United Kingdom
Princes Street Garden

Here you’ll find travel reports about Princes Street Garden. Discover travel destinations in the United Kingdom of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

25 travelers at this place:

  • Day18

    Follow the yellow brick road

    November 2, 2018 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 7 °C

    After having my butt throughly kicked last night in Settlers of Catan, twice, I said my sad goodbyes to my new friends, and even exchanged information with some of them. Although I'd planned to go to bed early, I didn't find myself settling down until just past midnight. I suppose I was just having too much fun. Making sure my alarm was set I was able to settle down for the night. Upon rising, I found myself in a total panic. Everything might have been packed up, but I felt so well rested that I was sure I had overslept... only to find that I woke up three minutes before my alarm was due to go off. That mean I had T-minus 3.5 hours until I had to be on the train. After getting dressed, and triple checking that I had everything, I made my way down the hostel stairs for the final time. Naturally I didn't make it in to the kitchen for another half hour (can receptionists be too friendly?) After I had my first meal of the day I was officially on my way to Kings Cross train station. Admittedly I wasn't just excited because of the next leg of my journey, but also because this location was in Harry Potter. I made sure to print my ticket out first thing, but having more than an hour to kill, it was time to be the quintessential tourist. I didn't get a photo of me with the trolley in the wall, but I did spend too much money in the gift shop next door. I did need a new scarf though, and why not get a Ravenclaw one, even if it is the movie colors and not the ones from the book. Deciding I'd spend too much, especially because it wasn't even nine yet, I stepped outside for some fresh air before I was trapped on a train for five hours. Well wouldn't you know it, I ended up chatting with someone outside the station. He was able to not only tell me which platform the train was leaving from, but also which side to sit on for the best view along the journey. As I found out, my seat was assigned, and by happy chance I was assigned a seat on the side with the view. It would have been marvelous had I not been facing the wrong direction, or fallen asleep an hour in to the voyage, however the scenery I did manage to take a few photos of was quite nice.

    Disembarking the train, I took my first steps in Edinburgh, and exiting the station I found myself awestruck. If it weren't for the modern transportation you would think you had taken a step back in time. The buildings, while well maintained, look quite old, and there is just a feeling about them that makes looking at them feel momentous. Pulling out my new phone, purely for the map feature, I decided to figure out how far away my new hostel was. Once more luck was in my favor and it was just a fifteen minute walk away; in what turned out to be a much more sloping landscape than I knew to anticipate. Roughly 20 minutes, and a lot of shop fronts that look unavoidable (and expensive), later I had arrived at "Kick Ass Hostel." Probably the most expensive place I've stayed during my trip, but I do have something called a "pod" that is lavishly private for being in a room with seven other people. After getting my belongings sorted out, with a private locker at the end of my bed, and making sure my dying electronics were charging, I decided to find a place for supper. Being extraordinarily lazy, I just looked on Yelp for an inexpensive place with a good rating. Heading out from my new temporary residence I once again found myself talking to a local, and if anyone knows the food it will be someone who lives here, and he sent me on my way to an authentic Turkish restaurant. A bit further than I had planned, not quite the cuisine I envisioned eating in Scotland, and slightly more expensive than I would have liked, but worth it. I ended up ordering a salted yogurt drink (ayran), which was a little odd but I would drink it again, and what seemed to be a simple chicken dish (chicken beyti.) What they brought from the kitchen was exponentially more, and my goodness, unquestionably delectable. It was well worth every dollar (or dollar thirty if you're doing the conversion) for taste alone, but their portion size means there was more than enough for a second meal. Blessedly, there were a ton of veggies, and I'm sure I haven't been eating nearly enough of those in my travels. After a refreshing walk back, I made sure to pop in to the shop of the person who had given me the recommendation, and thanked them. Now, I was all set to have a fairly healthy day with food, but when there's a gelato shop right next to your hostel, and it is actually warm enough to feel your fingers without gloves... the decision is practically made for you. I ended up getting a small scoop of orange poppy seed. Walking in to the building where I was staying, and past the throngs of people checking in, I made my way to the "hang out" area where I could check out their selection of books and enjoy my frozen treat. I may even go downstairs and get a pint at the bar, I mean you've got to love the luxury of not even having to step outside for a drink. Or I'll just figure out what my plans will be for tomorrow and finish my book. Maybe both.
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  • Day23

    Is this was true laziness looks like?

