Edinburgh Is a Fairytale GetawayAt the beginning of July I headed for the green lands of Scotland to relax. I wanted to enjoy the beauty and contrast of a historic city, but to avoid the heat waves that usually hit Europe at this time of the year.
For me, Edinburgh was a magical place, one that resembled what I imagined when I heard fairytales. No wonder Robert Louis Stevenson and J.K.Rowling wrote their masterpieces here! You can explore the labyrinthical medieval Old Town and the elegant New Town or discover the eerie underground. There’s always something new to see and the best providers of tips and urban legends are the locals that you can befriends in pubs.
I arrived just in time for the Scottish festival dedicated to magic. As soon as I found out about it, I ditched my initial plans. I started my first day with a coffee in Princes Street Gardens, where i admired the floral clock and the impressive landscaping, then I climbed the 287 steps of the Scott Monument - a proper morning workout. Further on, I admired the crown-spired cathedral St. Giles and had a tasty brunch at the popular Elephant House, where I tried porridge, shortbread, some traditional sausages and of course, a cup of warm strong tea. Afterwards, I immersed myself in the fantasy world of the magic fair for a whole afternoon at Summerhall, watching the tricks and shows of talented magicians. Summer days are very long in Edinburgh, the sun sets after 9 pm, and I roamed on the cobbled streets of the Old City in the warm evening light on my way to the vibrant Grassmarket, where Scots crowd in bars and restaurants.
Though my first day was just perfect, the second day I woke up late to a stormy morning. I knew Edinburgh was rainy, so I was prepared with wellies and a big umbrella. I went to Sugarhouse Deli on Royal Mile to have a taste of their delicious sandwiches and coffee, determined to see afterwards the Parliament, which was close-by. But the wind and rain made it impossible to enjoy the day, so I grabbed some goodies for home , returned to my apartment for a productive day and finished a guide to do bulk mailings.
The rain stopped in the evening and I ventured in the chilly night to have a “ghost tour” tour of the Blair Street Underground Vaults, a system of caverns dating back to the 18th century. I could have taken a historic tour, but I opted for one filled with bloody stories, which ended with a glass of whisky in a candlelit cellar, a great opportunity to make friends with other tourists.
Next morning was also a bit rainy, so I started my visiting program with Camera Obscura, where I saw optical illusions and telescopic views of the city. I was happy to discover yet another magical place in Edinburgh. Close to it was the imposing Edinburgh Castle, an old fortress that preserves a mystical atmosphere, giving tourists chills in the gloomy days. As the evening approached, I went to New Town, had dinner at The Dome and admired the Georgian townhouse and Charlotte Square.
The last days were sunny and cool and I had the pleasure to explore the Royal Yacht Britannia, the Queen’s floating residence. I said farewell to Edinburgh with a long walk in the Botanical Garden and an entertaining night at The Stand, an iconic comedy club.
In Edinburgh, temperatures don’t exceed 660 F in July, which is perfect if you want to wonder everywhere by foot, like I did. What I loved most about Edinburgh is that it’s an eclectic and lively city, but a small-sized one, which allows you to get lost on its streets discovering architectural details and quirky boutiques.