Friday, December 12, 2014

Why not Edinburgh?

Looking for a place to study abroad and you just can't quite decide on a country because you simply want to go everywhere? Maybe you're just looking for a spring break program. Well my first experience abroad was spent is Scotland and it was a beautiful journey. I would strongly encourage anyone to study in Edinburgh or even just to visit. The city has beautiful architecture letting you see a time long before your own, amazing people who love to talk to foreigners and endless opportunities. So you may be thinking, why Edinburgh? I am going to go through the top ten things to do in Edinburgh so if you are just there for a short time or will be living there for months you should be able to accomplish some or all of these must see and do things in Edinburgh.

Scott Monument
Right on Princess Street in the heart of Edinburgh lies the Scott Monument in all of it's glory. The Scott Monument is the largest monument to a writer in the world. It is dedicated to Sir Walter Scott. This iconic landmark is the centerpiece of the city and is a must-visit while in town. Admire the beautiful architecture of the monument and climb the 287 stairs to the top to admire the beautiful view.
City of the Dead Tour
Scotland is known for it's truly morbid and haunted history. Truly find yourself in Edinburgh's past with the world famous Edinburgh Ghost and Underground Tours. View some of the cities old vaults that lie beneath the city sidewalks. For around 30 years, the vaults were used to house taverns, cobblers and other tradesmen, and as storage space for illicit material, reportedly including the bodies of people killed by serial killers Burke and Hare for medical experiments. As the conditions in the vaults deteriorated, mainly because of damp and poor air quality, the businesses left and the very poorest of Edinburgh's citizens moved in.  If you are up to learning about some of Edinburgh's haunted history and ready for a memorable experience in Edinburgh then these tours are just for you. Trust me, they're a scream.
The Elephant House
Harry Potter fan? Then visit the White Elephant, the place where the magic began. This is the location where J.K. Rowling sat with a coffee in hand, maybe even a scone and wrote all of the Harry Potter books.  Enjoy a nice cup of coffee, my favorite was the Cafe Mocha and a chocolate brownie, and bask in the hip and magical atmosphere. After you are finished be sure to visit the cemetery behind The White Elephant, this is the place where gravestones inspired some of J.K. Rowling's character names, such as Thomas Riddle.
Whistle Binkies
Get a feel for the city and its night life at Whistle Binkies right on the Royal Mile. They offer a variety of live music every weekend and the place is hopping with natives to the city so you can truly immerse yourself in the culture. Take your girlfriends or your mates into town and chill out in the booths listening to music or get up and dance the night away!
Arthur's Seat
Climb a dormant volcano right on the outskirts of the city and get a view to die for. A short walk from Edinburgh's Royal Mile, Arthur's seat lies in Holyrood Park. The top is very windy, but the view of the city is rewarding. It is quite a hike and you will definitely be feeling it the next day, but boy is it worth the view.
Calton Hill
Visit one of the most beloved spots in the city. The view from Calton Hill has inspired visitors and locals for generations. From this point in the city you can see for miles. Also while at Calton HIll be sure to visit some of the city monuments such as the National Monument and the Nelson Monument. The National Monument was inspired by the Parthenon because Edinburgh has a lot of Greek influence and was often referred to as the Athens of the North. The monument was built to commemorate the Scottish servicemen who died in the Napoleonic Wars, but was never finished and only half of it stands today. It is still quite hauntingly beautiful if you ask me, but it was often referred to as Edinburgh's shame. The Nelson Monument looks somewhat like a telescope and was built in honor of Lord Admiral Nelson who died in the Battle of Trafalgar.  The hill hosts a variety of events year-round one of the most popular being the Beltane Fire Festival in April. It is quite a unique experience and this hill was one of of my own personal favorites in the city.  
National Museum of Scotland 
The National Museum of Scotland offers endless exhibits to look at and endless knowledge to gain. Not to mention the architecture is beautiful. The museum has certain exhibits that only stay for a small time frame, so be sure to  catch some of those because they are rather fascinating.
Edinburgh Castle
This is such a unique castle and offers such a beautiful experience. The castle was built on an extinct volcano and is now called Castle Rock. The castle through the centuries has been a military base and a place of royal residence. Part of the castle today is devoted to a war memorial and is quite magnificent. This castle, along with a lot of other Scottish attractions offers panoramic views that are out of this world.
Princess and George Street
Take a stroll along two of the most popular streets in the city. Both streets offer endless things to do. Hope off the bus on Princess Street and be right in the middle of a very alive city. While I was in Edinburgh I loved all the opportunities Princess and George Street gave me. I always had something to do.
Princess Street
George Street
Portobello Beach
Beach, huh? You probably do not think of hitting up the beach while you're in a place like Scotland, but Portobello Beach is a must see. It offers such a unique experience at a beach that is so different from the one you'll have in a tropical place. Take a picnic, walk through the little shops, wade through the water or just go to watch the sunset. It is a very tranquil place, where the sky seems to go on forever. While I was there my friends and we got caught in the middle of a flash parade for Saint Patrick's day. It was quite the experience and one I won't ever forget from Portobello Beach.
Edinburgh, my beautiful home away from home. That city will forever hold a piece of my heart. These were some of my favorite places in Edinburgh and where I spent a great deal of time. Looking at these photos and writing this blog post makes me miss it even more. What I would give to sit on Calton Hill right now or relax with a cup of coffee at The Elephant House. Edinburgh will make you fall in love with a city more than you ever though possible and if you do choose to study abroad in Edinburgh, Scotland or even just visit, I hope the time you spend there is just as magical and life-altering as mine was. So my question to you is, why not Edinburgh?

1 comment:

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