Tomorrow I leave Edinburgh in search of the next adventure. Two years has gone by in a flash. It took a long time to adjust to Edinburgh after coming from New York, but once I did I could not get enough of this gorgeous old city and everything it has to offer.
I have made life long friends here, been able to travel to beautiful countries which are only a couple of hours away, emerge myself in the strong Scottish pride and try my hand at a few different jobs. Walking around a city with a castle perched high upon volcanic rock has become normal, but I will never take it for granted how truely unique and magical it has been to gaze up at Edinburgh Castle on a daily basis.
I take with me amazing memories, some great Scottish slang, and the thought of one day reconnecting with old pals somewhere else in the world. Thank you Edinburgh for a magnificent two years.
Last weekend, I had never even heard of The Highland Games then this weekend I was making the trek up to Braemar in the heart of The Highlands, to see men in kilts toss a caber. We were offered the tickets from our new landlord who could no longer make it. Tickets, accommodation and meals were sorted we just had to get ourselves there and back. This was the tricky bit. If you look at Braemar on a map it is in the middle of a national park. At first glance we thought it would be impossible to get there, but we were determined and searched every possible way. It turned out we could catch a train to Aberdeen and then a bus from there. Leaving after work on Friday, we knew we had to be in Aberdeen by 9.45pm to catch the last bus across to Braemar. We left ourselves plenty of time between the train and the bus, booking the 6.33pm train arriving in Aberdeen at 9pm. Everything was going to work out swimmingly. But, as we turned up to Waverley station, we saw that dreaded word that ruins everything – delayed. Due to a signaling outage between Newcastle and York our 6.33 train was delayed by 5 hours. This meant our 9.45 bus would be long gone. Thinking the Virgin train staff would be able to help, we went to them seeking guidance.
This weekend was a little different to last as we had our kiwi pal Scott with us. We went lighter on the shows and heavier on the exploring Edinburgh. Scott being the ride or die Harry Potter fan he is meant we explored Edinburgh's trail of HP treats. We also climbed Arthur's Seat for the first time in a long time and man did I feel it. That thing is hiiiiigh. But the views are unbeatable. Riddle me this though Edinburgh - Arthur's Seat is covered in Sheep poop, but I have never, not once, seen a sheep up there. Anyways, Fringe! See my favourite show's from weekend two below.
Edinburgh has been taken over and the ground has been littered with performer's hopes and dreams in flyer form. That's right Ladies and Gentlemen The Fringe Festival has arrived and the streets they are a bustling. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Fringe, it is a month long festival that takes place in Edinburgh every August. Over 40,000 shows, across over 350 venues, everything from comedy to poetry to cabaret is available at your culture craving little finger tips. You can't walk around the city without having flyers thrust into your hands. I have so many right now, I could be one of the promoters. Some of my favourites I have attended so far are below and have been part of The Free Festival.
Every city has its quirks. The little things that make it unique, terrible, weird or amazing. After walking the streets for a long period of time and emerging into the city life it won't take long until you pick up what they are. I was able to pick up on Edinburgh's quirks especially quick as I was dodging one of them constantly from day one.
When I travel I am usually on a tight budget and seek out the sights/attractions/activities that are within that budget or even better, free! I know that this is the case for a lot of other travelers and free is a word that appeals to everyone, so I put together this list of the best free things I have done in Edinburgh so far.
Hairy Coo Highlands Tour
People weren't lying when they said Scottish weather is miserable. The last few weeks I have had a bad case of cabin fever. It's either raining, snowing or just too damn cold to go outside. I've been able to go out for a few hours at a time before it gets dark (at 3.30PM may I add, still not used to that) to see the best of what Edinburgh has to offer which included a graveyard.
This weekend Will and I got up early (in fact the earliest we have been up in months) and headed for The Highlands! A friend recommended a tour company called Hairy Coo as they do a free day tour of The Highlands. Too good to be true right? Not in this case, the goodness was aaaaall real. You secure your place online and just turn up on the day - no payment in advance. Hairy Coo work on the philosophy that you pay what you think the tour is worth which pushes them to provide the best tour possible. So the tour works on a tips basis where you pay as little or as much as you like at the end. I cannot recommend this tour highly enough. If you are only in Edinburgh for a few days and want to see a bit more of Scotland, this is the perfect way.
Each time Will and I move to a new city we do it the same way - no house, no job. Now, don't get me wrong it is incredibly exciting. We both love doing things this way and it does always work out. However, after the novelty of a new city wears off and reality sets in you're left in this weird area of limbo. Three weeks in Edinburgh and limbo has hit - hard. I can't go out and enjoy myself because life costs money and with no job I feel guilt with every swipe of my card watching my bank account drop. During this time my self esteem joins my bank account in the action of dropping. I know I shouldn't take every rejection from a job personally, but I do - bastards. I kid mostly, I'm not that negative about it. But setting yourself up in a new city each year is a strange thing. Leaving the life that you've worked towards familiarizing, to throw yourself in the deep end and start from scratch. It is the gypsy life I chose though and one that I ultimately love.
Some of you may have seen the photos I posted on Facebook and Instagram of the hike Willem and I made up to Arthur’s Seat this week. A little something you should know about me is when I was young I was extremely lazy. Physical activity and the outdoors did not interest me in the slightest. There was no way you would get me climbing any kind of hill. Willem can testify that I am an extremely stubborn woman – the poor guy. So for me to be out and about loving nature as much as I do now, it’s kind of a miracle.
A writer, explorer, and music enthusiast. This site is where I share my thoughts, aspirations, adventures, and mishaps.