Now my Mexico to Antarctica journey has officially started (writing this en route to Mexico City), I’ve promised myself to get back to blogging regularly. Although a lot of my stories may not be safe for work, I can at least share the awesome things to see around the world, and save the crazier stories for drunken barstool conversations.
One thing I really wanted to share with you guys was my recent trip to Scotland’s Capital, Edinburgh. Growing up in the UK, I wasn’t overly excited about visiting Edinburgh, but I wanted to show my girlfriend a taste of Scotland. My indifference was blown away within 30 minutes of arriving in Edinburgh, the history, the architecture, the people, the whisky! Anyways, the way the flight times worked out I only had 2 days in the Scottish Capital, so I had to make sure to use my time wisely.
I was staying at the Smart City Hostel, and being the best hostel in Edinburgh, they helped me plan an awesome 2 day schedule, one which I enjoyed thoroughly, so I’m going to share the love with you beautiful people safe in the knowledge that you’ll love it just as much as me.
I arrived in Edinburgh around lunch time, taking a wonderful train journey from London (if booked in advance, costs around $50). I checked in with the guys at Smart City and then hit Edinburgh hard!
First up after lunch, the suitably spooky Edinburgh Dungeons. The Edinburgh dungeons belong to the same company as the London Dungeons, but personally I rank Edinburgh’s even creepier (in a good way).
Edinburgh’s Dungeon’s are a short walk from the Waverly Train station (and 10 mins or so from my hostel), you can often get 2-for-1 vouchers online, and prices are around $20. Once you’re all signed up, you delve down a story or two until you enter the court room, where a less-than-happy Scottish judge sentences a few of the unfortunate crowd for old fashioned crimes. From there your group goes on a 45 minute ‘walk’ through the dungeons, where you meet some of Edinburgh’s most infamous folk from deranged cannibals to William Wallace.
All the ghouls, zombies and criminals are fully fledged actors, offering a really fun insight into the horror of times gone by. Personally I was loving it, but as you can see from the pic, my girlfriend was legitimately terrified, which in-turn probably made me enjoy it even more!
They even squeeze a couple of fairground rides into the submerged attraction, coupled with fake corpses everywhere, mirrored mazes and loud bangs, it’s really a fun day out with friends, partners or families. A definite must for Edinburgh.
After recovering from the Dungeon’s I headed over to one of Edinburgh’s oldest tourist attractions, the Camera Obscura and World of Illusions. I had heard about Camera Obscura in the past, and to be frank, it sounded like something more for a school science trip that something a backpacker, or couple, would be interested in.
I persevered none-the-less, and boy was I glad I made that decision. Camera Obscura is nothing short of awesome, whatever you do I Edinburgh, make sure you go here and give yourself at least 2 hours to run around and be an idiot. The building is 4 stories of weird and wonderful, interactive attractions. From rooms which appear to alter your size, to electric shocks, and another mirrored labyrinth, the place is seriously fun.
The Camera Obscura is a perfect place to forget that you’re an adult and sprint from one wobbly mirror to the next, I absolutely loved it. Make a special not to go through the revolving room, I challenge anyone to stay in that place more than 2 minutes without throwing up or passing out!
After a spot of dinner in a local Scottish pub, my last activity of the day was to join one of the renowned Mercat Walking Tours. These tours run every evening after sunset, and give you a dark insight into Edinburgh’s murky past. Your theatrical guide, complete with cloak and dagger, guides you round every nook and cranny of Edinburgh’s old town.
I was taken below the city proper, into where the old city was, 20m beneath the surface. Ghost stories are told by candle light and there’s the odd scream of terror from the less brave members of the group (my girlfriend included!).
The tours last 90 mins to 2 hours, and they end up with a morbid tour of a graveyard, tales of grave diggers and people being buried alive. It’s all very good fun, and a great way to sign off my first day in Edinburgh.
I was in bed by around 11 o’clock after such an action packed day in the city. Day 2 is equally as busy, so lay off the Scotch Whisky tonight, you can indulge tomorrow.