Posts Tagged With: Scotland

Edinburgh, Scotland – Things to See and Do in 24 Hours/1 Day

Edinburgh Castle Being a frequent visitor (and admirer) of Edinburgh, I thought that I would be a lovely opportunity to take my mother and grandfather there. Unfortunately, we had a tight schedule to stick to and could only spend a full day in the beautiful old part of Edinburgh. Most travellers I come across either train to Edinburgh for the day, or only get a full 24 hours to spend in the majestic and historic city of Edinburgh. For those who haven’t been and plan to visit Scotland, I highly recommend that you visit Edinburgh as it is one of the most magical and medieval-like cities I’ve ever been too.

HOW LONG SHOULD I VISIT EDINBURGH?

If I’m going to be completely honest, you can see most of the sights and experience a glimpse of the scottish culture in less then two days. I took my family there for the 36 hours before our train to York and we saw most of the touristy sights, as well as some non-touristy things recommended by locals. There are some cities in the world that you couldn’t do in a day: London, Paris, Toronto, etc. However, Edinburgh is among those cities that you could experience in a day or two. If you have the time, I would definitely recommend staying longer, because Edinburgh makes my top 5 most favourite cities in the UK. It has a small town feel (which can be more welcoming and less stressful to get around), and makes you feel like you’ve gone back in time to the medieval era. It’s a majestical and magical little city; not to mention, the capital of Scotland.

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I HAVE A DAY IN EDINBURGH, WHAT SHOULD I SEE?

As my family only had a day in Edinburgh, I constructed  a solid itinerary of things to do and see in Edinburgh for those travellers who are limited of time.

  1. Start with a lovely FREE Tour of Edinburgh! Depending at what time you wake up or arrive in Edinburgh, but a great way to get a feel of Edinburgh and a guided walk of the city is to join the 11am or 2pm FREE tours of Edinburgh. Most cities have these “free” tours, which are one of the best things for those travelling on a budget. These tours are tipped-based, so if you do get a great tour guide, do tip them, because this is how they make a living. These tours can offer a great historical learning experience as most tour guides will delve into the Scottish history while showing you the importance of buildings, monuments and other sights. (To join one of these tours, meet outside the Starbucks on the royal mile before the set time; ask the locals to point you in the right direction if you get lost. It’s in a prime location and is easy to find once you find the royal mile leading up to the Edinburgh Castle.)If you aren’t into history, or don’t find the tour as interesting, don’t be afraid to leave the 2-3 hour tour early. Just inform your tour guide.
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  2. Take a Walk Up The Royal High Mile and Visit St. Giles’ Cathedral Walking up the Royal High Mile is the most historic and scenic route to take in Edinburgh, as it is literally a straight stretch of cobble-stone road that ends at the Edinburgh Castle. The St. Giles’ Cathedral is located on the Royal Mile. The cathedral was on the free tour of Edinburgh, however, if you don’t plan to go on the free tour, do visit this cathedral. If you are into seeing cathedrals, do visit The High Kirk of Edinburgh (formerly named). This cathedral has a very interesting scottish history, and is one of the best cathedrals to see in Edinburgh.
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  3. Calton Hill If you would like to begin your day with a walk, hike, or some sort of exercise, then head on over to Calton Hill. If you don’t have the time or courage to climb Arthur’s Seat, then do make the effort to hike up Calton Hill. It’s only 10% of the effort to climb (as opposed to climbing Arthur’s Seat), and you get the best view of Edinburgh. There are lots of beautiful arches, towers, buildings and monuments on top of Calton Hill, as well as the most breath-taking view of both the old town, and new town of Edinburgh. *Calton Hill is by far my most favourite place to go to in Edinburgh.*976582_10152851288435032_2065276491_o322722_10152152315010032_1938980750_o
  4. The Elephant House Fancy a place to have lunch or dinner in between sightseeing? Check out The Elephant House on George IV street. This intimate restaurant claims to be “The Birthplace of Harry Potter”, and has lots of articles, quotes and photos of J.K. Rowling on the walls. If you use the toilet here, you will notice that the walls are filled with Harry Potter quotes, sayings and fan messages to JK Rowling; it’s interesting to see all the fans that have visited this restaurant from all around the world. The food isn’t focused on Harry Potter-esque meals, but serves delicious wraps, soups and various meals. It’s always a great place to take a break for lunch, and you may even sit in the same seat that JK Rowling, herself, began writing the idea of Harry Potter.413278_10152152308585032_2017410743_o
  5. The Greyfriars Bobby The Greyfriars Bobby is a very tourist-ie sight and is placed in front of Greyfriars Bobby’s Bar. Basically, the historical story goes as follows: Back in the day, the original owner passed away and his dog wouldn’t leave his side or grave for the longest time: 14 years to be exact. Truly this dog exemplifies the stereotype of man’s best friend. Consequently, they kept the restaurant open in memory of him and have a statue of the dog situated in front of Greyfriars Bobby’s Bar ! If you touch the statue of the dog, it’s suppose to bring you good luck, so make sure you visit this sight in Candlemaker Row, off of George IV Bridge.209951_10152152307530032_1417612011_o
  6. The Edinburgh Castle Be aware that you could spend hours at the Edinburgh castle and all that there is to see, read and experience. However, if you just want to see and experience the castle and skim through the reading, then 2-3 hours should be sufficient. The Edinburgh Castle is one of my favourite castles, and highly recommend that every visitor of Edinburgh should visit. Unfortunately, it is fairly expensive to go inside and see the exhibits (including the Scottish Royal Jewels and most interesting Scottish history), so if you are on a budget, just make sure you snap a picture in front of the beautiful castle and experience the view on both sides of the castle. Absolutely breathtaking.176219_10152152312265032_2134796337_o

