Edinburgh, Scotland: Day 2

Day two in Edinburgh started off with more street wanderings. I came across old buildings and statues that doubled as roundabouts on major streets. Since I was traveling alone, I took my time and walked wherever I felt like going. I stayed as close as possible to the Edinburgh Castle area because I had a Scotch Whiskey tour at 11:00 am.

Once 10:15 am rolled around, I made my way to the Scotch Whiskey Experience located near Edinburgh Castle and the tartan weaving mill. My tour was not until 11:00 am, but my booking said to arrive early. I was able to receive a student discount (hooray) so the tour ended up being 14 pounds. I did the Silver Tour, which averages around 50 minutes in length and includes a whiskey “barrel” ride to learn about the history of Scotch (Scottish) Whiskey, some informational sessions with a guide, two samplings of two different Scotch Whiskeys, and a glass from the whiskey tasting. If you are a whiskey lover, there are other tours offered that are longer and allow for more whiskey sampling. For a newbie, the Silver Tour is a perfect choice!

Now, I would have booked my tour for later in the day. However, on Friday night, I decided I would do this tour and 11:00 am was listed as the only time available on the website. As Jimmy Buffet would say: “It’s five o’clock somewhere!” Booking tickets in advance is not necessary because you can walk up and purchase tickets. If you have a particular time in mind, though, I would suggest booking tickets in advance.

I found the whole tour experience really fabulous! The “barrel” ride was quick and not boring, my guide happened to be very knowledgeable and engaging. I enjoyed learning about how different areas of Scotland infuse their whiskeys with different aromas and liked learning about the different malts (single vs. blended.)

The most entertaining part? I walked out of the tour tipsy. You read that correctly, friends. I sampled two different whiskeys and walked out TIPSY! My name is Sydney and I am a lightweight. In my defense, I only ate a muffin for breakfast and I fully acknowledge that I should have eaten more. I cannot say I feel inclined to drink whiskey straight or take a shot of it after my tour, but I loved the history aspect.

After my tour wrapped up around 12:00 pm, I decided to take my tipsy self and wander in some local shops and the Edinburgh museum (free attraction) before walking to the trailhead of Arthur’s Seat. I figured a hike in the Scottish winter air would quickly sober my lightweight self up.

Side note: Edinburgh has some of the cutest small businesses with local items from artisans that I have ever seen! If you have time when visiting, spending a couple of hours ducking in and out just to have a look at the quirky and unique items offered.

Originally, I had planned to hike Arthur’s Seat in the morning at sunrise. However, when my alarm went off and I checked the weather (foggy for the whole day) I decided to leave it for the afternoon and I am glad I did!

I would say a lot of people come to Edinburgh to simply hike Arthur’s Seat because the trek offers a beautiful view of the whole city. The hike in itself is not overly strenuous, but I do think you need to have either sturdy tennis shoes/joggers or hiking boots. I wore my hiking boots and felt relieved that I had done so because the ground was muddy and my ankles were well supported. All in all, I think getting to the top took less than an hour for me and was worth it!

Once I hiked back down from Arthur’s Seat, I popped into the Scottish Parliament. I did not have a tour booked (also free) so I could not go anywhere further than the lobby area. I did have a look at the photography exhibition before moving onto my next destination: the National Monument of Scotland.

Before I reached my final destination for the evening, I found yet another graveyard and decided to stop and have a look around.

Finally, I made it to the area where the National Monument of Scotland was found along with some other attractions and other views of Edinburgh.

By the time I wrapped up taking photos, I was ready to eat. I opted for a small sampling of traditional haggis and a rhubarb soda at a local restaurant. Both were delicious! Asking for a table for one the second time around was much easier!

I ended my evening by wandering through some more local shops and chatting with a mathematician/Ph.D. graduate of Cambridge at my hostel.

The following day I made my way back to the train station and said farewell to Edinburgh, Scotland. No mishaps this time around on the train! When I arrived back to Grantham, I opted to walk the 3.3 miles back to Harlaxton. Nothing beats a view like this one…

Hi, Harlaxton

I implore you to visit Scotland and to visit Edinburgh! You won’t be disappointed. See you back here on Monday!

Leave a positive impression,

Sydney xo

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