Thursday, June 6, 2013

Traveling Betty Style, Part IV: Edinburgh

One of the most ingenious (and honestly, coincidental) things we did while planning out our honeymoon trip was scheduling our last three-day stint to fall with Edinburgh, Scotland. After 10 days in small fishing villages and remote little towns in the mountainsides, returning to a big city was a breath of fresh air. We are city people, after all, and it was high time that we headed back to the world of endless restaurants, name brand shopping, public transportation and big city blocks.

Edinburgh was simply gorgeous. We particularly loved how the town was built in layers - there are full city streets that pass over other, older, full city streets, with passageways and old, hilly roads connecting them all. It's a winding, historical place!

Loved all of the passageways off the Royal Mile!

Since we were hitting it in the early springtime in Scotland, the weather was a little hit or miss. And by hit or miss, I mean, we saw all four seasons in a single day. One of the mornings was warm and sunny, but by lunchtime, storm clouds moved in, the temperatures quickly dropped, and rain and then HAIL (yes, hail) hit. It was crazy! So, for the most part, we stuck with our winter squall coats throughout.

While the weather may have prevented us from walking up to King Arthur's Seat (my brother said this is a must-see!), we braved the misty rain for a tour of the castle. I can't recommend this more! It is very worth the $15-20 admission. The history, artifacts (the crown jewels are here) and the views from the highest point in town will just wrap you in.

We happened to arrive just before this went off that day. Oh my goodness, I aged five years right on the spot. It was so loud!

The actual One O'Clock Gun.

From the restaurant scene, we loved two of the places we stopped by. After way too many days of pub food, we were jonesing for something "worldly" like Thai food really badly -- so we did a little Yelping at the local Internet cafe and found an amazing Thai restaurant just around the corner from the castle. It was amazing! We loved Thai Orchard, but, warning: their scale of how spicy the dishes are is NO. JOKE. Don't do like we did and go into spicier ranges. We honestly had trouble eating our (amazingly delicious) dishes in between having to take huge gulps of water. Oops :)

The second was a bar near our B&B (a cute, urban townhouse), the Salisbury Arms. They had Aspall on tap, a.k.a. the most amazing. cider. ever. Imagine sipping a huge glass of something that tastes like champagne, but goes down like cider. That was Aspall. Love it! It was my favorite pint of choice of the entire trip. This place also had tasty appetizers that were perfect for cocktail hour.

I was feeling a little depressed about my wardrobe by the time we got into town. Two weeks of turtlenecks, scarves and boots starts to wear on a gal, I guess, especially since we had just entered warm weather world back in Atlanta. I needed something flowy and girly to pair with my leggings! So, of course, I continued my tradition of global H&M shopping. The next time you travel, take a break in your day to stop by the local H&M. Every store is really different, so it never fails to impress. Two dresses and a pair of espadrilles later, and my girlishness was restored!

All in all, our two weeks in Ireland and Scotland were really quite magical. We returned refreshed, renewed and happy. Our combination of tourist meets local in each town along with all of our walks, hikes and car rides allowed us a lot of time for US -- an important aspect for a honeymoon or any special trip with your significant other! We wouldn't change a thing about it, and are so happy and lucky that we could make it all happen.

I hope that you have found this mini-series helpful! I know that since this is a blog centered around lifestyle in Atlanta, a series about international travel might not be exactly what you were expecting. But even the most diehard Atlantan needs a vacation here and there, after all. I hope my recommendations provide helpful insight if you ever venture to that part of the world. Safe travels!