The Battle Rages on...

Edinburgh Travel Blog

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Edinburgh and Glasgow have a friendly on-going war between them. If you're from one you, naturally, can't like the other. Tourists often skip the less-photogenic Glasgow and go straight to the capital. Once I arrived, I understood why. It's a bit more tourist-friendly. And with attractions like the castle on the hill or the famous shop-filled High Street, travelers have specific destinations and things to cross off of a 'to see' list.

My suggestion is go to both, but visit Glasgow first. Hit up a concert. Take a picnic in the Botanical Garden. Better yet, do what I did and spend the prior weeks in little towns in Ireland so you can simply enjoy it for its urban-ness. If you go to Edinburgh first on a fortuitously sunny day, you may then approach Glasgow as the dangerous red-headed stepchild like other backpackers tend to and miss out on what it has to offer.


But I had already been to Glasgow and appreciated it, so it's okay for me to now concede that Edinburgh is indeed cool and could be one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. The city center rises and falls in hills, giving it a number of vantage points. I continually hit every photo spot at the exact wrong time of day, with the sun glaring behind the object of my pictorial desire, giving me little more than silhouettes to show off its beauty. So you'll just have to take my word for it. Or book a trip for yourself and plan a little better than I managed to.

I stayed with a couchsurfer named Andy. He's a fairly new and enthusiastic member, so all the other Edinburgh hosts rely on him to pick up their slack. Next month someone else will come in as the new bushy-tailed member and relieve him of the post, but for now I believe he's hosted something like 25 people in the last month.
Philip
God bless him.

I didn't get to know Andy very well, though. He worked for the two days I was in the city, and on the first evening, when he followed-up on plans with a friend, I made plans of my own with a fellow couchsurfer. Philip met me out for a couple drinks and gave me a taste of the night life. Students were freshly back in town and filled the bars. I would have felt old if it weren't for the fact that I gave in after a day of beating up my feet and wore my running shoes and comfortable-vs-cute clothes, leaving me feeling like a pubescent bag lady. On the plus side, however, the bartender had absolutely no issue believing I was just another student and gave me the same substantial discount as the rest of them. It was not the time nor place to try to prove otherwise.

Philip is a doctor, finishing up his medical rotations.
Andy, Laura and Frances
The benefit being that, by the end of the night and after a few drinks, I got to hear all the gross emergency room stories that a more sober and professional doctor would have kept locked away in the patient-doctor confidentiality file. Ahhh, the beauty of friends in medicine.

The second evening was spent with my host and two of his friends: Laura and Frances. Both girls are English, but Frances took the British to a wonderful new level. To start with, she calls everyone love. "Could you pass the sugar, love." "What would you like, love?" I would like to adopt this, but am afraid without the accent to back it up, I would just sound like I haven't quite mastered sentence construction yet: "I really chocolate do love." I'm also convinced there's no other existing accent in the world that could talk about "taking a poo" at the dinner table and make it seem perfectly acceptable.
Posh, even.

We had a great evening sitting around the dinner table, laughing and comparing dating horror stories. (I'll take it as a good sign that mine pale in comparison to the gems Laura was whipping out.) It was one of those validating moments, reaffirming why I'm doing what I'm doing. Why I gave up a year of hanging out with the friends and family I love so dearly. Why I ask people to take me into their homes instead of staying at a hotel or hostel. Why I travel.

It was a good moment.
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Philip
Philip
Andy, Laura and Frances
Andy, Laura and Frances
The castle on the hill
The castle on the hill
Dont worry, Im in good hands.
Don't worry, I'm in good hands.
edinburgh in silhouette
edinburgh in silhouette
Edinburgh
photo by: vances