Dear Friends & Family,
When the alarm went off at 3:30am, I didn't need to hit snooze because I was anxious to get up and get ready to head to the airport. I hit snooze anyways. Our stuff was all packed, our clothes were laid out, and we had 45 minutes. I wanted to rest as much as possible knowing that we would land in Edinburgh by noon.
During the nine minute snooze I thought about what I should expect from Edinburgh. Nothing. I had no expectations or ideas of what Edinburgh was going to be like. Yes, I tried looking up things to do and places to see, but I knew that once I was there I wouldn't follow a list or a map. That's not how John and I travel. We like to just get lost in a city. I think the only things I will look up are places to eat before a trip.
We had a layover in Amsterdam Schipol, and the only reason I'm mentioning this is because their airport is better than London Heathrow. John and I had a six hour layover at Heathrow from our recent trip coming back from the US, and in terminal 5 that everyone has claimed to be the best terminal we found nothing special. The chairs were uncomfortable, there were minimal charging docks that one person would hog with all 4 of their electronic devices, and the quiet area faces the rising sun. At Schipol, their sitting areas were all cushioned chairs each with an electric outlet. They had work space areas that allowed privacy also with its own electric outlet. Just to note, if you find yourself at this airport, give yourself time to get to your gate. When we were walking to our gate, we realized we had to go through passport check and security.
When we arrived, we easily found the bus that would take us in to the city. The double decker bus looked like the bus we take in Berlin when we're going home on Potsdamer Straße. The best seat is upstairs in the very front. You get the best view of the city, and it was the perfect introduction to Edinburgh.
It was a 30 minute ride into the city, and as soon as we stepped off the bus we heard bagpipes. We were surrounded by the most amazing scenery of stone buildings, churches, and a castle that stood high on a hill. John lead me through Old Town to our hotel, and I was falling in love with the city with each step I took.
We were able to check in to our hotel early, and we were so pleased with our room and its view of King Arthur's Seat. We unfortunately were unable to hike there during our trip but having that view was the next best thing.
After we dropped our bags and ate our packed lunch, we left our hotel to explore the city. Right away we found Greyfriars Kirkyard, a graveyard in the middle of Old Town. John was envious of the homes that overlooked this 16th century site. I was enamoured by the layers of stoned buildings that surrounded us as far as I could see. I could hear the faint sounds of bagpipes in the distance. Edinburgh had stolen my heart.
We walked through the graveyard and found a path that lead us down and out to the street. We were below the main road we had walked to get to our hotel. The street was quiet, the road was narrow, our sense of exploring was heightened. We found a bar offering craft beers, and we quickly decided to take a beer break.
Edinburgh awakened my true love for beer. Berlin has cheap beer, but there isn't a lot of variety. Only a few places offer craft beers or anything other than a Pilsner or a Hefeweizen. I felt like the few places we went in Edinburgh offered a great selection of IPAs, red ales, and of course Guinness.
BrewDog gave a great first impression. The exposed brick, wood paneled walls covered with polaroids, and a line of taps offering a delicious variety of beers made me appreciate that time I used to work at a brewery.
Unfortunately the rest of our day wasn't too exciting as we were exhausted from waking up at 3:30am which was 2:30 am Edinburgh time. We explored alleyways, found a whisky place we bookmarked to try, checked out the view from the castle, wandered through the tartan weaving mill, and had really great burgers at Holyrood 9A before heading back to our hotel to crash by 9pm.
If that was our first day, I was excited to see how the rest of the trip would turn out.
Looking forward to sharing more of our trip in the next post!