Fangirl Fridays – Fool for the City

I love to travel to other countries and see new places. After I‘ve gotten to know the online bookworld through my online friends I‘ve been dying to be able to go to one of those book conventions and most importantly to go visit all my online friends! I haven‘t travelled a lot in my years, so I have a long list of countries/cities on my list that I want to visit. But realistically, I probably won‘t be able to visit them all seeing as it‘s a long list (plus it‘s pretty expensive...) but who knows, maybe I‘ll get lucky and win the big one in the lottery!

Considering I love to go to new places and experience something new and the fact that I haven‘t been able to cross that many places off my list there is one place that is one of my favorite and I just love to go there again and again. In fact I‘ve been there three times already and plan to go again. I‘m talking about the beautiful city, Edinburgh.


After the jump, I‘m going to attempt to tell you why I love it so much.


Edinburgh - or Dùn Èideann in Scottish Gaelic (do not try to make me pronounce it)- is the capital of Scotland and there is just something so wonderful about that place, to be honest I don‘t think I can put in words what exactly it is that makes me love it so much. It‘s a city with centuries of history and filled with magnificent architecture, gorgeous scenery and a striking setting.


The last time I went there, which was last year, I got out of the taxi, walked towards the hotel and as soon as I saw Edinburgh Castle greeting me, standing there at the top of Castle Rock, I just stopped, took a photo, took in the Scottish smell, sighed and said to my sister "home sweet home" or, at least, home sweet second home.


Diana Gabaldon, the author of the Outlander series, is my newest reason for loving Edinburgh... yeah, as if I needed more reasons. Her books, which I love, have given me another reason to enjoy walking the streets, taking in the surroundings, all the closes that become all so excitingly creepy in the dark, the old buildings, some more known than others, especially the ones on the Royal Mile, which spans from the castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse. My sister and I planned a day for touring the Mile and one time on our walk I thought of one of Claire‘s (the heroine, for those who are unfamiliar with the books) quotes:
"I was here. Really here. Edinburgh sloped up behind me, to the glowering heights of Edinburgh Castle, and down before me, to the gracious majesty of Holyrood Palace at the foot of the city."
And I - getting all silly and excited - just thought how seriously cool it really was to stand on the same street as one of my favorite heroines taking in the heart of Edinburgh AND walking on the street where I could actually run into my Jamie!... Or well, you know, in the fictional world anyway (For those who don‘t know, Jamie is the hero of the aforementioned books). And speaking of Jamie and the Royal Mile, there is this one little place I told my sister we just had to go to and that was a pub called The World‘s End. It‘s a cute little pub, steeped in history... real history... and it's quite popular. I totally recommend their World's End Famous Steak and Ale Pie. But anyway, one of the reason I knew about it and made an effort to go there was because of this little tidbit from one of Diana‘s book:
"Heads looked up at our appearance, and there were shouts of greeting, and a general shuffling and pushing, to make room at one of the long tables. Clearly Jamie was well-known in The World’s End. A few curious glances came my way, but no one said anything. I kept my cloak pulled close around me, and followed Jamie through the crush of the tavern."

Hey, what can I say, I‘m a sucker for fictional characters and mix that with one of my favorite cities and I‘m a goner!

It isn‘t just Diana Gabaldon who makes me think about all the cool places to see as I walk around the streets of this vibrant, cosmopolitan city. While walking in the old town, you might want to check out a tea and coffee house and restaurant called The Elephant House if you haven't already.

Several writers have frequented The Elephant House through the years, writers such as Alexander McCall-Smith, author of The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency, and Ian Rankin, author of the best selling Rebus novels, but I think this place is most known for having had the one and only J.K. Rowling, who sat writing much of her early Harry Potter novels in the back room overlooking Edinburgh Castle. I went there on my first trip and thought it was pretty spectacular seeing the place and the back room, picturing her there, thinking "Wow, this was the place where she sat and wrote about Harry Potter". I didn't have anything to eat or drink there so I can't say if it's good or not but if you're a Harry Potter fan and haven't been there you should totally go to 21 George IV Bridge and check it out. Here is an interview with J.K. Rowling taken at the coffee shop where you can see where she sat and her view out of the window.



Now, let me tell you this, if you ever decide to *draws in a deep breath* make a whole day of walking from the hotel, (with many, many Kodak moment stops) to Calton Hill where there is an amazing view, then going from there to Holyrood Palace and maybe getting stuck in a cemetery (while trying to take a shortcut) because all the gates were locked, but since the cemetery was a fun and cool place to see (although maybe the residents might not think it's a "fun" place... but probably a "cool" one) 
it was just bonus sightseeing. And then, finally, after finding your way to the Palace, to gaze at it and take pictures and maybe even go touring, you walk The Royal Mile from there, uphill, with some bits of twists and turns to look at museums, cathedrals, historical spots here and there as you continue your way to the end of the Royal Mile, touring through Edinburgh Castle, which is HUGE and impressive even if it's your second time there, you go up the stairs, down the stairs, checking the
rooms, halls and even the military prison, where you actually might consider to just lay down on one of those uncomfortable "beds" and ask someone to close the door behind you so you can take a wee nap, (but you refrain from doing that) and, at last, you head back home to the hotel. But on the way, maybe decide to stick your head... ok, your whole body, or what's left of it... just for a bit into one or two clothing stores before closing time, because it's the day before you leave, I recommend you wear good shoes and have a lot of beverage stops *aaand exhales*.

