My very first out of town trip since arriving in London 10 days ago was to Edinburgh, Scotland.
When I originally got my UK Work Visa, I had chosen Edinburgh as the city I would arrive in and would try to find work there. I had no intentions of settling in London because I am not usually a huge fan of big cities. (Surprise, apparently they have to be the biggest of the cities and that makes me ADORE them. I don't regret moving to London for a second, it has been so amazing.)
However, this meant that my Resident Permit was mailed to Edinburgh. Initially I was going to have it redirected to London, but no one at the Post Office could figure out how to do that. So, I figured it would be easier (and more fun!) to just hop on a train and make a two-day trip up to Scotland.
I woke up early and took the Virgin West Coast train from Euston Station to Edinburgh Waverly. The trains in the UK could honestly be classified as roller coasters. I have never witnessed a train taking a curve that fast in my life!
The train itself was immaculately clean, with great service and a snack car, and wifi available at a charge. While it was amazing service, it was almost 5 hours each way. I think if I was to make this trip again, I would probably fly. It's cheaper and faster, and if there is one thing I hate the most, it is wasting time.
Once I arrived in Edinburgh I headed to the Post Office and collected my Resident Permit. Once I had the precious documents in hand, I made my way through the Old Town to find my hostel.
Edinburgh is pretty unique in the sense that it consists of many different levels, with staircases and hills that weave through the city and make it only a little (*cough cough* VERY) difficult to navigate. But eventually I arrived at my hostel and checked in.
I stayed at the Budget Backpackers hostel. It boasts being the cheapest hostel in Edinburgh, and I paid £14 for one night in a 4 Bed Female Dorm. They did have cheaper co-ed options with more beds, but that's just not my thing. The rooms were clean and the 4 Bed Dorm was pretty spacious with a sink located in the room. Bathrooms were down the hall and there was a dining area, and a bar/restaurant downstairs next to the lobby. I will say the bathrooms were TINY. However, that wouldn't stop me from staying there again. For the price, it was well worth it.
Once I got myself settled in the hostel, I headed out to climb to the top of Calton Hill. I wanted to get that iconic view of the monument with the cityscape in the background. I am happy to report I achieved my goal. This was a huge moment for me. From the moment I knew I would be coming to the UK I had wanted to visit this place, and see the view for myself. To experience something that I had dreamed about for so long.
It may seem small to some people, but this whole "moving across the world to a different country and traveling to places" thing had been a dream of mine for so long. And for so long I never thought I would have this opportunity.
Life is not about having opportunities. Life is about creating opportunities. Food for thought.
After Calton Hill, I promptly googled the name of the cafe where JK Rowling had begun writing the Harry Potter series. It was actually on the street right around the corner from my hostel.
The Elephant House was also one of those things I never thought I would get to see. I literally stood (and bought a latte) in the place where my childhood was born. It gave me chills. Unfortunately it's quite busy due to its popularity, but I would highly recommend popping in. The lattes are AMAZING. (Side note, I also went to Greyfriars Kirkyard, the graveyard that inspired the infamous scene in the fourth book during the Triwizard Tournament. HOWEVER, it was after dark, freezing cold, and kinda creepy. But very, very cool.)
In the morning, I opted to walk the Royal Mile (from Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood Palace. It was an incredibly beautiful morning, and while I didn't go inside either of these places, it was pretty neat to see them. And of course, they provided great photo opportunities!
This trip to Edinburgh certainly will not be my last. I hope the next time I go, I have more time to explore the amazing architecture and some of the galleries and museums. But for now, I have accomplished more than I ever thought possible.
With all my love from London,