    November 7, 2018 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 7 °C

    Waking up much later than I normally do, probably due to not going to sleep until nearly three in the morning, I decided that this was my day off. I lounged in my bed for a while, and once I had gotten ready for the day thought perhaps I'd go for a nice stroll. Definitely a difference from rushing off to see sights and be the first person in line. When I started to get hungry I bee lined it for the French cafe for more good food, and excellent coffee. Satiated, I headed back to my room where I (even on a lazy day) thought I could work out a plan of attack for the day. I decided that even though it would be a light day, I couldn't do nothing, so I headed, once more, to the Royal Mile. I finished my quick walk right in front of St. Giles Cathedral, where I'd been told that instead of an angel playing a harp, they have one playing bagpipes. Of course that's not all there is to see, there's the stunning stained glass, ornate woodwork, and naturally the history that goes with it. As this was one of my shorter trips to a point of interest, I bought a very fancy photo permit, and snapped away. Days could be spent in there looking at every elaborately adorned doorknob, bench, chair, etc. I did find my bagpipe angel, after asking where it was, and located it in the Thistle Chaple. This room blew all the rest out of the water. Made completely out of products from Scotland, and every bit from the armrests down to the plating on the key hole, was spectacular. The church was smart enough to have a docent in the room to explain things and point stuff out, and without her I wouldn't have found what I was looking for. At nearly the top of the ceiling, carved in wood, was my angel; shortly after I found out there was more than one. I headed back to the dorms, stopping for a nice hearty salad, and called it a day. Except, when I got back to the room there were two of the girls who I had been out with the night before. We chatted for a while about our travels, and anything else that popped up, before we were joined by another woman. I even found out that one of them is going on the same tour as me. Having too much fun to stop the night we headed downstairs and ended up running in to more of our companions from the previous evening. Some left, to watch a football game at a bar (or soccer), and the rest of us stayed... for trivia night. Possibly the hardest trivia ever. The first round was about Scotland, and even with all the tours I had been on, I could barely help. Another team actually had someone from Scotland, and I won't call them cheaters, but they certainly had a leg up. Three rounds later, and we were crowned with second place. Not bad, but I'll have to work on my general knowlage. Once the results had been released, it was on to karaoke, but not for me. I decided laundry, and a good night's sleep, were key to making sure I made it to the 7:45 meeting time for my tour. Tomorrow, it's on to Loch Ness, and maybe I'll even encounter the renowned Nessie.Read more

