Friday, 15 September 2017

Edinburgh Travel Diary

Today I'm going to post my last travel diary of the summer (insert sad face here). I've loved doing them and I have definitely gotten the travel bug and just want to go everywhere at this stage. As I have said before I think these posts are great to help anyone visiting these places or for the people who just want a nosey as to what I did when I was on my travels. So even though I'm back at college I am definitely planning my next adventures and will always be sure to take ye on my next trip. 

In the last week of August I hopped on a plane and went to Edinburgh, Scotland as I actually have a friend living over there which made the trip a whole lot easier and cheaper and of course it was fab to see her because we hadn't seen each other in 3 years. I got a 6am flight from Dublin which was definitely a bad idea because I had to get an 11pm bus from Cork so I was basically up for like 40 hours which was not fun at all. So just because a flight is cheap think through the logistics if you have to travel to the airport etc. But anyway, when I arrived Christina picked me up from the airport, we dropped my suitcase in her flat as I stayed with her for the few days and went food shopping. 

University of Edinburgh
After we went back and had lunch (and a nap) we walked into the city centre which was about 30 minutes away from Christina's flat and went to see the University of Edinburgh first where she studies. I thought it would be a closed off campus like colleges here but it was all open and part of the city. The place was mobbed because I was there during The Fringe so it's supposedly not like that at all usually. 
Royal Mile
Our next stop was The Royal Mile and then the castle. As I said the place was absolutely packed but there was such a great atmosphere around because of the festival. The streets there are so old looking but they're absolutely beautiful. 
Edinburgh Castle
We then called into the Old University campus which was an enclosed place that was so stunning (even though it has nothing on UCC!). It was almost like a quad and there were some signs in Irish so I was obviously delighted being the Gaeilgeoir that I am, they're in Irish because the current president of the university is Irish (in case you were curious because I was). 
Old College, University of Edinburgh
Old College, University of Edinburgh
We stopped off for coffee in a place called Patisserie Valerie and the cake we had was incredible but the place was full of tourists with not the friendliest of staff so if it's quiet definitely pop in there but I wouldn't personally back if it was crazy busy. 
Patisserie Valerie 
We walked back through The Meadows to get home and it's basically a park close to town that would be a perfect place to chill on a sunny day or go for a run or use their tennis courts. I found that everything was so incredibly close to each other and the bus service was so good over there which is great. 
George Square 
So we got back to the flat and picked up Christina's car to drive out to a place called Portobello. It's a little seaside town that comes alive on sunny days like that day. There were so many buskers absolutely everywhere which made for a really nice atmosphere. There was a boardwalk that we strolled along by the beach. As I said everything is so close so I'd say it was around a 20 minute drive out there from the city centre which is just fab. 
Portobello Beach ft me and my Scottish bud Christina 
Portobello Beach 
We then took a drive up Arthur's Seat as we were going to climb it earlier in the day but decided against that. You can drive up to a certain point and then would have had to climb up to the top. The view was just stunning looking out onto the whole of the city. There was so much greenery around for being so close to the city. There was also a park called Holyrood Park that we went through which was also gorgeous. When I'm back next I will definitely climb up to the top of Arthurs Seat and if you are traveling there if you have time then I would say to do it but there is another unreal view that wouldn't take as log to climb that I'll talk about later if you're short on time. 
Hollyrood Park 
Seeing as it was a Saturday night during The Fringe we went out for the night. We were planning on going to a show first but you know yourself the struggle of getting ready so we left that off. We went to a pub first called The Tron and went to The Hive after. Drink was so incredibly cheap out and they did student discount in the pub. They only thing is that nowhere accepted my age card or student card as ID so if you are going out I would suggest you bring your passport because you may need it to get into places. 
Princes Street 
After a late start to Sunday morning we head to Princes Street which is the main shopping street and area in Edinburgh. I of course popped into Primark and Kiko along with Superdrug. The streets going off Princes Street would be a fab place just to stroll though and explore. This is the main street really in the city so it's definitely worth a stroll down even if you're not wanting to shop. 

Princes Street 
As I said earlier there is another great view point and that is Calton Hill. If you walk up to the bottom  of Princes Street and keep going up youll see a little tune off on the left for Calton Hill, so once again very central to everything. There are a few points up the hill to see the views from, you can see the sea from one side and the city from the other. You can also see Arthur's Seat from there and the castle. 
Calton Hill 
This was definitely the place I realised how much I loved Edinburgh. I have never felt at home anywhere that I have been but it was completely different here, I could see myself living there and never wanted to go home. You have a bustling city next to gorgeous walks and nature and the beach and sea is just down the road everything is so close together. My mom suggested I try and transfer my course over there but we all know how much I adore UCC so the current plan is to do a masters in Edinburgh or even just live there at some stage in my life because I fell head over heels in love with the place. 
Calton Hill 
On Sunday evening we made a road trip to Dumfries, that's where Christina is from because I hadn't seen them in 3 years so I had to make a visit. It was around an hour and a half drive which wasn't bad at all and the roads were so much better than the ones here. The countryside looks so similar to Ireland and loads of things were quite similar to home so I definitely didn't feel like I was a million miles away from home. 
We just chilled and caught up for the evening and the following day the weather was horrible and rainy but we didn't let that stop our adventures. We started off by going into the town of Dumfries which was a lot smaller than I thought it would be but we had a gorgeous lunch in a little cafe and then we took a drive out to Mabie Forest, had a little stroll around there and then onto the beach. 
Kirkbean Beach
After all of that we went to Drummuir Ice Cream Farm which did the most incredible ice cream. I went for custard cream and coconut and you got a huge tub for only a couple of pounds which I was seriously impressed with. Most of the food over in Scotland was a lot cheaper than Ireland and even though the pound was really weak when I was there, it still would have been more affordable. 
Drummuir Ice Cream Farm
That evening we got the train back to Edinburgh as my flight was early the next morning but we made a stop off in Five Guys before we went back to the flat. I know there is one in Dundrum but I've only ever in Dublin City when I visit but oh my god the burger addict that I am was amazed it was so nice. It was definitely more expensive than other takeaways but so unreal I legit am planning when I can go to Dundrum to get another Five Guys. If you love your burgers then definitely try and get to one at some stage because they are fab. 
Five Guys 
Then the next morning I got a bus to Princes Street and then a bus out to the airport (their pubic transport is really good may I add) and unfortunately had to go home. I obviously bought the biggest bottle of Irn Bru I could find in the airport to bring home with me. I am already looking out for cheap flights to go back and see my new found favourite place and will definitely be back soon. This trip was so much easier than others since I had a place to stay and a local to show me around (shoutout to Christina, thank you for having me) but I hope you still enjoyed seeing what we did and hopefully this post helps anyone travelling there in the future. 
Ailbhe x 

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