Although I’ve been to Edinburgh many times, it’s always been for a specific reason. I’ve visited friends, been to concerts, or gone shopping. I’ve never been to just visit Edinburgh. This year, the family did just that. We booked a hotel and did Edinburgh.
Fortunately, we visited just as a freak spring heat wave was hitting the Scottish capital. I was always led to believe that it usually rained in Scotland, and that summer is one day in May. I think the Scots have cunningly put this misinformation out in an attempt to stop the English moving North.
After the obligatory walk down Princes Street, dodging the trams, past the impressive rock mound of Edinburgh Castle, we headed up the hill towards the famous Royal Mile, which runs from the castle down to Holyrood Palace—via thousands of tourists. This part of the city is impressive in its age and scale. You can feel the history oozing from the cobbles and lofty stone buildings.
But, after a while, you feel like cattle. Street entertainers work for cash, hawkers try to press gang you into their “attraction” and signs shout at you: buy me, buy me! Time to get away from the crowds. We headed back to the New Town area, where we were based.
Crossing the North Bridge over Waverley Rail Station and its strange greenhouse roofs, we spotted classical monuments on the hill to the North. Right, let’s head over there. This is a part of Edinburgh we’d never seen before.
Calton Hill contrasts with the rest of Edinburgh by being relatively sparse, only holding a few monuments and buildings, largely built in the 19th century. You get an impressive view across the valley to the South and the Forth estuary to the North.
Climbing on the National Monument in the warm sunshine, you start to feel like you are in some Mediterranean county, except these columns still look pretty intact (if somewhat incomplete).
I’m already starting to like Edinburgh more. Time to go back down the hill and explore…