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lafalott Edinburgh - A travel report by Katrina
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Edinburgh,  United Kingdom - flag United Kingdom
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lafalott's travel reports

Edinburgh, the Haunted City

  15 votes
The haunted atmosphere of Edinburgh is not made any better by the dark buildings, the grey weather, or the screams that can be heard in the middle of the night. However, it will peak your curiosity...


Old buildings in the Old city
Old buildings in the Old city
From the minute I got out of the bus station and took in the city there was a definite spooky vibe. Since it was in the middle of the night, the grey and black buildings contributed to this feel. However, it is not an uncomfortable feeling, it just made me even more curious to see the city in the daylight and learn a bit about its history. When morning came around the buildings were still a dirty grey and the sky overcast. However, now, one could see the buildings in more detail. Especially on the Old city, the tall buildings, some with winding staircases up the front still looked eerie. Standing on Princes street facing the Old town you could see the huge rock with the castle on top. It reminded me of something out of a dracula story! I know I make the city sound grim, but it really is an experience. At night you even feel like you are living back in time when the streets are empty and you hear the odd scream from another street!

I do wonder if they would clean the buildings what Edinburgh would look like, or if they don't do it on purpose...to add to the Edinburgh experience?

Walk is much for eventful, however if you feel the need to take public transport when you have your hands full with luggage, it is a good system. And of course they are double decker busses! You can get a per ride ticket which is 1 pound, or a day ticket which is 2.30 pounds. I am not sure about weekly tickets.

Rose street, about 2 blocks away from Princes street walking away from the Old city is the street with all bars and restaurants. So if you are hungry, or thirsty that is the spot many locals head (apparently).

If you want to take a shopping break, take a stroll on and around Princes street where you will find many of the bigger stores, more popular shops.

If you are on a student budget, find a place where you can cook yourself. Buy your food at the local supermarket and you will spend much less money than if you went out to eat everyday. We saved a bundle!

Favourite spots:
old town
old town
The Old town was definitely my favourite place to explore. There were so many winding streets and closes (like little alleyways between buildings) to explore. The Royal Mile is located in the heart of the Old city, starting from the castle and going all the way down to the new Scottish parliament building. Along this strip there are very many bars, tourist shops, and closes (my personal favourite: The World's End Close). Near the castle there is even a church that has been turned into a bar (or a restaurant, I'm not sure). Take a walk down the Royal Mile at night and look for a bar with some live Scottish music. It is very entertaining and the people are just so happy to be drunk and dancing around! The ones that we went to were always completely packed with no room for sitting. Also, at the end of the Royal Mile there is the new, very modern Scottish Parliament building, another castle nearby, and a nice spot for some hiking.

What's really great:
Edinburgh Castle at night
Edinburgh Castle at night
The Edinburgh Castle was really something that must be seen. It is a little pricey for the entrance fee (about 10 pounds), but there is so much more inside the walls than just a castle. Each section has its own exhibition or museum. You can see the crown jewels including the Stone of Destiny and the coronation stone for Scots kings. A visitor can also see the royal apartments, the royal history, and the history of the castle since it was built. A fairly new addition, I believe, was the Prisons of War experience. The National War Museum of Scotland is also in the castles walls. There is much more which I cannot remember at the moment. To properly see everything you need the better part of a day. On a clear day there is also a spectacular view of the city (well, from what I saw), however when I was there it was cloudy and foggy.

Sights:
Atop Arthur's Seat - best viewed at bigger sizes so you can see the city.
Atop Arthur's Seat - best viewed at bigger sizes so you can see the city.
The city is very easy to walk, so dont bother with the public transportation unless you are leaving the city center. If you are up for some hiking on a nice day, take a walk down to the Royal Mile (away from the castle) and you will find Arthurs Seat. There are a few routes around the area and you get a great view of the city at the top. It takes about 2hrs up and down for those who are on a schedule, otherwise I suggest taking your time and taking in the view!

If the haunted vibe intrigues you, take a ghost tour of the city...at night (for optimal effect)! We went on a tour called the Ghosthunters train offered by Mecenat tours. We were told they were the most authentic tour company with no theatricals to try and scare you. Our tour guide was an amazing storyteller...she took us through some Closes with stories, into the Vaults and told us about Mr. Boots, and through some graveyards with interesting occupants.

Accommodations:
Bruntfield Hostel
Bruntfield Hostel
The first night we stayed at the Castle Rock hostel, which their claim of being a stones throw away from the castle is absolutly true. However, it is not part of the Scottish Youth Hostels Association and we found it to be extremely budget with no locks on the doors and noisy at night since it was in the middle of the Old city.

The next night we moved to the Bruntsfield Hostel. It was a 20min walk from the Old city, but we took the route through the parks which was pretty and refreshing with all the activities. The location was extremely quiet at night since it was in a more residential neighborhood. However a few blocks away there was a more main street with bars, cafes and shops so it was not isolated in any way! The hostel itself was very clean, with excellent and friendly staff. There was a kitchen for all the guests to use which was kept very clean. Our only problem was figuring out how to use the oven...you had to light it with a match!

Published on Thursday May 25th, 2006


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Fri, May 26 2006 - 11:37 AM rating by rangutan

... will certainly try "Mecenat Tours" for that spooky fun event. Most "old european" old cities are much like this though!

Fri, May 26 2006 - 07:10 AM rating by frenchfrog

Katrina, it is really a lovely report with loads of info provided, very pleasant to read, and well writen.

Fri, May 26 2006 - 03:33 AM rating by marianne

Katrina,
What a pleasure to read and loads of useful information. I especially like the way you describe the eerie atmosphere, excellent writing. What a shame that the sun did not shine, but it seems it never does. I was twice in Edinburgh, and both times it poured. After reading your reports I might try a third time.
This report deserves 6*, but the system doesn't allow it.
Marianne

Fri, May 26 2006 - 02:01 AM rating by ravinderkumarsi

excellent report,nice picture,well written.

Thu, May 25 2006 - 04:07 PM rating by mistybleu

Katrina, a very intersting report. I actually love Edinburgh, but I do understand the 'haunting' feeling experience, but it's way cool.

Thu, May 25 2006 - 03:47 PM rating by st.vincent

Good report on a City that I know quite well. You are right about the eerie atmosphere in the old streets around the Royal Mile, even more so if you arrived at night. Great photo from the top of Arthur's Seat.

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