“Edinburgh is a great big black bastard of a city where there are ghosts of all kinds.”
To begin off the New Year, I peeled myself from the death bed and took a trip with my little sister to Edinburgh, Scotland. As her 18th birthday present from back in November, we'd wanted to head there for years and boy, it did not disappoint. I don't think my bones have ever been so weary and heavy after a two day trip, but from endless walking lost along the canal to seeing a ghost in the underground vaults (it's a family gift,) it was all worth it ...
Early January, everything was a bit nippy, but that was ever more perfect! The streets are cobbled, and everywhere is a slow, humourous pace! As a firecracker flame-haired gal myself, I fit in amongst the kilts and bagpipes, as well as the hot toddies, whisky & Scottish craic! From Highland jigging in an olde pub to very sophisticated flat white's down the hipster end of Newtown, every moment had a certain cold magic that you get from walking in a warm room after wrapped up in a scarf and coat!
The city has a slow, meandering pace, sprinkled with art exhibitions, like the Royal Scottish Academy's Society of Scottish Artists annual exhibition which we hit up (p.s. it was bloody brilliant! Big shout out to Jenny Pope's work "Tools to Evoke Change", wow!) alongside with historical medieval castles nestled in the centre of light hearted laughter. As the evenings came colder, we decided to snack on cheese boards and wine and below railing bars scattering every Georgian street. The winter days grew dark by four and one evening, we snuck into 'Pickles' for a few hours to fill our bellies with a mixed platter selection. The ladies there were so lovely, and the fairy lit furnishings were all you ever need! With little cafés down every street, you can flip between the millennial independent offerings, to traditional selections of whiskey, hot toddies and haggis, an oaty meat mix which I'm still undecided over - all very much needed to get through the ice cold winds. We found a lovely little Air B&B on the more outer edge of town, which we followed the canal back and forth after our nightly outings to return to our wooden floored nest of Euan's.
I have to say one of the best experiences were on a spontaneous ghost dungeon tour, where we spent an icy eve hidden under the city streets learning all the horror stories from the years gone by, hanging out in graveyard's to haunt the medieval monarchy city. Follow a face painted, bearded man wearing a cape into Greyfriars graveyard, because why not ... (good advice always!)
Finishing up the trip, we climbed the great old "Arthur's Seat" - a mountainous crag overlooking the city! This was probably one of my favourite moment's, forcing my little sister up the cliff and doing a big old breath at the top. We accidentally did one of the trickiest of routes, and boy, did my knees crack, but for a moment you escape the city. I think that was the best part of Edinburgh, within moments you're between seeing an endless panorama of stone coloured city, to rocky, moss-covered cliff edges and endless ocean-scapes. The mountainous views stretch beyond the Gothian rooftops and show Salisbury crags being devoured by clouds, as both town mouse and country mouse meet at the top of an ancient ruin to look over the big blue sea. However, top tip - maybe don't leave it to the last moment where you have to lug all your bags up with you!
So thank you Edinburgh, your tartan grins caught a part of my heart ...