Sunday, March 26, 2017

Looking Back, My Day in Edinburgh - Scotland Trip Part 1

A view of the Ferris Wheel and the Scott Monument on Prince Street 
I was looking through my photos and I realized I never wrote about my trip to Scotland, but I was amazed at all that I remembered. Sometimes, I remember trips better than days that I've spent at home doing nothing but eating & surfing the web. Perhaps there's a psychological reason for that - being proactive versus non-proactive? In any case, I wanted to write about the wonderful places I saw and delicious meals I had - black pudding, anyone?! This is only Part 1 of my Scotland Trip, so please look forward to the rest!

Last November, I visited Edinburgh, Glasgow, and St. Andrews in Scotland. I went mainly to visit my boyfriend in St. Andrews, but it became a trip where I had some amazing views, quality alone time, and an overall wonderful time with my boyfriend and friends - do I even have to mention the delicious food I had?! The only con from the trip was the cold weather. I love layering and wearing my thick fuzzy pajama dress during the winter, but boy does the frigid air slap hurt!

November 2016.

The beginning of my trip started with a night in Edinburgh. I stayed at a B&B a few minutes out of the bustling city center. With an hour of sleep on the 7 hour overnight flight, I arrived to a lovely house and a staff member who greeted me. The owner, David, was out but he arrived a few minutes later as I was unpacking in my room - a Victorian style room decorated with yellow walls, white furniture, and light pink drapes on the window. David was so friendly and welcoming. He was so quick to explain transportation routes, recommend different restaurants he visited and enjoyed, and point out the go-to places in the city. After speaking with him for a few minutes, I got ready to head out for my 5-6 hour walking/sight-seeing event.

Down below is a map summing up my day in Edinburgh. The thin black line shows my route walking to the center of Edinburgh. Point A to B is my cab ride to Tesco to get some snacks for a light dinner, and the thin purple line is the route I walked back home. 

Honestly, I don't know how I managed to walk around the city with barely any sleep, but it was well worth it. Before flying over, I googled a bunch of shops and cafes/restaurants to visit but I didn't end up visiting any of them. Just walking around and absorbing everything about the city was enough.

My adventure started as I walked towards Prince Street. For the first few minutes, there were only other B&B's and residential homes, and this huge building below, but the further I walked, the more visible shops became. While walking on Morrison Street, I had a feeling I was walking in the wrong direction so I opened Google Maps on my phone and changed my course. If only I knew I was steps away from seeing Milk cafe, one of the shops I googled!!!! Next time though, next time.
I wish I knew what sort of building this was... Apologies.
The closer I got to Prince Street, the streets got busier, there were more shops, and certainly more historic buildings. I loved seeing the double decker buses and trams along the road. It was definitely a treat just walking about. There was an energy to the city that reminded me of London. Maybe it was the busy street? Maybe it was the fact I was in the UK? The similar settings? I can't pin point it, but I felt really nostalgic of my days studying abroad in London.

Despite all the clothing stores, I actually only visited two or three places. However, there was one store where I spent all my energy on trying different Christmas sweaters - bad decision because I didn't get anything. After that fitting room exercise, I was seriously ravenous. You'd think being in a new country and all, you'd find a cute cafe or a local eatery. No. At that moment, the only one that came into my eyes was the all American yellow M sign... OF ALL PLACES! After ordering a 3 piece Chicken Select Meal, I quietly sat at a table and shoved down the food. There's just something about finding yourself in McDonald's when you're travelling abroad. It sort of makes me laugh, really. Is it the convenience? The cheap prices? The familiarity? No doubt about being thankful for getting food in my stomach when I needed it, but it's something that I start thinking about when I travel abroad and visit an American fast food restaurant. Maybe I just want to see what differences there are from the American branches... Anyway, once I got food in my belly and energy to start walking, I immediately left the premises.

There was construction going on for the Edinburgh Christmas market, which I later visited with my boyfriend, so I didn't step foot inside the garden/park. I walked through Edinburgh Waverley, crossed the bridge, and ended up on Market Street, a road that went uphill. I got a nice shot of the Ferris Wheel and Scott Monument together (at the top of this post) and even got to see people setting up this Christmas tree.

I prayed that I wasn't walking uphill only to get to a dead end. Luckily, it wasn't. I ended up coming across a cool museum called Camera Obscura! You get 5 floors of illusions, hands-on fun, panaromic views of the city (you can put people on your hands!), and an amazing rooftop view of the city. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in this place, but I also felt REALLY lonely. Of all days, everyone wanted to come in pairs! As a party of one, I was very unamused when I didn't have anyone to take a photo with in the Ames room. If you ever visit Edinburgh though, DON'T MISS OUT ON CAMERA OBSCURA (I recommend you go with someone)!

Once I finished going through the museum, I walked towards Edinburgh Castle only for my body to tell me to go home. I was hungry, my back was aching, legs started feeling weak, and it was drizzling. After a quick snap of the place, I took a cab to Tesco so I could get some snacks to nibble on back in my room.

Go through my slideshow to see more pics of Edinburgh and to see the rooftop views from Camera Obscura!

The next morning, after much needed sleep, I had the best breakfast ever made by David. I ordered a full Scottish breakfast the day before which included Bacon, Egg Omelette with Cheese, Grilled Mushrooms, Lorne Sausage, Black Pudding, Haggis, Sausage, Beans, Tattie Scone, Hash Brown, and Tomatoes with Crispy Onions. I think my favorites were the tomatoes, beans, and black pudding (ended up asking for more beans)! I was always curious about black pudding but it was a pleasant surprise. Soon-dae, a Korean blood sausage, was the immediate thought that popped up into my head when I had a taste. I've never had any other blood sausages other than soon-dae so I wasn't sure if blood sausages generally tasted similar. The egg omelette was very fluffy and well seasoned, and I loved that the moisture that the tomatoes and mushrooms provided the dish. Despite haggis being daunting, it was fine once I ate it, but I think I prefer black pudding. It was a huge breakfast but I managed to finish it the plate clean.
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David had forgotten the bacon on it, but he realized the moment he put it down in front of me. 
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The full setting of my meal - plate with bacon!
Thank you for reading my post and I hope you enjoyed it! I would love to hear your stories, questions, opinions, and any comments you may have so feel free to type down in the comments below or email me them at! Don't forget to follow me on Instagram (@wondersforthesoul) and Like my Facebook page (Wonders for the Soul // @wondersforthesoul)!   

*All the photos used in this post are taken and owned by me.*

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