A quick flight from Dublin landed me in Edinburgh at 10:00pm on a Wednesday evening, chasing down a shuttle to make it into town. Disoriented in a new city, I quickly learned that Google maps lacked the topography to tell me to go up the many alleyways of Edinburgh and the darkness heighten my cautiousness. After lengthy uphill walk with 25 pounds on my back to Budget Backpackers , I found myself ready to relax at my hostel.
Having Thursday all to myself, I woke up and started walking to the highest point in the city, Arthur’s Seat. Although daunting to look at, the hike took me less than 30 minutes to reach the top and I was gifted views of Calton Hill, Edinburgh Castle and all the way out to the Fourth Bridge. Interesting to note, Arthur’s Seat, Calton Hill and Castle Rock (where the Castle sits) were all formed by an extinct volcano! I highly recommend this hike, as well as the walk up to Calton Hill, over the Royal Mile, which is simply a long road from Parliament to the Castle lined with tourist shops.
What I did enjoy about my walk up to the Castle, was just behind Waverley Station I found Food+Flea, a street food market with rotating vendors. It felt like a hidden gem, with a beer vendor and so many great lunch options – I chose Ròst, and tried their Peanut Butter Crunch Pheasant Burger, the first of many awesome cheap meals in Edinburgh. Two other spots I really enjoyed were located off Grassmarket, nearby my hostel. I stopped into Mary’s Milk Bar for a coffee one day and thought I’d return for their Baked Fig gelato, only to find they change their flavors daily. In its place, the Peanut, Chili and Cinnamon did not disappoint and the views of Granny’s Green and the Castle were an added bonus. A morning bowl from Hula Juice Bar was a great way to kick off my day before heading to Calton Hill on Friday after indulging in curry fries (a total weakness of mine) and dumplings the night before. It’s all about balance right?
On my little adventure, I opted to find a well rated cocktail bar somewhere in the city. A 15 minute walk and I found myself at Bramble, a basement cocktail bar with innovative libations, hand carved ice and super knowledgeable staff. My cocktail of choice was the Midnight Waltz – I was so intrigued to find out how they use butter in their concoction, I couldn’t resist and it blew my mind when it tasted like chocolate butterscotch. After chatting, my bartender recommended I head down the block to the Whisky Society, which is a whole other story. Trust your bartenders my friends, they know what they are talking about.
Cheers! – Ciara