February 10th, 2005 – by: scarr
I traveled with one of my buddies from home when I studied abroad. Scotland was my first trip and a good way to ease into the hectic life of a traveler. As our first trip abroad without our families, it was definitely an interesting experience. We woke up at 2:30 A.M. to catch the flight from London
and got to Edinburgh
at 8:00A.M. We didn't know the first thing about getting around or finding our hostel, but we found a bus that led to the city center. From there, who knoew. We eventually found it, but since it was so early we couldn't check in, so we napped in the park outside of the National Gallery, well, he did.
Granted a 2:30 wake up call isn't the best way to be well rested for a day of adventure and exploration. We finally got sick of the light rain that started to fall on us and started our jaunt through the city. Lucky for us, six nations rugby was going on so there were plenty of drunk fans around (sort of overwhelming for first time travelers). When searching for food or shops to pop into, seeing 1000 people waiting outside of every place was intense.
Edinburgh is compact and easy to navigate. The castle is the icon of the city. You can almost see it from anywhere, especially new town. It is on a mountain however and we needed to walk it. After a nice trek, we stopped at the Whiskey Heritage Museum which was near the entrance to the castle. Whiskey is a little disturbing at 9:00 A.
M. (nice wake up call). I don't have much experience drinking Whiskey, but it can't be too healthy to drink something with that much of a kick. We exited the museum and headed towards the castle. Never went in, but it was spectacular anyways, with the view and the architecture. We headed down the Royal Mile which has plenty of touristy shops for the inexperienced traveler. Which we were. So obviously we went inside. I know you're supposed to go off the beaten path, but that would come on later travels. Being the first trip by ourselves, we stuck to the main routes. We jumped on the hop-on hop-off bus and went to the Queen's palace and the science museum where there is an awesome ice wall you can touch and watch melt as you freeze (it's worth it). Plus the big bang theorists believe this is where IT happened, so we climbed the mountain behind the museum and almost got blown off. The view was amazing. From the top, the panoramic experience is breathtaking. As is the wind which really whips up. We finally made our way down and back to St. Christopher's Hostel. We met some great people there and had an amazing few nights. You can read about that in my review of the hostel. Overall, Edinburgh was a great experience and a successful trip for first time travelers.