It had always been my dream to visit Scotland, fancying it to be a land of warriors and knights in shining armour, who rode on horses through mountains and valleys. Even though I did not meet any knights here, I was completely bewitched by Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland. A friend had once remarked to me how she had felt that Scotland was haunted. Besides the sweet haunting sound of pan pipes that seemed to echo from nowhere and everywhere, I could very tangibly feel the intensely rich Scottish past pervading the Scottish air, making Scotland evocatively haunting.
Here is how I spent my afternoon and evening in this richly enchanting city of Edinburgh.
1. Old Town & Royal Mile
I was staying at the Hotel Ibis, Royal Mile located in the Old Town, which is also the center of Edinburgh. The window of my room opened on Hunter Square known for it's historic church and city-center. Arriving late in the afternoon, I quickly showered and got dressed to take a walk around the Old Town. The Old Town is the oldest part of Edinburgh that preserves much of it's medieval architecture and is also a Unesco World Heritage Site. Royal Mile is both Old Town Edinburgh's main thoroughfare and one of the city's main streets and is dotted with shops, restaurants and pubs.
2. New Town & Princes Street
Next, I walked to the New Town of Edinburgh which is also a Unesco World Heritage Site. The Main Street here is called Princes Street and being the shopping hub of the city, it was buzzing with life and activity. As I passed several shops and hotels and took a quick look at Zara, it somehow felt a little strange to have such a modern shopping center in such an ancient city that took you back in time!
3. Edinburgh Castle
I did not get a chance to visit the Edinburgh Castle but enjoyed fantastic views of the same as I walked along Princes Street. However, a visit to the castle is a must if you plan to visit Edinburgh.
4. Other tourist attractions
There are several other tourist attractions in Edinburgh like Arthur's Seat, Calton Hill, National Museum of Scotland, Royal Botanic Garden, Camera Obscura and World of Illusions, Holyroodhouse Palace and Royal Yacht Britannia. I highly recommend planing in advance the places you want to visit and also to have a back-up plan incase it rains!
5. Starbucks, Royal Mile, Old Town
I ended my evening with a nice salad and a tall hot-chocolate at Starbucks, right next to the Ibis hotel. Located in the center of the Edinburgh Old Town, and housed in a lovely, old building, the first floor seating area affords great views of the Edinburgh Old Town.
Read the full post on Starbucks, Royal Mile Old Town.
The next day I arose early as I was scheduled to travel to Inverness, a city located in the north-eastern part of the Scottish highlands and about 4 hours by train from Edinburgh. Walking around the Old Town and Royal Mile as the rising sun softly penetrated it's rays through the sparse clouds, I said my goodbyes to Edinburgh, concluding my stay with another tall hot-chocolate at Starbucks!