Otherwise you might, just might, end up sitting on the floor somewhere in a store, pretending to be looking through stuff at the bottom shelf while letting the, what feels like, electric shots shooting from your feet (or what's left of them) hoping it'll go away or that the store is selling new feet and you might find them there on the bottom shelf... not that that has ever happened to me *coughs*...


But seriously it is SO worth it! To take in the history, the buildings, the occasional beer if that's what you fancy *wink*, the cheerful, polite people, the atmosphere, the Scottish accent which I absolutely love and the scenery... and I'm not just talking about the men in kilts.



Underground city and closes are some of the places in Edinburgh that I still haven't checked out but is definitely on my list of things-to-do there. "Closes and wynds are narrow lanes running out south and north off the Royal Mile. This is why, when looking at a map, the Royal Mile resembles a fish bone. Each close has a name, usually associated with the owner of tenements on that close." Here you can see a list of some of the interesting closes on the Royal Mile. I love all things ghostly and creepy, although to be honest I'm usually not in the middle of it, I mostly just watch it on tv but these vaults and its history and structure really fascinate me. I just hope that my claustrophobia won't be a problem when the time comes. Here's a quote from a very interesting article:
"The Edinburgh Vaults are completely unique. They tell us of a time gone by and lives once lived. They remind us of our heritage and inspire us to ask questions about our past, present and our future. Are you brave enough to hear the answers?"
Source

Raving about Edinburgh is really making me wanting to go back there, like now! Another thing on my things-to-do there is to take a tour to the Scottish highlands, preferably a tour that is based on Diana Gabaldon's series, that would be absolutely fantabulous. To be able to combine the historical fiction with real history in enchanting woodlands as well as in the vibrant city. To be able to paint a picture that will be like a feast for your eyes and ears by bringing together Diana's story about Claire and Jamie with the dramatic history of clans of Scotland and making it come to life before your eyes. What an amazing adventure I imagine that would be. And perhaps even make you feel as though you have fallen through time.


Source

Great humor and lot of fun is another thing that I love and I use every opportunity that I can to have a good laugh. I know Edinburgh isn't the only place to have both, but since I'm focusing on that, I want to recommend The Stand Comedy Club if you love a good comedy, check out what shows are on and if you see something you like, book a ticket and get there early to have good seats. This is a cute, often crowded, little place where people sit down where ever there are available seats. If you plan on eating there as well be prepared to have your legs as a table. Some may not like it but in my opinion that was just part of the experience! 

Also, if you love to dance (and a good workout) and want to experience a local type of fun and have the opportunity to dance with men in kilts, then put aside the high heels and bring out the comfy shoes and go to the Edinburgh Ceilidh Club! I went there about 7 or 8 years ago and I still remember the most awesome time I had there.

Ceilidh - Cèilidh in Scottish Gaelic (this one I can pronounce)- is a traditional Gaelic social gathering, usually involving playing Gaelic folk music and dancing. When I went to the Ceilidh Club I had no idea how to dance ceilidh but that didn't matter at all. Everyone were so friendly and it was really easy to join in plus the dances were fairly easy to pick up. One of the band members called out the dances to explain what to do and the more experienced people on the floor showed you the basic steps and then it's just follow their lead and the music and there we were, merrily clapping, skipping and twirling around to the cheerful music like there was no tomorrow.


I'm small person and one time one of my dance partners, a big, strong, muscled, Scot, wearing a kilt, just picked me up and spun me around like it was the easiest thing to do (which for him it probably was *swoon*) and there I was, literally dangling in the air, having the time of my life. I was unable to wipe the smile off my face the whole evening. Seriously, I had So. Much. Fun!
Here's a video I found where you can get a glimpse at people dancing ceilidh

Having only 3 days to spend your time there and doing all the things you want to do just isn't nearly enough, far from it. But that has been the usual time I've had when going to Edinburgh. How I wish I could spend at least a week there! I can only hope so the next time I visit. There is just so many things I still have to see!

I know there are probably more cities out there than I can count that are just as great but after getting to know this city a wee bit it has enchanted me and I could verra well imagine myself living there. I really am a fool for the city.

What about you my dear reader? What is your favorite city? Have you gone to Edinburgh and if so, how did you like it? If you haven't been there, do you want to go there? Sound off below!



Comments

  1. I went to Edinburgh a few years ago, before I had discovered Outlander, so when I read the book I thought it was the neatest thing ever that I could picture things like the Royal Mile. I wish we had gone to the World's End pub though - maybe next time. I did, however, buy a very nice sugar dish in the Holyrood Castle gift shop. (I think it is hilarious that all the royal palaces have gift shops, but I guess the Queen has to pay for her Corgi's dog food somehow!)

    I now live in North Carolina, not too far from a Moravian Church (and Old Salem), so it is fun reading about the parts in North Carolina too. I read somewhere that Fraser's Ridge would be near Blowing Rock, which is a really beautiful part of NC - definitely worth a visit here too, but not many highlanders walking around in kilts now, unfortunately.

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    Replies
    1. LOL yes, the Queen has to feed the dog somehow! :D

      It's so cool to be able to picture the places you've been to while reading. I hope I'll be able to visit North Carolina one day and make sure to put those places on my list if possible. Too bad there aren't many highlanders in kilts walking around ;)

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