Edinburgh and Scottish Highlands Tour (Part 1)

Four days of Easter holidays was a good enough reason to set out for an exploration of the United Kingdom. Earlier, Switzerland and France were also in the picture but then I pictured my parents lashing out at me for wasting all that money and so I had to settle down for something nearer. Wales and Scotland were the options which came to my mind, and so Scotland it was. We planned for a 2.5 days tour to Edinburgh and the Highlands almost a month before Easter. Easter is one of the busiest time here as the tourist season starts from April and its a good practice that everything is booked well in advance. 

We started on a cold Good Friday morning from the Railway Station in Manchester and took the train to Edinburgh. The train reminded me of DDLJ and I did peeped out of the door to see if Simran was anywhere in sight! 

simran

No! Thats not her! 😦

The train journey was quite eventful as the train snaked through the lush green mountain terrains and gave us a glimpse of the life beyond the cities. We arrived at Edinburgh at 9.15 am and got down at the Haymarket Station. After a quick dump-bags-in-B&B act, we took a cab to the Waverley Bridge. It was then that the beauty of the city struck us like a bolt of lightening. 

Edinburgh is the Capital city of Scotland and one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. The moment you are there, you will feel a strong urge to be lost in its streets. You would want to walk around not knowing where you want to go and just absorb the beauty around you. I don’t know what makes everything so incredibly beautiful in this city. Is it the perfect blend of the new and the old? Its a city which overwhelms you instantly.

img_3599This is the Waverley Bridge. The city tour buses start from this bridge(from the point where the Red bus is standing). The Princess Mall is on the other side of the bridge. All the buildings which you can see are a part of the old town. The place where the Waverley station is built was once the Nor Loch(pronounced lo-kh), which was the city’s water supply and the dumping ground of sewage. It was drained in 1820 and a New town was created just opposite to the old town. The soil was dumped in the drained canal which created a mound. This is how the mound looks like now:

img_3617Impressive. Isn’t it? This is the National Gallery of Scotland which was build on top of the mound and the railway lines were tunneled right below it. I took this photograph while climbing the Scott Monument which is another beautiful piece of architecture built in 1845. 

img_3865This is the Scott Monument which provides a breathtaking view of the city. You can see the Edinburgh Castle and the Firth of Forth at the same time. Here is a view of the New Town. The New town was built starting from 1766 and was a solution to the ever increasing population in the Old Town.

img_3610

Coming back to the Waverley Bridge!! We took the Bus and boat tour which took us through the various landmarks of the city and finally on a boat trip into the Firth of Forth. The boat trip was a memorable experience as it took us below the Forth Road Bridge and then below the iconic Forth Rail Bridge which was opened in 1890 and is considered as the one internationally recognised Scottish landmark. 98 workers lost their life during its construction. 

img_3397The Forth Rail Bridge

img_3404The Road and the Rail bridge. Both the Bridges connect Edinburgh with Fife.

There are a lot of islands strewn over the Firth of Forth. The Ferry stops at the Inchcolm Island. You can get down there and take back the next ferry or may come back in the same one. There will be a lot of Seagulls around and if you are lucky enough(as we were!!), you can spot Seals too.

img_3436


img_3490

There are a variety of Bus tours available which you can book from Here.

After having a quick bite(which was roasted pork and duck with boiled rice for me 😉 ), we headed towards the Royal Mile. The Royal Mile in the Old Town is a mile long stretch between the Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse and is the most picturesque part of the city. We headed towards the Edinburgh castle which stands on top of a volcanic rock. The site has been inhibited since the Bronze age and the building of the present castle dates back to the 12th Century. A few pictures of the Castle, the Royal Mile and the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

img_3660The Edinburgh Castle

img_3842The Royal Mile

img_3651The Royal Mile

img_4229The Palace of Holyroodhouse

Camera Obscura is also a wonderful place to visit. It is located near the Edinburgh castle and contains some great illusions, 3D holograms and a thermal imaging camera. 

img_3829The illusion of parallel mirrors

img_3835

We spent the rest of the day roaming around the city on foot. There was a very happy feel to the city. Everyone was laughing and enjoying and why not? It was Easter! There were Bagpipers playing the beautiful instrument and there was a man sitting near an ancient structure on the Royal Mile playing a Violin. There were people sitting in the street bars and chatting happily. Finally, we had a beer in a Bar near the Picardy Place Roundabout before heading back to the B&B. It was a beautiful day and I fell in love with a city for the first time. Now I know how it feels like! 🙂

The next day we went to the Highlands, another scarcely inhibited and breathtaking part of Scotland with some tragic history. More on it in the next post. I leave you with a few random pics.

