Elchin Ibrahimov's blog

My Edinburgh trip

Posted on: February 1, 2010

I have heard a lot about Scotland and especially Edinburgh, so I decided to travel there for a couple of days. To be honest, I loved it. Below I wrote about my impressions.  You will also find some useful info about how to explore Edinburgh, “must go” places, horror side of city, best place to stay, eat, walk around and so on….

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A little bit about history of Scotland…   (don’t worry it’s not boring, just skim it, You will like)

250 million years ago Scotland was at the equator. It was pretty close to North America, for exp. early dinosaurs could walk from Scotland to North America. Time by time as Earth was moving apart and Atlantic Ocean was born, it also moved to the north, so became cooler. 12 mil. years ago it was iced, then it began to melt and the life started.

In last decades, there were a lot of wars between Scottish and English, because the latter wanted to rule former. I learnt that Scottish were very brave and fought against English many years and eventually won the war.  More about it You will learn by visiting the National Museum of Scotland. I advise to join the free tours. But what impressed me most was the “Letter of the Barons of Scotland” sent to Pope John XXII in Rome with hope of getting help from him to maintain the Independence of Scotland. Below two sentences show precisely how much Scottish wanted to be free….

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“As long as only one hundred of us remain alive

We will never on any condition be brought under English rule ”

We fight not for glory, nor riches, nor honor, but for Freedom alone,

which no good man gives up except with his life.”

Everything ended up with joining of Scotland to English to form United Kingdom. But they are separate in almost everything from the rest of UK right now except taxes, social security, defense, international relations and broadcasting. In other areas it’s Scottish Parliament who decides what to do.

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Best place to stay…..

I would highly recommend You to stay at St Christopher’s Edinburgh hostel if You are looking for sth for budget and with great night life. It’s cheap to stay there as breakfast also included, they have very friendly staff, 2 bars and in the evening free live music……

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Best places to visit…..

Well,  I will write agenda for two days. It’s pretty concentrated but if You have more time u can split it and finish in more days. But the reason I did so there were a lot of interesting places and all of them charge You. The only way to save is buying “Edinburgh Pass” (1,2 or 3 days). You will save a lot.

First day begin with free tours by Free Tours (Sademans, New Europe). In my opinion, its best tour in the city,

Our guide Alan

because I joined all popular ones but most liked this one. My guide was Alan, pretty funny guy…You will surely enjoy and learn a lot. It lasts appr 3 hours with break in the middle and at the end they share out discount card for different places to eat in. What else You need? Just join and enjoy…..

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Also during this tour You will learn the Story of Bobby. In 1858, a man named John Gray was buried in Greyfriars graveyard. For 14 years the dead man’s faithful dog kept constant watch and guard over the grave until his own death in 1872. During all these years he was laying on his master’s grave only leaving for food. Even it’s told that everyday people were gathering in front of the entrance of Yard to watch as Bobby leaving grave for food when clocks strike one o’clock.

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If You don’t like history very much “must go” places:

View from Edinburgh Castle

  1. Go to Edinburgh Castle, in front of it there’s  very nice view of city and nearby there is Camera Obscura and World of Illusions. Very interesting…….
  2. Our Dynamic Earth. Here You will not only see how natural events happen
    but as well,  feel them. They have special rooms where visitors make journey in time, see and feel how volcano, earthquake happens, be in the ice age and more fantastic events….At the end there is 3D movie about astronomy with just awesome.

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Best horror tours:

  1. GHOST Tour (Sademans, New Europe)
  2. The Edinburgh Dungeon
  3. Auld Reekie Tours-Terror Tour (at night), Auld Reekie Tours-The Haunted Underground Tour
  4. Mercat Tours – The Historic Vaults Tour

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For history lovers:

  1. Edinburgh Castle
  2. The National Museum of Scotland
  3. The 3D Loch Ness Experience

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For shopping walk down the Princes Street. There are a lot of different and exiting shops. To my surprise the prices weren’t so expensive.

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For just walking and relaxing best places to go are:

  • Holyrood Park, where you’ll find the imposing sight of Arthur’s Seat, as well the extinct volcano well-known in Edinburgh landmark and if You feel energetic just climb it.
  • Union Canal or Water of Leith where You will have the chance to glimpse some local wildlife, take a stroll along the rivers.

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And if You visit in summer do not miss the Seafari Adventures and Maid of the Forth which unfortunately I couldn’t visit as it is closed during winter.

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To see more Edinburgh photos go to my Facebook album.

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