It has been almost two months since I arrived, and I have naturally started calling Edinburgh my home. The longer I am here, the more I fall in love with this city. Over the course of October I had three of my friends from my University in the states visit me here, and it was funny to feel like I knew this city and was “the local” guiding my friends on where to go and what to do.
The first big to-do was going to the Highlands. I booked a trip using “The Hairy Coo,” and it was terrific. We got really lucky because of the sunny weather and we made many stops along the way including the Wallace Monument, lunch in Aberfoyle, Loch Katrine, Doune Castle, and feeding a few Hairy Coo’s! The guide would give quick historical backgrounds on the sights we were seeing and it was nice to know the story behind the view.
We left Edinburgh city center at 8am and came back around 6. I didn’t realize just how close the broad, lush greenery of the Highlands is to the Gothic city center. It was so easy to book the trip and go that I can see myself doing this tour and two others they offer a few more times over the course of this year.
I also did two trips up Arthur’s Seat. The views of the city are beautiful and it is well worthwhile to wait for a sunny day to do the hike. The second time I went we waited util the late afternoon, and the only downside once we got to the top was the extreme wind. I guess that taught me to dress in layers and bring a scarf.
Although Edinburgh felt huge and confusing to me the first few days I was here, I quickly realized how simple it is to get around…and how small the city is in reality. One of my favorite finds in the city in terms of shops is Armchair books on Grassmarket.
The walls of the bookshop are filled to the ceiling and you need a small ladder to get to the works at the very top of the shelves. My friend and I enjoyed going through the vintage books collection at the back of the store. It was cool to find a handwritten note in one of the books from about a century ago, stating who the book was being gifted to and for what occasion. I also loved looking around Armstrongs, a vintage shop on Grassmarket. There is a wide variety of clothes, starting from second-hand kilts and ending with wedding dress-esque colorful gowns.
Edinburgh is getting better and better with time and my plan for november is to leave the city center more, visiting a some more castles, lochs and monuments until the weather gets too cold. Cheers and until next time.