Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Edinburgh - My Favourite City

This blog post is for Shirl after her Edinburgh ("Auld Reekie") blog post over at: Shirl's Gardenwatch – so sorry it took me so long, I totally forgot about posting photos of Edinburgh!

Edinburgh is an amazing city, with beautiful architecture, a wonderful vibe (avoid Princes Street though and opt for George Street behind it instead!) and breath-taking scenery. There’s also plenty to do, even I was surprised that spending three nights just wasn’t enough, we barely got to see anything because we were rushing around so much! You really should spend at least a week or two there…

Also, Edinburgh has a smell… Certain days the distilleries must open their windows (ha ha, I’m sure it’s a different reason…) and this aroma creeps across the entire city… I had completely forgotten about this until we visited again and suddenly fond memories began to come back… It’s strange how smells can trigger you…

We began the day on a good note, lovely sunny Autumn day in late October…



Now you may be wondering… This is Sheffield, not Edinburgh. The train station has had some major refurbishing and a more obvious route to the city centre created… At night it is equally amazing with fantastic lighting schemes (not too sure just how environmentally friendly they are though!).



When we arrived in Edinburgh (after a horrific journey, where two carriages were missing on the train… I didn't fancy the idea of standing for 5 hours, but managed to get a seat when the train almost emptied at York… It soon filled up again at Darlington , Durham and Newcastle though!) it was somewhat cloudy…



Our first stop was Camera Obscurer near the castle… We managed to catch the last tour of the day. I visited regularly as a child so naturally wanted to visit again to see whether it still had all the holograms… I can confirm that yes, they are still there!

Looking at the castle and what I assume are the remains of the Tattoo...



Looking out towards Princes Street and the Forth just beyond.



Arthur's Seat to the left



And looking down the Royal Mile



We were staying in a Radisson on the royal mile, so did not have far to go to the camera obscurer or to the castle, so the next morning we were up and out very early… We arrived at the Castle so early that there was no queue at all… Later on we discovered the queues soon build! We had breakfast in their café overlooking Princes Street Gardens… Amazing views and I daren’t get too close to the windows… Seriously, you think you’re going to fall out!



We had planned to spend the morning at the castle and then have lunch back at our hotel and head off to the Royal Museum of Scotland… Well at around lunch time we had to cut our castle visit short, and decided to hang around for the 1 o’clock gun…



By the time we got to the museum we only had an hour or so before it closed… So I stuck to the taxidermy section (again re-visiting childhood memories) and tested my animal recognition skills… I can safely say, I know far too many. (btw, I am not a fan of taxidermy per say, it doesn’t quite sit comfortably with me, similar to zoos…)

Now, one thing about the royal mile… There’s NOWHERE to eat. At. All. Not everyone wants Starbucks, Bella Itallia was always heaving and apart from that it’s little pubs, so we endhad Pizza Express two nights because there wasn’t anywhere else… Really ought to have tried our hotel restaurant… Hmmmmm. One night Pete made me try this ‘rustic’ Italian place… Yeah, won’t be going back there again.
‘But the backstreet ones are always the best’ he said, trying to entice me in.
Ha ha, yeah ok Pete, if you say so. I should’ve known better than to trust his judgement.



Princes Street Gardens, looking towards the Galleries.



That evening we realised we wouldn’t have enough time to see even a quarter of the things I had wanted to, so we headed towards George Street, I bought a few presents and to Princes Street we went. After lunch we walked towards Palace of Holyrood House and the Scottish Parliament buildings…



We then cut across and headed towards Carlton Park, spent a lovely couple of hours up there taking in the late October sun and stunning views waiting for the sunset and wishing I had longer to stay in such an amazing city.



Carlton hill is very peaceful, it was nice to get away from everything up on the hill...

Edinburgh Castle from the top of Carlton Park...





Possibly the only man in a kilt we saw…



Arthur's seat





Holyrood Palace and the Scottish Parliament Buildings are at the foot of the ancient dormant Volcano…



Bit of a candid shot… I was frustrated with people constantly standing in the way, they can clearly see I'm taking photos, yet do it anyway, so I thought I'd take their photo instead…



Princes Street from Carlton Hill, very busy… Nightmare in fact, avoid it if possible… Just look at the traffic both pedestrian and vehicle down on Princes Street!





A very impressive roof terrace as you come down from the Hill…



Pete isn’t someone who can sit and stare, so I didn’t manage the sunset up on the hill. Instead we watched it set down on Princes Street Gardens again. Not after being attacked by a Squirrel first coming down the hill, and then of all things, a Duck!

A monument back down in the thick of it - not sure if it's classed as Princes Street yet…



Jenners, Edinburgh's equivalent to Harrods…



And back down into the gardens…





So basically, we acheived a whole lot of nothing during our stay and spent most of our time in the gardens... I like to be able to soak in my surrounding, I need to have time to relax and enjoy it rather than running around all the time. So next time, I definitely want to sit and stare.

The main thing I miss dearly about this city is the amazing skylines, all the spires... This city really considers how you view it from a high vantage point. Anywhere futher south of Newcastle and Berwick just don't compare.

Next time I still need to see the galleries, the Botanical Gardens (maybe the Zoo too), see the Castle properly and the Royal Museum of Scotland… Plus a whole load more!

7 comments:

shirl said...

Hi there Liz :-) Thank-you, I forgot about this too… a nice surprise tonight :-D

Loved hearing about your few days in the City. A great tour, loved your evening shots especially and the one o’ clock gun montage. You’ve shown me the views from Arthur’s seat now too… a bonus… I guess I have to go now ;-)

Yep… the smells and skylines of Edinburgh… I hope you enjoy your next trip and find more interesting places to eat. My OH works in Edinburgh so I can ask him to ask colleagues for suggestions. He has had business meals out on the Royal Mile but likely to be pricey.

You can tour the Scottish parliament building which we found interesting. Dynamic Earth (beside it) is another interesting place to visit. The museum is still being refurbished I think. Oh… I better watch I sound as if I’m working for the Scottish Tourist Board :-D

Bangchik and Kakdah said...

Edinburgh is indeed an amazing city...... I love the way Edinburgh is pronounced..... and that garden looks very beautiful. ~bangchik

ShySongbird said...

Wow! I had always understood Edinburgh was special and your photos and words illustrate that perfectly Liz. I'm not a fan of built up areas at all but I think that is one City I would enjoy.

Valeri said...

I love Edinburgh. My son lives in Dalgety Bay and works in Edinburgh. He went off to Uni in Scotland eighteen years ago and never came back! :-) Great post! Val

Joanne said...

Lovely photos I have never visited Edinburgh

kris at t.m. said...

What a treat to revisit Edinburgh through your lens. It's one of the few places in the world that I've been and you're right - at least a week is necessary! I highly recommend the Botanical Gardens - and the Leith Walk to get there! Now I want to go back and see it all again...
Thanks for commenting on my blog!

Mo said...

Hi Liz! Thanks for popping by Green Desert, and I absolutely LOVE your blog. Beautiful. I will be back! :)