It was a beautiful 5 hour train ride to Edinburgh along the east coast of England and Scotland. Looking out the window I could see the North Sea to my right and the Scottish countryside on my left. Very soon after entering Scotland a group of Scottish guys got on the train with cases of beer and started throwing them back one after another. I knew we were getting close to Edinburgh at that point.
Edinburgh was the coolest looking city I have ever visited–I really wish I had more time to spend there. The people were funny and so friendly and the architecture was beautiful. The first day we got there we took a bus tour which really gave me a sense of the city. There were men in kilts and guys playing bagpipes everywhere we went. That night some of us went out to this delicious restaurant called Mum’s and then a pub afterward, Malones, which was really fun. After a drink we decided we were ready to depart for a ghost tour. We signed up for the ghost tour that required you be at least 18.
Many people recommended that I go on one while in Scotland and I am so glad we did. It started off with humor and history above ground. I liked our tour guide–he was very fun to listen to. I learned a lot of interesting facts about Scotland, including the origin of the expression “shit-faced”. But the scary part was when we went to the vaults underground. I thought the tour was going to be silly ghost stories in old buildings, etc. but it was much different than I thought. It was actually really sad to hear what happened in the vaults a few hundred years ago, and apparently it is the most haunted place in Europe. And I believe it, definitely got my money’s worth down there!
After the tour we decided we wanted to go to one more place to relax and get our mind off what we had just been through so we walked into a bar that looked lively and fun. I noticed there were quite a few guys in the bar and after a few seconds one of the girls turned around and said, “yup, we are in a gay bar.” We decided to stay and it was actually so much fun. Definitely one of the most diverse nights I have had.
The next day we took a tour of Edinburgh castle, which was stunning. It was exactly what I imagine an old castle in Scotland to be–it was way high up on a hill overlooking the city with spectacular views. We listened to a guy talk about all the ways they used to punish people for various crimes which was extremely gruesome.
In the gift shop we all got a sample shot of whiskey that tasted like honey, only in Scotland I suppose. After lunch we decided to hike up this massive cliff called Arthur’s Seat right in the middle of the city. It was quite a hike, took a little over an hour of climbing steep rocks (we later found out we took the most difficult way up) but we finally reached the summit. At the top of this cliff was a group of people that were essentially having a party. They had brought up beer and one of the guys was in a kilt. We found out they were couch surfers, they just roamed from place to place with no permanent home.
It was very entertaining to talk to them and some of the guys were pretty pissed (not mad, plastered). Not at all what I expected, but definitely an experience. We finally made it all the way back down, sore but proud. You can read more about my experience on Arthur’s Seat here.
Our last day we walked around the shops and visited the cafe where J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter. It was a really neat cafe, Elephant House. It was hard to leave Edinburgh but I had a great weekend.
If you enjoyed what you just read we would love to have you join the Wonderlost community! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter for even more travel tips and inspiration.