My last adventure while abroad was a journey to Edinburgh, Scotland. This beautiful city is a short 45 minute flight from Dublin (it actually took longer to get from Limerick to Dublin that it did to get from Dublin to Edinburgh) and if the weather is clear, you can see Belfast on the way there!
Edinburgh is by far one of the most beautiful cities I have ever been to. It is filled with history, architecture, shopping, hiking, and just about everything in between. It has something for everyone.
My roommate and I stayed in a hostel called The Lighthouse Hostel and I highly recommend it to anyone who adventures to Edinburgh. It is a lovely, warm and cozy place where the staff are friendly and beyond helpful! They have maps of the city as well as tons of advice on the best places to see depending on your interests. Breakfast was included, they have free baggage storage, an awesome book trading selection, and free towels. It is a little out of the way compared to some other hostels but the atmosphere, price, and people make it worthwhile. We flew out on a Tuesday afternoon and spent the rest of the day settling in, and just relaxing. The hostel has a full kitchen so my roommate and I went grocery shopping to get food for the time we would be there. I highly recommend doing this because it is so much cheaper than eating out every meal. It only cost around 15 pounds for my roommate and I to buy sandwich fixings, pasta sauce (the hostel had left over pasta we used), some fruit, and a pizza to get us through the three days we were there. We went out once, on our last night there and that was the most expensive part of the food we bought. We only ate out twice, once at Subway and another at a little local Mexican restaurant so overall our food bill came out to about 15 pounds each over the course of 4 days.
The second day we hiked Arthur’s Seat which is a large hill/miniature mountain right smack in the middle of the city. It was quite a hike getting up there but the views from the top were some the best I’ve ever seen! You can see the port, the water, Edinburgh castle, and just about every other notable landmark in the city. I think this was my favorite part of the whole trip. We spent the rest of the day exploring the city and all it had to offer. We got to see Edinburgh Castle which also has amazing views, the Royal Mile which has tons of fabulous shopping, the Elephant House where J.K. Rowling was inspired to write Harry Potter, the Christmas market, and quite a few other things. It is an understatement to say we were exhausted by the end of the day.
The next day, we took an hour long train out to Glasgow. Glasgow is a beautiful city as well but it is quite different than Edinburgh. Glasgow is much more industrial whereas Edinburgh has more tourist attractions. The only time it rained was when we were in Glasgow but it was still lovely. The highlight of that adventure was being mistaken for locals and getting asked for directions by a Scottish person. I love when things like that happen because I feel like I look like a local and not a tourist. When we got back to Edinburgh, we went out to a pub on Grassmarket Street with two people who were also staying in our hostel. One was from Australia and the other was from Germany. So, we had an American (myself), a Belgian (my roommate), an Aussie, and a German all having a drink in a pub in Edinburgh. It’s moments like that that make me realize how lucky I was to be able to study abroad.
The next day was our last in Edinburgh and we had some time to kill before flying back to Dublin. There were still things in the city that we hadn’t gotten to check out yet so we did that and got some last minute souvenirs along the way. Overall it was an amazing trip with amazing people. As much as I loved Scotland I will say though I was so happy to get back to Ireland and the Irish accents!