Saturday, April 26, 2014

Edinbirthday (Edinburgh, Scotland)


From April 9th - 22nd I had three of my favorite people in the whole world come and visit me in Dublin! Julie, Grant, & Geoffrey. Julie and Grant you guys will remember from my other traveling shenanigans, including Paris, London, and multiple Los Angeles trips. They are my soul mates, the type of people who I will sit in front of a rocking chair with when I'm 90 years old and reminisce about all the crazy things we did.  Geoff is an old co-worker of mine and one of my favorite people, who upon hearing that I was moving to Ireland told me multiple times he was coming to visit me and ACTUALLY made it happen. Most of my more ridiculous memories from my old job involve Geoff so I knew he would be a perfect addition to Julie & Grant. 

My birthday is on the 16th, and I knew I wanted to take a trip with them to celebrate. Originally I had planned on Iceland, but decided that a $700 flight for 3 days of trip was just not worth it. Eventually I decided on Edinburgh, Scotland. Last time I was in Scotland I spent the majority of my time in Glasgow visiting my friend Danielle and doing all the touristy stuff there (you can check out that post by clicking here.) I only got to spend a day in Edinburgh, but during that trip but I immediately fell in love with it and knew I wanted to spend more time there. Considering it's a super cheap one hour flight from Dublin, I figured my birthday would be a great opportunity to revisit - so off we went! 




Day 1: Arrival 

We got in, checked into our hotel (notice I said hotel, not hostel. Thanks Mom!) and grabbed some lunch at a local pub before making our way into the city center. Edinburgh is - honestly - the most beautiful big city I have ever seen. It looks like you stepped into a faerie tale -  it's magical and amazing and lovely and romantic. Our first stop in the city center was an AMAZING museum called 'The World of Illusions' where you walk through a bunch of optical illusions, and when you reach the top of the museum you get an amazing view of Edinburgh. 


(An exhibit where you feel like you're looking into a galaxy) 


(An exhibit where you walk through a cone of rotating colorful lights and it gives your brain the optical illusion that you're the one who is spinning. This made me sick but I LOVED it) 


(An exhibit that photographed your shadow and projected it on the wall. Remember earlier when I said Geoff and I tend to be ridiculous?) 

Of course, once we got to the top there was an epic photo shoot: 




All the optical illusions gave us an appetite, so I took them all to a pub that I discovered last time I was in Edinburgh. Dirty Dicks! Amazing burgers, haggis, fries, stew + cheeky marketing = my kind of place.



We ended our day with a walk through Edinburgh and late night beers and candy. 


Day 2: Living out my Harry Potter fantasies 

Started our day with breakfast in a local park, then hiked our way up to a park called Carlton Hill. Originally I wanted to hike up to the famous Arthur's Seat, but after seeing the monster in real life I chose a far less intensive choice. The view from Carlton though? Amazing: 





(We also found Scotty dogs! I neeeeeeed one) 

After our hike we cabbed it over to Edinburgh Castle. Last time I was in Edinburgh I missed the last castle tour by a half hour, so this time I was not leaving without a visit. Sadly I was kind of disappointed by it, I'm normally super interested in castles but this one wasn't as cool as I wanted it to be. However, it did have an awesome view. Also, on the way up WE MET AN OWL! 


(!!!!!!!!!!) 


(Geoffrey fell in love at first sight)


(The view from the Castle) 


After our castle adventure we went to Leith, a district of Edinburgh over by the seaside for a seafood dinner and pub adventures: 



Day 3: BIRTHDAY! 

I woke up on my birthday to flowers and coffee from my peeps, and immediately went into town to catch a bus...to catch a ferry...to go to an island! Inchcolm Island, to be precise. It's right off the coast of Edinburgh. I saw lots of good things online about it, and they rope you in by saying that you can see puffins. I fucking love puffins! Spending my birthday hiking and finding puffins on an island? Sign me up! 

Well, we got there and it wasn't what I expected. Puffins were no where to be found, just MILLIONS of seagulls: 


(When we reached this road, I was fine for about 5 minutes before the seagulls SWARMED us and squaked with anger and I ran away screaming) 

Even though it wasn't what I expected, I still had an amazing time. There's an Abbey on the island with lots of hidden passage ways that we explored, plus lots of other random things to hike and adventure through. Besides the seagulls, the island is gorgeous: 


(The castle looking thing is Inchcolm Abbey) 


When we reached the top of the island's peak, the wind was so strong that when you stood on the edge you couldn't hear anyone but yourself. So we all stood up and screamed and it was magical: 



Before we left we had fun at the gift shop: 



(Look at the expression on that EVIL ASS BIRD. That is what tried to kill me during my hike!!!) 

Right as we left on the ferry, something magical happened. I SAW PUFFINS! Two of them flying together. It made me so happy! 

When we got back to Edinburgh I had a brief shopping trip before heading off to my birthday dinner at a restaurant called the Witchery's Secret Garden. We had found it the day before, it's in a little ally off of the castle. It's covered in vines and really does look like a secret garden, and the inside was even better. It looks like you're dining in a haunted castle! It's amazing, and the food was mind blowing. I could not recommend it more! 

Afterwards we went and got dessert, and then stumbled upon a bar called Tiger Lily that was also gorgeous. We got drinks and sat in what looked like a cozy living room, but was really just a section of the bar: 



After drinks we went got dessert part II (oops) and then went to St. Andrews Square where they had an art installation where multicolored lightbulbs made the grass look like there were hundreds of massive alien flowers everywhere. It was stunning, and an amazing way to end our time in Edinburgh: 


After walking through the square we headed back to the hotel where I took advantage of the swimming pool and sauna. It was the perfect end to my birthday and I couldn't be happier about how my day turned out. I can't remember a birthday where I was happier or felt more alive - it's the best birthday I've had to my memory. 

The next day we headed back to Dublin where I got to spend a few more days with my friends before they headed back to California. I miss them so bad! And now I'm more keen than ever to have another adventure!

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