International Engineering Ambassadors
Insight into the life & course of international students.

Monday, 13 February 2017

The Daytrip Diaries: Edinburgh - by Rishi Parwani

In this post of a series of upcoming posts, I’ll bring to you my adventures in the beautiful city of Edinburgh.

For the longest time, visiting Scotland has been on my bucket list since joining university but it was so hard to materialize because of how far away it is from Sheffield. However, an opportunity finally presented itself and before I knew it, I had train tickets booked for my first visit to Scotland since arriving in Sheffield.

You know that feeling you get when you wake up for a 9 am; tired, groggy and you just wanting to go back to bed? Well, imagine that wake up was at 4 am. As my alarm clock rang in the wee hours of the morning I couldn’t help but snooze it for another hour but then the thought of going to Scotland jolted me right out of bed for our 5 am train bound for Edinburgh. Why did we go at such an ungodly hour you may ask? It takes approximately 4 hours to reach the Scottish Capital from Sheffield and we wanted to maximize our day as much as possible.

Let’s get the transportation information into play because this is what influences most of our day trips, the ease and cost of reaching a destination. There are several options for getting to Edinburgh from Sheffield through means of coach and train. In terms of coach providers, both National Express and Megabus offer services to Edinburgh however in terms of duration taking Megabus would be the best option because of its shorter duration and lower prices. In this instance, I traveled by train because I only intended on going for a day and the train prices were in line with coach prices so I wanted to maximise my time in the city.

So fast forward a few hours and we finally reached Edinburgh Waverly after a long journey which was breathtakingly beautiful by the way. The further North we traveled, the more dramatic the snowy landscapes became and it genuinely was such a perfect sight despite the early hours. Having grown up in the Middle East, I had never seen snowy landscapes and this was the first time so I can’t possibly write in words how happy I was at the time.

First impression of Scotland after getting off the train, it was cold. So very cold however we were not going to let this take a toll on our day that we traveled so much for and decided to press on with whatever weather situation we would encounter throughout the day.

The morning started off with a bit of aimless exploring, I genuinely feel that is the best way to get to know a city when visiting for the first time. So we started off in that manner roaming around the Old Town, Princess Street, the Royal Mile and I couldn’t help but notice how charming the city looked. Every single building without fail was just breath-taking and having grown up in an environment where all buildings are shiny and brand new, it’s just so refreshing to see such beautiful and historic buildings. From that moment on, I just came to the conclusion that everything in Edinburgh is breath-taking. Even the little alleyways and narrow streets that we stumbled upon.

While strolling through Old Town we came across this little bakery, Mimi’s, and popped in for breakfast. This coffee-shop-esque-bakery was tiny and had a very warm and cosy atmosphere, I would definitely recommend visiting Mimi’s on a trip to Edinburgh. Their hot chocolates were just absolutely delightful and I couldn’t think of a better way to start the day.

After our hearty breakfast, we were ready to take on just about anything and this is when we decided to climb Arthur’s Seat which is Edinburgh’s main mountain standing at 251m. The weather was anything but cooperative but we didn’t let that stop us from climbing to the top. The climb was steep and our shoes were definitely not fit for the activity (make sure you’re more prepared for the climb than we were if you go to Edinburgh!) but we were rewarded with the most incredible 360-degree views at the top. We couldn’t help but notice how windy it was, while taking a selfie at the top I genuinely thought my phone would fly out of my hand. We could see the entire city from the top of Arthur’s Seat and I can’t recommend climbing to the top enough, it is a must do!

Next items on our agenda including visiting Calton Hill, the National Gallery and the famous Edinburgh Castle. As I am a complete foodie, eating haggis was high up on my bucket list as well so I was determined to try some before taking the train back to Sheffield.

Calton Hill is a viewpoint which affords more incredible views of Edinburgh which this city is just not short of! It also features the National Monument which is worth visiting. After soaking in the views here we went to the National Gallery, an Art Gallery situated right in the centre of the city which was definitely very interesting. Our final main attraction of the day was the renowned Edinburgh Castle. Upon arrival we realised we couldn’t actually explore the entire castle because we needed to purchase tickets for which there was an enormous line so we decided to see as much as we can and save the castle for a future visit. I found it insane how the castle sat on a rocky hill with steep slopes on all sides, it looked absolutely incredible and is visible in the photos that were taken at the top of Arthur’s Seat.

After quite a lot of exploring, we tucked in and had lunch at a local pub and I finally tried haggis which was actually quite delicious. For those of you who don’t know, haggis is a Scottish delicacy consisting of a sheep’s heart, liver and lungs. It may sound strange and at first bite, I couldn’t help but find the taste really unique because it was like nothing I’ve ever tried before. Definitely something worth trying when visiting Scotland!

The rest of our day consisted of some more walking around the city soaking in as much as possible and this was when we realised Edinburgh can be a direct competitor to Sheffield with its steep hills – we came across a street that was so steep I got the feeling it was steeper than Conduit in Crookes!

And before we knew it, we were back on a train headed to Sheffield after a wonderful day filled with great adventures, sights and delicious food! Edinburgh in my opinion is the most beautiful city in the UK and I can’t recommend visiting it enough, you just have to go and see for yourself but I hope this post gives you a flavour of what it’s like too.

No comments:

Post a Comment