The next day, I really wanted to try a free walking tour of the city. I find that these are the best way to get your bearings and perfect to really get to know about the history of a place from local guides – when they say free, it is expected to tip the guide at the end. The Sandemans Tour was top of the list on tripadvisor. The only problem was that the weather forecast was for heavy rain all day. The morning had started off clear though so we thought we would give it a go and if it ended up being miserable, we could always drop out half way through. The meeting point on the Royal Mile was easy to find and we ended up with Ben as our guide, who really did not disappoint. He was knowledgeable, quirky, enthusiastic and had great stories and tales for all the points of interest we stopped at. The reviews I had read about the trip implied it would be difficult, uphill and lots of walking for the 2.5 hours but I would disagree – yes, we were on our feet the whole time so if this is a problem, then the tour is not for you, but it was a very easy pace as it involved walking from one place to another but was more standing around to listen to Ben’s tales than any sort of strenuous hiking. It did start to rain but not heavily and as we had come prepared with rain hats and macs, we were so enjoying the tour that we stayed on right to the end (even though the group got smaller and smaller as people dropped out).
The most interesting thing I learnt was about Edinburgh’s intellectual and literary heritage, being home to many great names such as Robert Louis Stevenson, Adam Smith and of course J. K. Rowling. We also discovered more about Edinburgh Castle (including the windiest spot we accidentally ended up at the day before), St Giles Cathedral (which isn’t actually a cathedral), the cemetery and the monument to Bobby, the loyal little dog who went to his owners grave every day for 14 years until his own death and who ended up becoming a sort of mascot for the city, as well as the fact that the symbol of Edinburgh is a unicorn. Halfway through the tour, we did have a much welcomed coffee break to warm us up a little but Ben did an amazing job of keeping us all going despite the miserable weather and didn’t once complain about the cold or rain – a true professional!
And so ended our second day in Edinburgh. The weekend was over far too quickly but I would say it was enough to see all the main sites – perhaps an extra night would have been more ideal so it did not feel such a rush. I can imagine that visiting in the summer during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival would be a chance to see the city come to life in another dimension and there is so much more to see in terms of the surrounding countryside, rugged nature and mountains that Scotland easily deserves at least a week to get the full experience. In fact, this is what I felt made Edinburgh different to any other UK city – the fact that all around you is the constant reminder of the rugged Scottish landscape in the distance – even Edinburgh castle is sitting on top of volcanic rock.
In case you are wondering, the train journey up was surprisingly punctual and pleasant…but the journey back? A half hour delay meaning a five hour journey to end a 24 hour flying visit did feel a little too long! Oh, and apparently, I make a great tour guide 🙂
Mi ultimo viaje de 2015 era a Edinburgh en Escocia, solo para una noche. Yo fui en Deciembre pero el clima no era muy frio. Edinburgh es una ciudad muy hermosa. Hay muchas edificios historicas y una vista bonita de la ciudad desde Edinburgh Castle. Yo comí haggis y mariscos. Una noche es suficiente pero hay muchas mas para mirar en Edinburgh y en las Highlands.