By The End of the Night, Go To a Scottish Pub Fancy ending your night in Edinburgh by experiencing a Scottish Pub for food or drinks? In terms of food, I have two recommendations: one is an authentic scottish experience, and the other a delicious alternative.

  1. Grassmarket– This area was recommended to me by one of my best friends who lives in Edinburgh. From a wide selection of scottish cuisine (yes, this includes haggis), to traditional pub food, this area has a variety of scottish restaurants that carry a variety of dishes and authentic experiences for everyone and won’t disappoint.
  2. Kismot – This Bangladeshi/Indian restaurant is probably one of the best restaurants I have ever been to in the United Kingdom (and possibly Europe). With the best, polite and humorous service, Kismot carries some of the most delicious dishes my family or I have ever had. The restaurant is owned and ran by a dedicated and polite family who are known for maintaining the #1 most voted restaurant in Edinburgh, according to TripAdvisor. They don’t believe in serving alcohol in the restaurant, but instead, have a BYOB policy, which is one of the most brilliant ideas for those trying to save money. By a bottle of wine, or bring in your own pints, and enjoy some of the best Bangladeshi/Indian dishes you will ever have with the best, and most friendly service. A MUST for those who want to try something different or craving this type of food. Delicious.469178_10152851294745032_1677450337_o

For those wanting to go for a pint or experience some scottish whisky at a local pub. I have two recommendations based on your type of ‘scene’.

  1. For a younger audience, I love going to the Brass Monkey with my friends. With chill music, reasonably priced drinks, and a chilled atmosphere, this pub is by far my favourite place to go for drinks with my mates. It’s not touristy at all, and overall a great place to chill for those into a hip and chilled scene.
  2. For a mature audience, I would suggest a traditional scottish pub in the Grassmarket, such as The Black Bull or The White Hart Inn! There are many choices to choose from in this area, so venture out and try out a few pubs!

It may only seem like a few things to do and see in Edinburgh, but you will be surprised how fast the time goes when you venture to these sights and restaurants as well as indulge in your first scottish experience in Edinburgh.

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If you have any comments or suggestions about going to Edinburgh (How to get there, where to stay, what else to do, etc.), please leave them in the comment section below!

If you have been to Edinburgh, please let me know what your personal favourite things to do, see and eat! If you plan to visit Edinburgh, what are you most excited to see and do?

Check out the video of my first time in Edinburgh here

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Categories: Blog, Edinburgh, Fall, Holidays, Night Life, Scotland, Seasons, Spring, Survival Guide, Travel Sights, Travel Tips, United Kingdom, Youtube | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Next Stop: Glasgow, Scotland

Go to Scotland, they said, They speak English, they said. 
You’ll understand the locals, they said. 
~ True Words from my wonderful friend Charlotte.

          
Why hello there Scawtland… we meet again! (Click here for last trip to Scotland)

This time, I decided to visit my wonderful Queens friends Charlotte, Ian and Jennie, who are all currently on exchange and attend the University of Glasgow.

Because I only have classes Monday and Tuesday, I decided to book a train ticket to Glasgow for Wednesday, and return back to Leeds on the Monday (for my class, urgh).

This 5-day weekend was AH-MAZING.

The first day I was there, Charlotte showed me around the city center (which looks very similar to Leeds) and I finally got a picture with a tardis! If you don’t know what a tardis is… well… google it. It’s something pretty awesome from a pretty awesome British television show, Doctor Who.

The rest of the night was spent meeting Charlotte’s classmates and catching up on our personal life stories. So much has happened in two months; it’s cray cray.