 

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The Scott Monument

img_3859The Bagpipers at the Royal Mile

img_3594From the Top of the Scott Monument

img_3749Inside Edinburgh Castle

img_3584Inside the Scott Monument

img_3875In front of a Multiplex in the New Town

img_3844St. Giles Church on the Royal Mile

To be continued….

p.s. there are an overwhelming large number of photographs in my collection. 950 to be precise for the 2.5 days!!! If you still have an appetite left, then you can view 70 of them here. 

 

57 comments on “Edinburgh and Scottish Highlands Tour (Part 1)

  1. Amit, Thanks for the lovely tour of the place. The train station (second picture) reminded me of my toy set. I also like your new header image and the green-green look. Oh and hey, don’t worry too much about spending, right things at right time. Who wants to be 60 with lot of money but inability to travel? I’d say spend all your earnings in Europe!

  2. Awesome snaps dude…… 🙂 Must have been a cool tour….. 🙂 guessing by all your recent posts, I think that you are not under project pressure at the moment….. 🙂
    as you have been travelling a lot!!!

    Great dude!!!!

  3. @Reema : Thanks! Well, there were people from other countries who were buying the traditional dress and trying it. The thought did crossed my mind. 🙂

    @Arpit : Thanks!

    @Indeah : Thank you. And, its a nice traditional dress. 🙂

    @Priyank : You are welcome! Yes, they did looked like toys from there. 🙂 Hmmm…Yes, I agree with you. I am thinking about Paris in May. 😉

    @Gethuaadmin : Thanks!

    @Ordinary Guy : Thanks. Well, project pressure thankfully does not spill over in the weekends. Otherwise its pretty hectic in the weekdays. 🙂

    • Thanks!! Well, I have eaten beef, turkey and squids too! 😛 I actually don’t care about all the nonsense around what I should eat and what I shouldn’t. Its my stomach. Isn’t it? 😉

  4. Another great travel post – loved the pictures.

    I notice you mentioned staying at a B&B. Are B&Bs the typical way to go as compared to hotels in that area? I need to try out one some day.

    • Thanks!
      Yes, B&Bs are much cheaper than Hotels and they have a very homely feel to them. They are actually houses and people use them to earn a quick buck during the peak seasons. So far the experience has been good. The B&B at the Isle of Wight was also good.

  5. Lovely pictures. Don’t miss the tulips in Holland though. I think the Tulips blooming season must be just starting or around the next couple of weeks. I have heard duck is tastier than the chicken, what’s your opinion? 😛

    • Holland!!! Hmm..I don’t know which country will be the cheapest right now! 😛 I am thinking about going to Paris in May. Lets see how that materialize.
      Yes, Duck is definitely tastier than chicken. Its much softer. Do try it! I even liked Salmon a lot. Tried it a few days back. Its soooooo soft!

  6. i love the scott monument… if i was in ur place i would go and see one of the EPL matches… i would give anything to watch a ManU match….

    • Yes, it was beautiful. And yes I’ll be going to watch the match. It happens too close to me to miss it!!! I was just waiting for my new camera to arrive so that I could zoom and take good snaps! 😛

  7. Great pictures as usual Amit.
    Edinburgh is one of my favourite cities.
    If you are interested in good vegetarian food nearly as good as home cooked food in Edinburgh try Kalpana restaurant.

    • Thanks Prerna! We were very surprised to find two Indian restaurants there. I don’t remember the name but it was nice to see them. Most of the times we were eating in the Food court of the Princess Mall. Seems like I should have asked you and Shefaly before going there. 😦

  8. Amit:

    You went to _my_ Edinburgh (and I am pretty sure you didn’t read my two posts on what to do there before you went)!

    That multiplex is where I watched films, and my apartment was the only one on the street (straight down from National Gallery’s entrance on Prince’s St) which looked all the way to the Firth of Forth. I have spent many afternoons in the Galleries both in town and in Dean Village a short walk from New Town.

    Did you go up Calton Hill to see how Edinburgh looks from there or up Arthur’s Seat? Did you see the Queen’s castle at the end of the Royal Mile (why do you think it is called the Royal Mile?)? The tracks really do divide the city up neatly and there are some excellent places to eat. Prerna mentioned Kalpana on my posts too I remember 🙂

    Edinburgh, without a doubt, is the prettiest city in the whole of the UK. And if you had been on the east coast train you would have seen how lovely Newcastle and how majestic the river Tyne look from the train. As it was, you probably went via Carlisle. Nice route but the east route is stunning. Go on that ride if you can sometime.

