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A Weekend Trip to Edinburgh, Scotland

by Emma Ferguson
A Weekend Trip to Edinburgh, Scotland | AIFS Study Abroad

My friend Abby and I decided to take a spontaneous weekend trip to Edinburgh, Scotland! Here’s how it went:

Friday

Because of a late class (school comes first!) on Friday, we took a late flight out of London Gatwick Airport and didn’t arrive into Edinburgh Airport until around 8 PM. We easily took the tram from the airport into the city center where we got off and went to our hostel, only a 10 minute walk from the tram station!

A Weekend Trip to Edinburgh, Scotland | AIFS Study Abroad

I have never stayed in a hostel before so I had no idea what to expect. I knew this hostel, St. Christopher’s Inn, was very good because a) I researched it and b) a few of my other friends here had recently stayed there and spoke very highly of it! I was also nervous, because I had messed up our reservation, accidentally overbooking our stay by 2 people. Luckily they are the nicest people ever, and allowed me to fix it and not pay the extra £80!

We were starving at this point, so we ventured out to find some grub. We found the cutest little Mexican place right around the corner from our hostel called Viva Mexico. The food was amazing, and the people were extremely nice and welcoming. After an appetizer, entrĂ©e and dessert, we headed back to Saint Christopher’s.

We went to our room and got ready for bed, because we had a big day on Saturday.

Saturday

We had reservations for a Highlands Tour so we were up early to grab some Starbucks before getting to the tour meeting spot. The weather was less than desirable being cold and rainy, so we were bundled up as we got on the big bus. Our tour guide, Jaime, was very informative and funny at the same time! We enjoyed various bagpipe songs and Scottish artists on our journey to Loch Ness.

A Weekend Trip to Edinburgh, Scotland | AIFS Study Abroad

Scotland is truly underrated. The Highlands from Glencoe to Loch Ness are absolutely gorgeous. The numerous lochs (lakes), are so pretty and strikingly dark-colored. I may or may not have spotted a little friend in one of them…

That night, after arriving back in Edinburgh around 8 PM, we hit the town and explored a few local establishments.

Sunday

It was a cold, gloomy day in Edinburgh, but we decided to venture outside anyway! After exploring a bit, we sat down to eat at a cute little cafĂ© just off of the famous Royal Mile. It was absolutely delicious (blueberry pancakes always hit the spot), and the waitress was extremely nice.

A Weekend Trip to Edinburgh, Scotland | AIFS Study Abroad

Feeling stuffed, we walked around the Royal Mile area, going into some small shops and such. We found the Royal Mile Market and went inside. I found the most adorable print pictures and got them for a steal: 3 for the price of 2! The market also had stands full of jewelry, antiques, wood carvings, t-shirts and other little items.

Edinburgh has multiple companies that offer free walking tours of the city, which we decided to skip because it was so cold outside. Continuing our own walking tour, we found the picturesque Victoria Street. A block or two off the Royal Mile, the curved downward-sloping street is lined with colorful shops and restaurants. We went in a Harry Potter themed store, ogled at a roasted pig in the window of the smokehouse and laughed at a practical joke store that has a huge pair of glasses with a nose and mustache as its sign.

Next we went over to the Scott Monument, a 300-foot Victorian Gothic monument to Scottish writer, Sir Walter Scott. The admission fee was ÂŁ5 but well worth it â€“ so were the some 200 steps in a narrow spiral staircase to the top. You get an amazing view of the downtown of Edinburgh, the castle and all the infrastructure around. You can even see all the way to the coast and the water that is the North Sea. It wasn’t the best day for pictures, because it was cold and overcast, but this attraction is still a must-do while in town.

After a quick dinner, we met up with some of my other friends that were in Edinburgh for the weekend as well. We met at a pub with great live music and beautiful tall ceilings. Great atmosphere and great people! We then headed back to the airport via the tram which was quick and easy yet again. We hopped on the plane back to London, which concluded our short weekend trip to Scotland.

This post was contributed by Emma Ferguson, who spent a semester studying abroad with AIFS in London, England.

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