The following morning, or should say.. afternoon, was spent sleeping in til 2pm (I was sleep deprived mmkay?) and meeting up with Charlotte to go for lunch, and meeting up with her friend Naomi from the previous night. All we did was discuss films, and show our films to each other. We had a very film-ie afternoon and it made me extremely happy. My life is lacking in filmic aspects, and exceeding with traveling.

Charlotte and I then met up with her friend Johan, who is swedish, and his friends who came to visit him from Sweden: Kim, Sofia and Jimmy. They had very swedish names, and so this was their english names. I had no idea that these four people would later become really good friends.

We all went to Ketchup for dinner. Ketchup is this really great burger place, but with awful ketchup; suriously. It doesn’t make sense, but it honestly tastes abnormal. After eating at Ketchup, The two Canadians and Four Swedish Berries (as I called them all weekend) all went out for drinks at a few different pubs and bars. It turned into an amazing night where I got to get to know a lot of people, especially my new swedish friends 🙂

The next day/night, we woke up insanely late, ate dinner and went out to a club in downtown Glasgow. Charlotte and I were clearly extremely productive that day/night (sarcasm). Oh, Charlotte did read a passage from “Fifty Shades of Grey” while at Tesco. HA!

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I spent my saturday with my Queen’s friend Ian in the beautiful hills of Perth, Scotland. This city was my home away from home, as I generally live in Perth, Canada. Check out my adventure and beautiful hike up a summit in the 7th city of Scotland!

I spent Saturday evening at another club where everyone was dressed up for Halloween (even though it was the 27th of October), so Charlotte decided to go as a sexy vampire, and I decided to go as a Hollister model (lolz). That evening turned out to be an amazing night in Glasgow; surely a night to remember. It was also the last night that my new swedish friends would be in Glasgow. I was super sad to them leave, although I’m really happy that I got to meet them and probably visit in the near future!

Hello Sweden! I’ll Be Seeing You Soon I’m Sure!

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Sunday was spent recovering from the night out, and a tea & biscuit (minus the biscuit) date with my other Queen’s friend Jennie! It was lovely seeing her since I haven’t seen her since the summer began. Too many awesome people in Glasgow; I need to visit more often (hint hint).

Charlotte is the biggest stalker I know.
“Oh I know exactly where the tour bus is located for every band that plays here” Love this girl.

Sunday night was spent going to see Owl City in concert. It was amazing! I’ve been waiting for many years to see Adam Young play live ever since I found him on Youtube years ago (before he became famous on the radio for his songs Fireflies & Good Time). We were also major creeps and chilled near his tour van before the concert, but that’s a secret I’ll never tell. Opps.

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Sadly, this was the end of my 5-night stay in Glasgow, Scotland, and although I didn’t get to actually see Glasgow and do all the touristy things, I was happy to just enjoy being in the company of good friends, new friends, and experience some fun-filled nights. I will definitely be seeing you soon Glasgow!


Check out my Youtube Channel For My Vlog of Being in Glasgow! 🙂

Categories: Fall, Glasgow, Liverpool, Night Life, Scotland, Travel Sights, Travel Tips, United Kingdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SPENDING CHRISTMAS IN EUROPE!

This post is more or less for my family and friends back home as a way to update them on when and where I will be during my holiday vacation!

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December 7th – Last Day of Classes!

December 8th til 19th – Traveling All of Ireland with my Australian friend Freya!

December 20th til 23rd – Traveling to Belgium, and visiting Bruges & Brussels with my Belgian friend Caroline and fellow Queens friend Savannah!

December 24th til 27th – Spending Christmas with Savannah & reunited with Freya in Berlin, Germany!

December 27th til 30th – Traveling to Austria, seeing Vienna and going skiing with my other fellow Queens friend Kirsten in her cousins winter cabin!

December 30th – Fly back to the UK

December 31st – Spending New Years Eve in Edinburgh!!

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Now that I have actually written all my travel plans down… I’m actually overwhelmed on how much I am traveling over the Christmas season! The realized why I wanted to travel so much… It’s so I’m constantly busy, and thus keeping my mind off the fact that I won’t be back home in Canada for Christmas with my family and friends. As I won’t be home for Christmas, I figured I’d treat myself with all the money I’m saving from flying back to Canada, and then back to the UK, that I would travel in Europe over the Christmas break, and this is what I will be doing.

Keep checking back to my blog for recent updates, as I will be blogging as I travel this holiday season! 🙂
Also, Have a listen to my personal Christmas music playlist here!

Cheers, Ryan.

