My impression of Scotland is its beautiful scenery, lakes, and of course the famous viaduct where the Harry Potter train scene was filmed. I've always wanted to take a road trip to the highlands and enjoy the beauty of mother nature Scotland has to offer. Alas, I don't have a car or anyone to road trip with, so a train trip to Edinburgh was my best bet of stepping into Scotland.
I scored a cheap(er) return ticket and so, I went off to Edinburgh for a weekend with my friends. We did climbed up 2 hills to get a nice view of the city (you can read it here and here), but in this post, I'll be sharing with you the beauty of Edinburgh's architecture from the ground.
After all, this Instagram picture got more likes than any of my other pictures, so it's safe to say many agree with me that Edinburgh is a lovely city!
Walking around Edinburgh, you really get a taste of what it feels like to be in an old town. Mostly because the buildings are all in a similar shade of brown, and have a similar style of architecture. I love that the Edinburgh Castle, as well as the random houses and buildings along the Royal Mile somehow complement each other really well, and just feel so… seamless.
From the Edinburgh Castle, you can see an aerial view of the old town of Edinburgh and of a course a little of the new town peeking behind it. But wouldn't you agree with me that the old town has a very nice comforting feeling with its somewhat-uniform-but-not-quite-similar buildings.
The thing about Edinburgh is, after you walk through a street of what would appear to be part of the old town, you come face to face with the Palace of Holyroodhouse - i.e. the house The Queen stays in when she's in Scotland. Surrounding it, is some modern looking architecture that is pretty similar to what you'd find in the new town.
We were hoping to be able to enter the Palace of Holyroodhouse, unfortunately, it was closed that day... So I sat on a bench and asked for an OOTD shot from my friend.
WHAT I WORE
Army Green Top with Sparkly Collar: Forever21
Checkered Pants: Uniqlo
I think the design of the buildings nearby were quite impressive, and pretty unique. But growing up in Singapore, and having visited places like Hong Kong and Shanghai - more importantly living in London, I'm so used to seeing modern looking architecture, that I'm just more fascinated with the buildings in the old town. I think its normal for people to be intrigued by things they don't commonly see, which is probably why in every city, the old town is one of its top tourist attractions.
Needless to say, I spent a lot of my day walking around the Old Town and popping in and out of shops along the Royal Mile.
Most people head up to Edinburgh before going up to the highlands in Scotland. So if you happen to have a day to spend in Edinburgh, walking around and admiring its architecture, going on a whisky tour (I did and it was fun - More pictures in the future perhaps), along with having a nice meal or 2 in one of the restaurants along the Royal Mile, is just the perfect way to spend it.
By night time, you could catch this view of the city lights near the train station, which is such a wonderful way to end a day, right?
30 April 2015 Edinburgh, City of Edinburgh, UK
From the title of the post, you could probably already tell what this post is going to be all about. Previously I mentioned climbing Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh, and how we go lost through thorny bushes and braved the strong winds? Well if you're not much of a climber/hiker or you don't have that much time to spend a morning climbing a hill, but you want to get a nice view of Edinburgh, here's another alternative. Calton Hill. Don't be fooled by the word "hill" in its name, it really isn't much of a hill.
I had a huge lunch on my last afternoon in Edinburgh, and so to work it off, my friend and I decided to climb up Calton Hill - Mostly because I saw a nice picture and then decided I wanted to see "that shot" in real life. Plus it was one of those great sunny days, that the UK doesn't see much of. All the more we should take advantage of it right?
We walked up to towards Carlton Hill, and through a nice, quiet cemetery. I thought the cemetery was part of the hill, and I was like... "oh thats it?!" But it was not. We headed up the hill, past the shot that I wanted to see, and went all the up to see the unfinished replica of the Grecian columns. This replica is also known to people as the "Athens of the North" and its actual name is the National Monument. According to a friend of a friend we met, he said something about the Scottish wanting to replicate the building (The Pantheon I'm assuming?) but gave up halfway because they were like, "Why the hell do we need to be copying someone else?" and so they stopped working on it.
