Edinburgh for New Years

Happy Friday friends!

I’m a tad late on my post, but better late than never right? So, without further ado- my recap of my trip to Edinburgh.

Assen and I decided to go to Edinburgh after much, much deliberation. I think I’ve mentioned before, but it was his Mom’s birthday on the 26 Dec and she wanted to go somewhere for her birthday. We spent a lot of time researching different areas to go- Turkey, Malta, Spain, Portugal…but they were all very expensive! Finally, she decided she would come and visit us, so then Assen’s and my focus switched to something that would be nice to do while she was visiting. I’ve been wanting to go to Edinburgh for so long, so we decided we would head up there for New Year’s.

For those who don’t know (as I didn’t before I moved to the UK), Edinburgh is in Scotland. It is the second largest city in Scotland, and seventh in the UK. It seats the Scottish monarchy, and the Stone of Destiny. It is also a very, very pretty place!

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On the 31st December, we woke up bright and early, and hit the road. It’s about a 6.5 hour drive- which as a Canadian, I thought “That’s not bad!” and every British person responded with “You guys DROVE that far?!”.

We arrived in Edinburgh just in time to pick up our tickets for the New Years’ event we were going to. Edinburgh is a city of festivals, and New Years is no exception. They section off all of “Old Town” and have various bands playing at different stages, fireworks every hour, and thousands of people in attendance. When we were researching it, we saw it’s been highlighted as “Top 100 things to do before you die” and appeared on Discovery Channel as a top 25 world experiences.

Therefore, we went to the party with very high expectations. My final say- it was fun but not a great event to go to with your boyfriend and his mom! I think with a large group of friends it would’ve been a very different experience. It was also quite cold outside- I had bundled up with three layers on, plus a toque, scarf and gloves- so I felt fairly warm. I also felt fairly old, as there were many 18-year olds out, and they were in skirts and thin jackets- and I kept commenting how cold they must be! This 29 year old is all about warmth over looking cool!

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However, no matter how many layers you have on- 3 hours outside is cold! I found I didn’t drink anything (except for a hot chocolate) since all the alcohol they were selling was beer and ciders- and the idea of drinking something cold while outside was not very appealing at all!

We listened to some of the bands, and enjoyed wandering around seeing everything. However, by about 11, being sober in a huge street party got a little less desirable. People were puking, stumbling around, and again- it was cold!

We stayed until the fireworks at midnight (which were truly magnificent) and wished each other a Happy new Years before heading back to our hotel.

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The good part about not drinking on New Years Eve was I started 2016 feeling great! We woke up at a pretty decent time, and decided to explore Edinburgh some. Sadly, one of the top sites to see in Edinburgh is Arthur’s seat, which is about a 40 minute hike for beautiful views, and we didn’t make it to that site. Hopefully next time? Assen’s mom was still feeling cold after being outside for 3 hours the night before, and none of us had packed any kind of hiking gear- so we ended up exploring Edinburgh castle instead.

When you go to the Edinburgh castle, you first walk by “The Royal Mile” which has stunningly beautiful buildings, on an old, narrow street.

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And then, you turn around, and the castle is there. The castle is built on a hill, therefore has beautiful views of the entire city.

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I took so many pictures of the Ferris wheel- it was just so pretty to see.

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While Assen and his mom wandered around, I decided to pay the extra couple of pounds and get an audio guide. I love learning, and love audio guides when I’m touring new places. If I get bored- I can continue on, but I get to learn more about what I’m seeing. The castle included a prison, a church, as well as the Scottish royal jewels and the Stone of Destiny.

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The Scottish royal jewels are beautiful to see (unfortunately, you can’t take pictures while viewing them, so I have no pictures from viewing them) However, if you’re going- prepare for it to take a while! They have a lot of background information while you wait to see it- speaking about Mary, Queen of Scots (who became Queen when she was 6 days old, and then lived in France for most of her life, had 3 husbands, eventually fled to England and after 18 years of house arrest was beheaded), the Stone of Destiny (which is a stone which has been used for centuries for royal coronations), as well as the jewels and how they avoided destruction.

It was interesting to learn about- but since we were tight on time, it made the rest of our tour quite rushed. We were there for about 2 hours and definitely did not have a chance to see everything- mostly because we spent at least an hour waiting to see the jewels.

By the time we made it out, the sun had set, and I tried to snap a few last pictures of the beautiful scenery around us.

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That night, we had tickets to see a symphony show, as Assen’s mom loves live music. We went back to our hotel, quickly got dressed up for a night out, and headed out for dinner before the show.

Clearly Assen and I were excited…

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I snapped a quick picture before the show started. I was quite happy with our seats, as although we weren’t overly close, we could still see everything.

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At intermission, we had some wine and felt very classy. 😉

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The next morning was our last morning in Edinburgh, so we woke up and got ready to head back home. But first we stopped at Rosslyn Chapel.

You may remember Rosslyn Chapel from Da Vinci Code- as it is the final chapel they go to in their quest for the Holy Grail. In real life, it’s neither confirmed nor denied that they do have any assocation with the Knights Templars, however the church itself is absolutely breathtaking.

 

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As per usual with most churches, you’re not allowed to take any pictures inside. But the carvings on the inside are truly stunning. I highly recommend checking our their website as it is beautiful! We spent over an hour here, just wandering around and identifying the various carvings.

Once we had finished at the church, we headed back to the car, and drove home. We drove through the Lake district in the UK, which is an absolutely beautiful drive. I tried to snap a quick picture- which the best one is still fairly blurry

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If you’re thinking of going to Edinburgh, I cannot recommend it enough. I absolutely loved the city and would love to go back and have more time to explore.

Sadly, since coming back from Edinburgh, I haven’t had a chance for any additional travels. I’m currently starting to plan my holidays for 2016, so if there’s somewhere in Europe that I just have to visit, please let me know!

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