June 22 - 24: The Tale of Three Countries

So I had been excited for Edinburgh, but I didn't anticipate just how much I would love the city. Out of all the places we've been, I was saddest to leave here. We arrived from Dublin around 7am, to ensure we had two full days in the city. (To explain the post title - we were in Ireland, Scotland, and England in the span of three days.) We caught the tram from the airport to Princes St, where our hostel was--Edinburgh had the best transit and best location so far!!, made friends with the Starbucks guy (a necessity in any city), and set off to find Edinburgh Castle.

20150622_114212.jpg
20150622_114212.jpg

We found it and immediately fell in love. After wandering up, we took one of the free guided tours, which I highly recommend! Our guide shared lots about the history and it made the whole visit so much more interesting! By the time we finished that, saw the Scottish crown jewels, went through their soldier's memorial, and saw the dungeons, we were hungry and cold. After food and a bit of warming up, we spent our afternoon walking through Old Town and going almost the entirety of the Royal Mile. The Royal Mile is the stretch of road running from the castle to the Palace (where the monarchy stays when they visit) and Parliament at the end.

20150622_131905.jpg
20150622_131905.jpg

After walking for ages we were, again, hungry and cold (it's a bit of a theme for us) and went to find The Elephant House. It's a café in Old Town where JK Rowling began writing Harry Potter. Edinburgh Castle was actually the inspiration for Hogwarts and can be seen from the back of the café. I nerded out a lot. (Also: Scots are by far, the nicest people we've met on our trip so far. A lovely old man saw us looking at our map and guided us all the way to the café. So sweet!)

20150622_155231.jpg
20150622_155231.jpg

Since we'd been up since 3am, we headed back to take naps and grab dinner from Tesco. Supermarkets have been our saving graces on this trip in terms of budgeting. After we were all slightly more human, we explored more of Edinburgh in the evening.

2015-07-02 20.42.21.jpg
2015-07-02 20.42.21.jpg
2015-07-02 20.43.03.jpg
2015-07-02 20.43.03.jpg

The next day was Allie's 21st birthday and while we're all legal here, it's still a big birthday so we wanted to celebrate properly!

We ended up at this bar called Jekyll and Hyde, which was all Gothic themed and ended up being super cool! Some drinks were named after the Seven Deadly Sins and the vibe was a little weird (at one point, a whole group of guys in kilts walked in) but it was a lot of fun. At midnight, we all toasted to Allie.

IMG_20150701_212129.jpg
IMG_20150701_212129.jpg
IMG_20150701_212133.jpg
IMG_20150701_212133.jpg

The next day, we started off climbing Arthur's Seat, which is a large hill at the end of the Royal Mile. It had amazing views of the city. We all had lingering colds at this point, so it took us a little bit to actually get up the hill. :)

We took loads of pictures.

2015-07-02 20.46.41.jpg
2015-07-02 20.46.41.jpg
2015-06-23 14.03.48.jpg
2015-06-23 14.03.48.jpg
IMG_20150623_144241.jpg
IMG_20150623_144241.jpg

After this, we stopped and got sandwiches at Sugarhouse Sandwiches, which gets a mention because it was SO GOOD. The staff were lovely and the food was perfect.

2015-07-02 20.55.05.jpg
2015-07-02 20.55.05.jpg

It was a short walk from there (but everything seems like a short walk in Edinburgh) to Calton Hill, which is located more in the middle of the city, closer to Princes St. Yay for more city views!!

Most of Edinburgh's museums are free so we thought about trying to find the natural history museum but settled for more wandering and exploring, naps, and birthday cake for Allie. (Don't worry, Mom--there was dinner before the cake as well.)

20150623_205235.jpg
20150623_205235.jpg
2015-06-23 22.42.09.jpg
2015-06-23 22.42.09.jpg

I absolutely fell in love with Edinburgh--and our view of the Highlands from across the bay was not enough--so this is definitely going back on my "must return to" list.

2015-07-02 20.56.35.jpg
2015-07-02 20.56.35.jpg