That was what the story registered as in my head, but I could be wrong! Hit up wikipedia if you want to know why this happen, please don't take my word for it! It seems like a legitimate story though. From the pictures you can clearly see that they just stopped building. The edges aren't finished off neatly, it is just there. It just stops.
I find that pretty amusing. And I guessed, being unfinished, it draws extra tourist attention to it. From the front, the columns look stunning and perfect, but when you walk around the corner, oops, that's it.
A very 2D experience.
But, the view up on the hill is GREAT. You get an aerial view of Edinburgh, without having to strain your calf muscles! Nobody can complain about that. In addition, there is a HUGE green space up at the top of the hill, perfect spot for a summer picnic!
(I feel a sense of deja vu when I type the words "for a picnic" it seems as though i've said it about so many places, and I have yet to go on any picnics since Summer of 2014. Why. I definitely need to have a picnic this summer!)
But yes, even though I enjoyed my climb up to Arthur's seat, and the whole experience with the thorny bushes, I must say, from the top of Calton Hill you practically get the same feeling of almost being blown away by the strong Edinburgh winds and a view that is just as great (ok, it comes in a close second, but its good enough!)
All WITHOUT having to "work for it". Now who wouldn't want that? :)
18 April 2015 Calton Hill, Edinburgh, City of Edinburgh EH1 3BJ, UK
Since the forecast predicted that it would rain that sunday, we woke up early in the morning, and started making our way to the top of the hill.
It was a nice early morning with the sun shining, dog-owners walking their dogs, and people jogging or doing their morning exercise.
Walking along the green fields was something so foreign since living in London, we don't really have many green fields to frolic around. It was a great decision to head up in the morning, its like having a nice easy morning hike with fresh air and a beautiful view.
However, after walking for a while, we realised that we took the wrong route - mostly because none of us were using any maps. But taking everything into our stride, we just decided to head in the general direction of UPWARDS through the grass instead of the pavement.
Half way through the climb, we found a rock. From the angle we were looking at it, it was just a nice blend between the sky and the land, and I had a brilliant idea that we should all take photos there - mostly because I wanted to - and so we did.
Besides, I was getting moderately tired from the steep angle of the slope, and you can probably tell from this, I'm not much of a hiker.
I decided to put on my heat tech for that day, expecting that it would be quite cold, and thank goodness I did, or the breeze would have frozen my tummy. Also, can you tell that I totally dressed for the occasion with that GREEN Floral Sweater? ;)
WHAT I WORE
Green Floral Sweater - Thailand / Boots - Topshop / Bag - Random store on the street in Paris / Sunglasses - Accessorize / Cardigan - coldwear.sg
Eventually, after attempting not to trip over rocks and stones or fall from the unevenness of the ground, we made it to the top!! As you can tell from my naturally blown out hair, the wind was INSANELY strong. It felt as though I could have been blown right off with it.
The winds on the ground level of Edinburgh are already pretty strong, so being on an elevated place, it was massive! Every one on top of Arthur's Seat were just trying to make sure they keep both feet on the ground.
Of course, that slightly tiring (well since we took a longer route and climbed along the slope of the hill) we had to spend sometime admiring the scenery from the top.
As usual, whenever Im on the top of the world, I break in to that song, and that's what i did for a brief moment before people started staring at me weirdly.
We headed off from the back of the hill, navigate through rocks and what seemed to be heck of an uneven route, and them came face to face with tall bushes with pretty yellow flowers. The catch? They were THORNY bushes!
But it was a fun experience we could boast about, and every time someone were to ask me "How was Edinburgh?" This story of climbing Aurthur's Seat is bound to come up!
Eventually we made it to a pathway, and headed down the hill the normal way. After we made it to the foot of the hill, we manage to catch a lovely rainbow in the sky. What an incredible way to end our morning climb up Arthur's Seat!
Do you have any interesting hiking experiences? Share in the comments below!