Edinburgh has a special meaning for me. It’s not only because the Scotland’s capital is breath-taking, but also it was just the beginning of my trips around Europe. Before Edinburgh, I had visited some places in Ireland, but I was way curious about other countries and cultures.
I had finished my classes in the beginning of October in 2014. Before this, I used to study on weekdays, using my free time to explore some spots around Dublin. It was a choice. Instead of short trips, I prefer to wait and travel for many consecutive days. In a certain way, I feel more “traveller” if I am on the road for more than a weekend. After considering many things, I decided to travel in November. It’s not too cold and it’s not exactly a touristic period. After struggling with my wishes to travel everywhere, I finally chose the destinations: I’d start the trip in Edinburgh, the famous capital of Scotland. After that, Wales, England, Portugal (added on the list because of many recommendations) and Spain. Five countries in 29 days.
I decided to travel in November 1st to enjoy the Halloween in Dublin. As I put everything on the long finger, I finished the preparations ONE day before my departure. Almost everybody was ready for the party and I was still booking a hostel. Anyway, my plan had turned out well.
The great day came, and I wake up early to prepare my luggage (of course I hadn’t done it before) and say goodbye to Kyunga. I wouldn’t see her again in my return because she wouldn’t be in Dublin anymore. I was close to tears when I said goodbye, after all she had been my best friend during all the time. Fortunately, I was almost late, so I focused my attention on my backpack.
My flight would leave Dublin at midday, but I got at the airport very early. I was sleepy, tired, but extremely excited. Imagine someone who likes castles and medieval stuff (me). Then imagine this same person about to travel to Scotland, a kind of paradise for those who are into history, legends, myths and gorgeous landscapes. I was also scared with the idea of backpacking alone for the first time in my life. My female friends had done that before, but I wasn’t exactly sure if I would be able to do the same without getting lost somewhere or being in trouble. My thoughts were abruptly interrupted by the announcement: it was time to get on the plane.
I had prepared all my documents to show in the airport, but no one asked anything (bureaucracy frightens me sometimes). I left the airport amazed with the idea that FUCKING WORLD I WAS IN SCOTLAND. The wish of a life. I was on the right path in life because my dreams had become true! I took the bus to the city, uncertain about the location where I should get off (yes, at this time I wasn’t worried about maps, an aspect that I changed after admitting that we need a map in an unknown city). I was wondering about the best place to stop, but then I gave it a try when I saw something that seemed a city centre. I looked at a map available in a shop, I asked some people and I was informed that I was far from my hostel. Actually, being lost is a great way to get in touch with locals (a joke that I tell myself when I feel embarrassed about my lack of direction). Eventually, I found the hostel. It was clean, cheap and reasonably close to the centre. It was still afternoon, so I just put the backpack on the bed and went to discover Edinburgh.
I had mixed feelings – sad for some things but happy for being there. Despite the time (around four o’clock), it was already dark – the downside about visiting a place close to the Winter. I took some pictures just to tell my camera that those brilliant spots were just the beginning of our trip. The beauty of Edinburgh is astonishing. Everything is so European, classic and stylish. Edinburgh Castle is just a small part of the amazing heritage. People have different tastes and opinions in life, and it’s not different about places. Some consider the city beautiful but a bit boring because it’s old and small, but it’s just perfect for me.
I like the aristocratic atmosphere along the streets. You can see some gentlemen wearing traditional clothes – the highland dress – and listen to those melancholic sounds which come from the famous bagpipes. There’s a man who plays the instrument near the famous museums, and the funniest thing is that you can see the same bagpiper in all the pictures took in Scotland. I think all my friends who visited Edinburgh have at least one photo with that nice and elegant Sir on the back. When you hear that sound, you know: you are in Scotland. Life is good.
There’s also something creepy about Edinburgh. The city is highly connected to ghosts, haunted places and similar kind of stuff. Due to its very old past, the place has a large number of historic building that contribute to a scary environment. I remember one night when I was walking around the called “old city centre”. It was cold, dark and a bit late – about 9 o’clock -, so the streets were almost empty. Apart from some pubs, all the shops were closed. The scenery was strange on the whole. Beautiful as a gothic movie, but frightening. When the bells rang… it’s spine-chilling. There are some ghost tours there (some of them in graveyards), but they seem too commercial and I couldn’t afford to pay for them. At the end of the day, I can assure that the act of strolling alone during the night plays the same role – scares you a lot.
Despite some sad feelings in the beginning, I had a wonderful time in Edinburgh. I wish I could live there for a while, perhaps one year, just to tell people that my place was one of the most charming European cities. I still had many countries to discover, but that one was more than a dream. It’s a pity that I couldn’t visit the countryside (the day trip to Loch Ness costs too many pounds), but I promised myself to go back one day. And I’m sure that I will. Wait for me, Scotland.