportation you choose) then you can get on an overnight bus. They might only cost you 10 pounds in cash, but can cost severe loss of happiness and correctly placed vertebras, so you need to choose what is more important to you. From London Victoria you will need about 10 hours to Edinburgh. How long it will take to shake the memories of this trips depends on how much Scottish whiskey you can handle.
I would definitely recommend one of the free walking tours that are offered along the Royal Mile or recommended by the hostels. For just a little tip you get amazing stories about the beautiful city you are in and let me tell you the Scots know how to tell a story. Edinburgh is a very special town, from it´s weird way of building over huge hills, to the history packed with bloody stories and you should soak up as much as possible from this unique atmosphere. So why not turn to a guide in a kilt with a strong Scottish accents to tell the tales.
Afterwards you should definitely climb up to Carlton Hill, where during Enlightenment roman buildings were erected for study purposes. As a nice extra you get a kickass view over Edinburgh plus an amazing background for your pictures.
If that wasn´t enough excercise you can also climb Arthur´s Seat, an inactive volcano just outside of Edinburgh, with an even greater view, an even harder climb and even more possibilities for a person like me who is afraid of heights to almost have a heart attack.
If you want to stay in town, make sure to visit Greyfriars Kirkyard, a hauntingly beautiful graveyard just off the Royal mile. From grave robbery, to disappearing gravestones and reappearing corpses, there is something on offer for every horror fan.
What makes this graveyard even more special is that J. K. Rowling used to roam around here, looking for inspiration and not only is the private school right next door to the graveyard rumored to be the original Hogwarts, if you read carefully you can find McGonagal´s and Tom Riddle´s grave in the Muggle world.
Food & Drink
An even more amazing experience for every Potterhead is a visit to the Elephant house. Rumored to be the place where Harry Potter was written, it is now frequently visited by tourists day in, day out. Served with your coffee and delicious cakes you get an insight into just how important this series was for so many of us. There are greetings scribbled all over the toilet walls and amazing letters stuffed into the drawers of the tables. If you look hard enough you might be able to find mine. Harry Potter was and is one of my absolute favourite books and seeing how much it had touched others as well was an incredibly wonderful experience. I actually couldn´t help but cry, just to let you know how very, very cool I am.
If you need a sugar shock after this (afterall chocolate helps against dementors) head to Mary´s Milk Bar for a delicious hot chocolate with ice cream, or if you are as lucky as we were with the weather for some amazing salted caramel ice cream.
For a romantic date or a really special night with friends I recommend Under the Stairs, a beautiful little restaurant with delicious food and an amazing atmosphere. This is more of a treat and maybe not perfectly suitable for travellers on a budget.
Have you ever been to Edinburgh and did you enjoy it as much as I did? Did the magic of Harry Potter touch you as much as it did for me?
Also being back now from vacation I have finally gotten back into eating better and not drinking a whole bottle of wine every night, which makes me even more excited for my Love your Body better series. Anything you are especially interested in or would like me to write about? Please leave any suggestions in the comments, I hope you have a magical day!