Categories: Blog, Canada, Christmas, Edinburgh, England, Flights, Germany, Leeds, Scotland, United Kingdom, Winter | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Bucket List Achievement: Take a Spontaneous Trip Anywhere


Well… This was a spontaneous trip! My best friend Joey from Canada (who flew me to England in September for school) decided to come visit me on during his holidays off work. We decided that we wanted to go somewhere spontaneous and where we’ve never been before in Europe. We downloaded a map of Europe on my iPhone, closed my eyes and my figure landed on… Well… you guessed it… Paris!

We booked a flight to Paris two nights before departure on the Tuesday and our return to Scotland for Saturday. 1) That means we have 4 days and 4 nights in Paris! 2) Joey also wanted to see Scotland before he left back to Canada, hence the return in Scotland.

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We left Leeds after my French class (I know right?) around noon and got a bus to the Liverpool where we would be catching our plane at the John Lennon Airport. Our flight left at 5:45pm England time and landed in Paris 8:15pm France time! This is taking into account that there was a 1 hour time difference . We flew with Easyjet and it was just as cheap and decent as Ryanair. I was content and didn’t have as many advertisements.

 

We arrived at Charles de Gaulle which was the Paris airport (among many) and we had to take the metro from the airport to the center of Paris where we would be staying. We got to our accommodations around 10:30pm and were welcomed with a friendly smile and kind greetings from a lovely Parisian couple who let us rent their living room for us to stay for a cheap price!

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Those who rather save money and stay with locals, as opposed to expensive hotels or somewhat more expensive hostels, check out Airbnb! Great website for saving money on accommodations and getting tips and advice about the city and attractions from local people.

We talked for an hour or so, and the couple told us of all the interesting (as well as touristy) places to go in Paris and even provided a map of how to get to all the places. They were absolutely lovely.

There wasn’t much of a language barrier, and we learned some more French and I’m sure they learned some more English as well! They even said we were there first English-speaking guests, so We were quite honored to be there guest for the 4 nights!

Joey and I unpacked, showered and decided that the next day we would somewhat wing it (since it was a spontaneous trip) and walk around Paris and (hopefully!) come across as many attractions and touristy sites as possible! Then, we slept in our bed, in an old Parisian flat, which had old large keys like from the movie Hugo, and fell asleep to the natural sounds of Paris.

Check out my youtube channel for my Paris videos! http://www.youtube.com/user/BorderlineForFools
Check out my other Paris blogs here: https://cometraveltheworldwithme.wordpress.com/

Categories: Blog, Easyjet, England, Fall, Flights, France, Leeds, Liverpool, Paris, Scotland, Seasons, Travel Sights, Travel Tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Home Away From Home: Perth, Scotland

One of the main reason why I came to visit the city of Perth was mainly due to the fact that I wanted to send a postcard of Perth, from Perth, Scotland to Perth, Ontario, Canada; where I usually live. I thought it would be humourous to do so.

Like my little town, the city Perth in Scotland is quite small, with not much to do or see. Apparently the city recently became somewhat of a tourist attraction once Perth become Scotland’s seventh city after winning a UK competition marking the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. It wasn’t actually a “city” until this year, even though the Scottish people named the town “the city of Perth” in spite of its previous status omission.

The city is small and contains many interesting little shops, but instead of shopping, my friend Ian and I spent our day hiking and nature walking up Kinnoull Hill. We went with a tour guide for the day who lead us up this adventurous summit. If you are ever in Glasgow, check out this guy’s tours; he was one of the best tour guides that I’ve ever had.

 

As the season changes to autumn, I was lucky to have spent the day in Scotland without rain. The weather was gorgeous, and the changing colours of nature were awe-inspiring. Fall is my absolute favourite time of the year, and to go on a nature walk that reminded me of being back home in Canada was exactly what I needed. The air was crisp and cool, the falling leaves and calming sounds of nature led me to be in a very euphoric mood.

The weirdness of this tree was fascinating to me.

 

The nature walk and hike up to the summit of Kinnoull Hill was relaxing and a workout at the same time. The view from the top was just phenomenal though. Why is it that the view from the tops of mountains/hills are always the best views in the world? I need to become a professional hiker/mountaineer, as opposed to amateur blogger and film-maker.

I was really happy I got to spend the day with my friend Ian who is another Queens University film and media student (such as myself), and had Gary as our awesome and humorous  tour guide; he makes my top fav 5 Scottish people I know.

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All in all, I had an amazing Saturday afternoon enjoying the autumn weather by hiking up a Scottish hill. Perth was my home away from home, and I couldn’t have asked for a better day.

Check out the rest of my weekend in Scotland here

Check out my Autumn/Fall Music Playlist here

Categories: Autumn, Blog, Fall, Scotland, Seasons, Travel Sights, Travel Tips, United Kingdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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