When you're in Europe, traveling as many places as possible is a given. Everything is so close and so cheap, if you know how to do it right!
Our first stop outside of England was Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland. They pronounce it Edin-brah in Newcastle with the Geordie accent (Geordies are the Newcastle natives). The ten of us bought tickets for the megabus for 20£ each, round-trip! We didn't have as many time options as we would have on the metro or flight but we wanted to get as much out of our day-trip as possible. This being the case we left at the earliest time possible, 4:30 AM. When we arrived at the bus station in Edinburgh we were greeted by the snowstorm that hit the States last week. It was rather magical.
I was so taken by the snow that I didn't even notice the cold and could not stop taking pictures! You can tell in the photos I was the one lagging in the group.
One awesome thing about our trip is we got to see the golden hour twice because we were outside literally sunrise to sunset. Below is the 7AM sunrise when we first arrived. Edinburgh is such a unique city because it's not all city. You look out to see the mountains on the skyline, historical castles on hills, shops upon shops, the capitol and Parliament --all within walking distance.
What's incredibly convenient about many European cities is you don't need to bother with transportation once you get to your destination. You walk literally everywhere! Honestly you don't even have to have a plan or know your way around. As long as you have a general idea of what you want to see, you can use the rest of your day to just wander about the cobblestone streets and walk wherever catches your eye. We happened across a small market (picture below) along the main strip. I got a pair of fur earmuffs for only 4£ (which I would find out later was an absolute blessing).
I mean what I said about not knowing what you're going to come across when exploring a new city. We were (supposed to be) heading the the Queen's Palace just walking along the road when we turned the corner to find Arthur's Throne. I had read about this mountain but had no idea where it was or how to get to it. You can imagine my surprise and excitement when it was standing right before my eyes! The first thing I said was, "Let's go hike it!" Sure enough it was an insanely incredible view.
I'm thankful we had a great group that refrained from complaining about the snow, the wind, the climb, and other not-so-great parts about adventuring. Because guys, it was COLD. To put things into perspective I had 3 sweaters, my North Face jacket, a wool scarf, mittens, my new earmuffs, and I was STILL cold. The wind chill was insane up at that elevation (I'm still recovering unfortunately). #worthit
I've been debating and debating but can not decide if I liked the mountain or this crazy museum better from our trip. Camera Obscura and World of Illusions is so hard to describe because it's beyond anything anyone has ever experienced. The best way to describe it is a funhouse full of creativity and great photo-ops that you could stay in all day long. We were a bit skeptical of it because of the price-tag but this five floor museum was worth every bit of the 13£ we paid. I can not get over this photo of Matt!
We stumbled upon the restaurant Mum's Great Comfort Food, a must-do if you're in Edinburgh. We had quite the assortment of dishes: Shepard's Pie, Chicken and Rosemary Pie, Fish n Chips (of course), English tea, coffee, and a shake. Great food, friendly service, and right in the heart of the capital city. You really can't beat this kind of comfort food when it's snowing in Scotland.
By the end of the day we saw a castle, the Queen's Palace, Parliament, hiked a mountain, and shopped in a market. I was so tired the next day after our full 22 hour trip that it almost felt like jet-lag. It was so much fun getting to relive it all through photos and conversations on the way back to Newcastle. We're planning another trip to Edinburgh in the spring to experience the warmer weather and hike again. Next stop: London!
View more pictures from Edinburgh in My Gallery