This weekend, a dear friend of mine came all the way from Germany to visit me and the beautiful city of Edinburgh. Naturally, I had to show her around! I find that this always gives me a chance to see things that have already become normal to me in an entirely new light again- so this was not only a great experience for her (well, I suppose it was! 😀 ) but also for me. I fell in love with Scotland all over again and I remembered all the places and things I love about the country- something I had forgotten a little during the past few weeks due to a lot of uni stuff and work-related things on my mind.
- Visiting Edinburgh
My friend arrived on Friday at noon- that gave us plenty of time to explore Edinburgh’s city centre! Of course, we also managed to squeeze in a bit of shopping 🙂
First, we went to Princes Street, where she could admire the beautiful old buildings, the pretty Gardens and also the great view onto the castle on its prominent rock.
We then quickly made our way to the National Museum- which is not only my favourite museum in Edinburgh, but is also located in a very beautiful building with a roof terrace offering a great view onto the Royal Mile, the castle and the Pentland Hills.
We then went for a little stroll on the Royal Mile. By the way, if anyone happens to visit Edinburgh for only a day- this street is the place to go! Many tourist attractions are located on or close to it, making it very convenient to visit many places (the heart of Midlothian, Mary King’s Close, the castle… you name it) in a short amount of time. Also, this has always been the city’s heart- hence, this is probably the most historical site to go, and if you have a spare hour to fit in a free walking tour, you’ll even learn about all the events that shaped Scotland’s or even Great Britain’s history 🙂
Afterward visiting loads of shops on the Royal Mile and enjoying the sunset at Edinburgh Castle, we went to one of my favourite pubs- the Last Drop. This is one of Edinburgh’s oldest pubs, and it’s located on the famous Grassmarket- in other words: perfect for tourists who want to get an idea of the most original Scottish culture 🙂
2. Visiting Dunbar
On Saturday, we decided to do a little shorttrip to a little town near Edinburgh, just so that she also gets an idea of the rest of Scotland. Our destination of choice was Dunbar- a tiny city at the coast of the Firth of Forth, about 30 miles outside of Edinburgh.
This was new for me, too! As I learned, it was pretty easy to get there- it only took us about an hour by train, and the train even departed right next to my house 🙂
Even though Dunbar is quite small, it is packed with history and beautiful natural sites to explore! Upon our arrival, we strolled along the High Street, where pretty much all shops, cafés and restaurants are located. And the shops were so cute! Nestled into tiny old buildings with cute and colourful window displays, they all looked so welcoming and as if the people running them really loved their job.
We could not resist going into some of them- for example, there was a candy shop with EVERYTHING one could imagine 🙂
However, our curiosity was stronger than our urge to indulge in a café, so we eventually made our way to the cliffs of Dunbar. A walkway is leading along the coast for quite a long way, ideal for a stroll or run, and offering a stunning view on top! There are even steep and slippery stairs down to the beaches, and I can only imagine how incredibly calming it would be to spend a summer evening there, doing a barbecue and listening to the waves crashing on the rocks.
After a short walk along the coast, we returned to the village and made our way to one of the two small harbours. Its ancient ruins and the colourful little fishing boats create a picturesque scenery.
While watching the fishermen unpacking and reparing their tools, accompanied by countless seagulls waiting for a little treat, one suddendly understood the beauty and satisfaction of this simple, quiet way of life. Somehow, this makes you wonder whether all the huzzle and buzzle people go through to get a good career is really worth it, or whether a more “basic” lifestyle should be our actual goal.
Anyway, we even spotted a seal! It evidently knew about the fishermen’s kindness and waited impatiently at one of the boats until its hunger was satisfied 🙂 Unfortunately, it was too far away for my phone to make a decent picture. But some moments are so much prettier when not enjoyed through a camera lense anyway 🙂
After visiting the old ruins, we walked back to the city centre. There, we went into the house which is John Muir’s birthplace. If you are wondering who that fella was- don’t worry, I did too! BUT he actually is quite a cool person to know about. He was one of the initiators of the conservation movement and it is actually thanks to him that we can nowadays call Yosemite a National Park (and, having been there myself, I can confidently say: It would be an enourmous shame if this gem wasn’t protected by law!). Born in Scotland, he soon moved to the United States, where he not only explored vast areas of nature and started a family, but also published countless books and poems, making him an important person in literature until this day.
Afterwards, we relaxed for a while in a small bakery which sold handmade pastries, bread and cakes. To my German readers. I know, this does not seem like a big deal at all, but trust me, up here it is! Good bread with an actual CRUST is hard, if not impossible, to find, and there is literallly one place in Edinburgh I know that sells German Rye bread (Lidl, I never thought you’d become my favourite supermarket). Also, the place reminded me of my time as a High School student on the Isle of Wight, where my friends and I used to frequent a local bakery on a daily basis on our way to school to get some sort of sweet or savoury treat 🙂
Then, we visited the local museum and art gallery. It is quite small, but still worth going, simply because the love and passion its creators put into it is omnipresent. Every single detail proves their thoughtfulness and pride for their hometown. Also, you can actually learn some interesting facts: For example, Dunbar used to have one of the biggest outside swimming pools of the UK. Scroll back up to the picture of the rocky bay. There, a wall was established to separate the bay from the rest of the ocean- simple but efficient 🙂
Also, Dunbar was quite an important site for soldiers over many centuries, and played a small (but not to be neglected) role in the World Wars.
Finally, we visited the local charity shops and found some bargains in the form of books and DVDs- one of which should be our evening entertainment that night 🙂
Upon our arrival back in Edinburgh, I showed her my uni campus as well as I made her feel as if she was in a bootcamp because I wanted her to get a nice view over Edinburgh- and unfortunately, this is only possible when one stands on top of one of the steep hills 🙂
While I had been on that hill many times before, I allways went there on my own, and naturally had to seize the opportunity to get a nice pciture 🙂
On Sunday morning, my friend had to leave again. But, despite its shortness, we had a great time and I was glad to see her again! After only having been home for one short week over Christmas, I only got to see my friends for very few hours each, which is by insufficient for a proper catch-up. Hence, this weekend was really valuable for me 🙂
Also, all the stressful uni deadlines are (thankfully) over now! I am excited to do some more shorttrips over the next few weeks, but I haven’t figured out where I want to go. Therefore, make sure to stay tuned and see what I am up to next!