    • OMG! You lived there?? I had no idea. I remember your Switzerland and USA trip but I had no idea you have been to Edinburgh. 😦
      I would have given anything to stay a few more days there and visit all the Museums and galleries. I realized that the moment I landed in the city. 🙂
      I walked till the foot of the hill but was too tired to climb it. But yes, the Scott Monument and the Edinburgh Castle did gave some good views of the city.
      Yes, I saw the Queen’s Castle. It was eye popping. Its a shame that they did not allowed us to take photos. Also, the Queen’s Gallery was very beautiful.
      Believe me, I had no hunger when I was roaming around. I just wanted to see as much as I could. 🙂
      We came through the Carlisle route and went back through Lockerbie and Preston. It too had a beautiful landscape. Some people mistook a few of my photographs of the landscape as wallpapers. 🙂
      I missed out a lot of things and I am sad about it. Lets see if I could return some day. 🙂

      • Amit

        I lived in Edinburgh for 3.5 years. I only moved back to London two years ago. During that time I was in Cambridge working on the PhD so I spent a lot of time on the train (5hr journey one way). If you look for ‘things to do in Edinburgh’ on my blog, you will find two posts. I have also lived in Switzerland and the USA (but you are referring to my posts about recent trips there).

        Edinburgh is a compact but stunning city indeed. In most places in the UK, they let people take photos. It is probably around the working parts of the castle that they must have prevented you. Go again if you can but also make time for the western isles this time. Or if you have limited time on hand, this is a great time to do day-trips to Cambridge and Oxford. The backs of colleges in Cambridge have crocuses and daffodils at this time but soon it is exam time so the window is short (some colleges do not allow visitors during pre-exam periods when students are revising).

        You can always visit London next 🙂 There are two sets of bank holidays coming up in first week of May and the last one.

        • You are very lucky to have lived in such a beautiful place for 3.5 years. I finally read your posts. Well, I have missed quite a few places.
          I will definitely be on a trip in the last week of May. Where is what I don’t know. 🙂
          London, yes, is definitely on the cards.

  9. hey, wow ..u hav been on los of trips nowadays..great.
    have lots of fun n do keep writing posts bout them…best way to know about the places which i can not go myself.
    n well this Edinburgh has a special place in my heart coz i got Duke of Edinburgh for young people.
    At that time I didnt knew anything bout Edinburgh but then did a whole lot of research to know bout it.
    Will catch more pics on picasa.
    your isle of wright(i hope it spelled it right) pics are my wallpaper already!

  10. Nice explanation. By any chance, if I get an opportunity to visit this place, I can refer your article and have a nice trip 🙂

    I expect you to visit as many places as you can because in opportunity is very rare.

    When you told that you changed plan, i remember your suggestion in your latest hitchhikers series. You should never feel like that even for one place also.

    Pictures are very nice and most of the architecture is similar to paris.

    Immediately after seeing your blog title, i remeber ‘Euro trip’ movie 😉

  11. Breath Takin Pics Amit! That is the beauty of living in a new place and exploring all of that it has to offer.

    Will look out for some pics of you during your explorations..! 🙂

  12. @Kanagu, @Chirag : Thanks.

    @Abha : You never know where life would take you. 🙂 And, thanks for using then as a wallpaper. Even I have not done that. Ghar ki murgi daal barabar. 🙂

    @Vijaya Bharat : Yes, you can always do that. 🙂 Well, I intend to visit as much places as possible and keeping track of my bank balance at the same time. 🙂 God knows how much time is left for me in UK.

    @Deepsm25 : Thanks. Yes, its great.

  13. How were the Scottish babes dude? Arent they more beautiful than babes elsewhere in UK…and they are more lively too..and I love their accent man..

    Btw, good write ups..wanna try travel writing now?

    • Well, Scottish Babes are as hot as English babes but yes, there accent is something. In fact Scottish accent is one of its kind. 🙂
      Travel writing? Hmmm…not there yet. 🙂

  14. Pingback: Edinburgh and Scottish Highlands Tour (Part 2) « Mashed Musings

  15. @Smita : Thanks! Yeah I knew you would like that one!! 🙂

    @Priya : Thanks! Well, not necessarily. Everything comes at a price and I am not talking about money. 🙂

  16. Hi, I have visited your blog first time. I really loved the photos that you have uploaded. I cant even imagine places like this. If I add you to my blogroll will you add me to yours…write to you soon, bye

  17. You should have visited Glasgow if you want the real Scotland, I mean I know you wanted to feel a sense of wilderness and have a whole rural feeling within Scotland and the Highlands are good for that, however, Edinburgh is a sort of “sell out” city that acts overly “Scottish” so it can rip tourists off to make up for its lack of industry lol. I am glad you enjoyed your visit to our little island though 🙂

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