3 Days in Edinburgh
Updated: Jan 30
Best part of playing lacrosse in the UK? No weekend obligations so you can TRAVEL!
October 25, 2019
Kat and I got off the train in Edinburgh at 12:40pm and decided it would be financially smart to walk to the Castle Rock Hostel with our bags, rather than waving down a taxi. Although we most certainly made the better decision in regard to our wallets, we did not make the right decision for our bodies - Edinburgh is hilly!!
We arrived at the hostel completely out of breath. First, we tried to check in, however, we arrived too early. Thankfully, the receptionist showed us an area where we could drop off our bags before we walked around but the area was not secured with a lock and all visitors had access to our bags. Without another obvious option, we decided we would take the risk and leave our bags unattended so we could walk around the town.
Our first stop was lunch at Fiddler's Arm. Kat and I decided this was the perfect place to stop because it was close to our hostel and the attractions we wanted to see during the day. Most importantly, the restaurant served haggis and (for me) vegetarian haggis, a traditionally Scottish meal.
The next stop on our itinerary for the day was the Edinburgh Castle. While walking to the castle from Fiddler's Arm, we passed lots of pubs and places where Harry Potter was filmed. Although we decided not to go into the castle to make time for everything during our trip, I was still happy we decided to visit the outside and take in the views from the hill.
After visiting the castle, we went to an early dinner at The Scottish Cafe. There, I enjoyed Scottish Smoked Salmon.
Following dinner, Kat and I went back to Castle Rock Hostel to retrieve our bags and find our room. Kat and I were both thrilled to see both of our bags were exactly where we left them, with all of our belongings securely inside.
I admit, my least favorite part of planning a trip, and probably the only part of planning a trip I do not like, is finding accommodation. I have never stayed in a hostel before but was excited to try something new, especially since someone recommended the Castle Rock Hostel to me. I imagined opening the door to our room and being greeted by girls our age who wanted to explore the city with us.
Instead, when we opened the door, one man was changing, another man was sleeping, and two men were talking. Ummm. Where are the young girls that want to hangout?
Rather than hanging out in the room, Kat and I opened up our bags and grabbed stuff we needed to freshen up. Then we headed to the communal bathroom. When we walked in we immediately looked at each other and I knew she was thinking the same thing. This is not what we expected.
"What do we do?" "It's all men in there." "Is it safe?" "Should we leave?"
After contemplating our next step, we made the decision to stay at the hostel. We put our bags in our lockers and left for a comedy show at The Stand.
Since there was construction on the sidewalks, it took Kat and I about 30 minutes longer than anticipated to find The Stand. We weren't going to be late, but our ticket advised to get there at least an hour early so we could find good seats.
By the time we arrived, the only table left was at the front, right next to the stage. We knew we were about to be a target for the comedy show...
Kat and I ordered a round of drinks right before the MC came on stage and asked where everyone was from. He looked at us and I said we were from the United States. Immediately, we got some boos. Then he asked us if we were cheerleaders. I replied again, "No, we are lacrosse players." This made him laugh even harder. Throughout the show, Kat and I continued to get ripped on; however, The Stand was one of my top memories in Edinburgh.
When the show ended around 11:00pm, we did not want to go back to our hostel. Kat and I decided the next best choice was to go bar hopping. My favorite bar we visited was Three Sisters. Outside, there was a giant screen showing rugby games and a bar. Inside there was a lower level bar, with an older crowd and a dance floor. On the upper level, there was another bar, that had the same drink menu, but sold the drinks at a much lower price. The upper level was mainly college aged kids and also had a dance floor.
As it got later, we went back to the Castle Rock Hostel. We saw 8 beds filled with men sleeping in their underwear. I desperately wished we decided to change our sleeping accommodations earlier in the day because I did not feel safe sleeping with 8 strangers in the room. Unfortunately, it was too late in the night to find somewhere else to go.
Kat and I came to the conclusion that we should sleep upright, in the same twin bed and leave immediately in the morning. We figured if we were together no one would disturb us in the dead of night.
October 26, 2019
6:00am came and after a sleepless night, Kat and I decided it was time to leave our uncomfortable accommodations. We agreed it was more important to cut our drink and food spending rather than jeopardize our feeling of safety. We signed onto the Airbnb app and started messaging hosts, asking for an early check-in.
Thankfully, someone answered us and said we could check in at 8:00am, but only if we paid an early check-in fee. Although it was more than we initially wanted to spend, Kat and I took the offer and immediately walked outside the hostel in our pajamas with unbrushed teeth, looking completely disheveled. Both of us were ready to leave the hostel and freshen up at the Airbnb.
After regrouping in our new apartment, Kat and I ate breakfast at Patisserie Valerie.
After breakfast, we walked around the city of Edinburgh. We went to the old square and stopped in several shops selling Harris Tweed. As we were walking around, we came across cute pockets of town. One of the best places we stumbled upon was Circus Lane. It was an ally away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Most of the houses had greenery in the front, which made for a fun photoshoot.
After spending the day on our feet walking around, Kat and I were hungry. However, we spent most of the money we budgeted on our updated housing, Trying to stay within budget, Kat and I grabbed wine, cheese, and crackers from a local grocery store to eat for dinner at the apartment.
After our small dinner, we went back to Three Sisters and explored other bars in the area.
October 27, 2019
Kat and I started our day with breakfast in the Airbnb. Then we walked nearly two miles to Calton Hill. Aside from the monument, I really enjoyed the environment that the hill had to offer. Families and friends joined together to appreciate the good weather and have a picnic together. I also liked that you could see the sea from one side of the hill and the city of Edinburgh from the other side of the hill. Although I could have stayed at Calton Hill for longer, I knew we had to start walking to Arthur's Seat if we wanted to complete the whole hike before our train.
Once Kat and I found the bottom of the trail, we had the option to take the easy path or the steep path. Wanting the challenge, we agreed to take the steep path. Since we stopped to take pictures and took time to appreciate the views, the whole hike took us about an hour and a half.
Since we were very active during the day, we worked up an appetite. Before our train home, we stopped to get take out from Makars Gourmet Mash Bar Company. This place ended up being one of my favorite restaurants in the UK.