  • Day19

    Another type of family jewels

    November 3, 2018 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

    After gathering everything I thought I might need, I made my way out towards the Camera Obscura. When walking up another hill I happened upon a shop called The Boy Wizard, and even though I have my Harry Potter souvenirs, I had to go in. This place was probably exactly like most other merchandise shops for the illustrious books, and now movies, but there's no stopping my inner nerd. Right when you walk inside there was a table of wands, and more than I'd ever seen at another shop. I knew I most likely wouldn't be purchasing anything this go around, but I made my way through to the back looking at all there was to offer. Impressed by their expansive collection of goods I inquired if there was an online store, and they said it was in the works, but it was not up and running yet. From there an employee and I got in to the details of the wands made for each character and what it meant about them, even how some actors had input on the wands they used in the movies. Tearing myself away before I could whip out my credit card, I continued my path up the cobbled street. Along the way there was someone all dressed up in traditional Picts garb, and he made it very clear that it was not Scottish, and that their people were from Scandinavian decent. He even let me hold a double headed axe. After getting some very interesting information from him (he was a history teacher), I only walked about 30 feet before there was another person busking; this time, an honest to goodness bagpiper. The photo probably isn't my best, but even though it was warm enough to go without a jacket, it was as windy as could be. Adults were being pushed around by the blustery weather, and it was a surprise that children weren't being whisked away. When I made it to my destination, the queue was never ending; or at least it seemed that way. I decided to continue my ascent on to Edinburgh Castle. I'd heard mixed reviews of this particular castle, and even though the tickets seemed a tad exorbitant, I decided that I had to check it out. Walking in to buy my ticket the sun started to peak out from behind the clouds, and I knew I had made the right call. As a native of Edinburgh once told me "Good weather is when it's not raining." so sunshine meant great weather. As far as what they naysayers of this castle had to say, I'm in firm opposition. Not only do you have historical facts that could marvel anyone, but far reaching, absolutely breathtaking views. Once I'd ambled through a few areas, taking my time and soaking in the history, I came upon an exhibit of the Scottish Crown Jewels. Once learning the history of how they came to be, along with excellent displays, and informative placards, I made my inside. There weren't any photographs allowed, and I understand why, but I can honestly say it wouldn't matter; a photo couldn't do them justice. Every centimeter was astonishing. Finely detailed metal work, with glass and precious gems inlaid, and materials that look nicer than what could be made today. I have to wonder if that's what was made nearly 600 years ago, if we haven't taken a step backwards in craftsmanship... or maybe I just don't have the type of money that let's me see that. Stepping out from the exhibit I realized that along with getting much darker, it had somehow gotten more windy, and although I had had quite the hearty breakfast I was getting hungry. Heading back to my "Kick Ass Hostel," I once again proved my superior navigation skills, not once pulling out my phone for a map on my return. Finding the street market still open, and knowing they had food, I looked at a few stalls to see what might grab my fancy. Naturally the first one that peaked my interest was a cheese and salami booth, and after grabbing a brick of cheese I moved on. Scotland is known for many things, but udon and gyoza isn't one of them, however the smell coming from that stall made up my mind for me. Not only did I get a very filling meal for just a few pounds, but the woman working there even gave me an extra piece of gyoza. Being friendly in exchange for extra food is something I can absolutely get behind. After I'd settled down in the kitchen, I dug in. The flavors were bright with the cilantro and green onion, deep from the pork and sauce that covered the noodles, tangy from the pickled ginger, and just the right amount of spice from their chili sauce. Worth every penny. Fully satiated, and highly satisfied, it's on to the most important part of my day, laundry. Perhaps not the most glamorous part of the trip, but clean clothes are a must, and if there is still time tonight I may just head back to the Camera Obscura, queues or not.Read more

  • Day24

    A True Rework

    November 8, 2018 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 10 °C

    After having trouble falling asleep last night, but making sure to set my alarm, I woke up promptly at nine... only an hour and a half after when I was supposed to leave. I missed my tour, the one without refunds. After freaking out, being pissed, wondering if there was a way to meet up with the tour, I had to face the truth; there was no fixing this. I don't even have the time to do it another day. After wallowing for a while I decided that, in pure British fashion, I needed a cup of tea. I went downstairs, to commiserate with another bunkmate, and figure out what I'd do with my disappointingly open day. One girl did show me pictures of it, and it is just a lake, but I still wanted the experience. While sitting there, another girl from the pub crawl a few nights before showed up and said she was going on the free tour with the hostel. Lacking any plans, I figured, why not. There was a tiny group, five of us, including the guide. It made for a great walk around, and because it was so small he was able to customize what we saw. I even learned some things I hadn't on any other of my excursions. It was the most expensive free tour I'd ever been on, but it lifted my spirits; the ice cream I bought helped too. Not resembling in the slightest what I had planned, but there's probably a reason I didn't get to go. Maybe I just needed more rest. Whatever the cause, I got to go out, learn even more about the city, and maybe I'll go to a museum. Still a drag, but not a total loss.Read more

  • Day20

    Obscura'd Day

    November 4, 2018 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 8 °C

    After getting up bright an early, as well as getting ready for the day, I made my way downstairs for breakfast. There was no way I was going to miss it again today. Once I was completely nourished, I headed off to the Camera Obscura. Naturally when I arrived they informed everyone in line that although the building was open, the camera was broken. They did however offer the full price ticket with the chance to come back when it was fixed. I decided that since I was already there I may as well go see all the other fun stuff they had. Walking up six flights of stairs is no joke, but I did make it to the top, and even if I wasn't going to see the main event, I may as well take in the view. It may not have been the tallest building in the vicinity, but it had spectacular vantage point to see the surrounding area. After soaking in what I could, as well as an impromptu tour from one of the workers there, I made my way down one flight of stairs and on to the exhibit. It was so much fun! About 90% of what they offered was interactive, and a joy for all ages. There were a couple of things that I missed out on because you needed a friend to use them, but I was having too much fun to feel like I missed out. A highlight of this place for me was that, for the first time in my life, I was able to see what was in a "magic image" photo. I couldn't help the laughter that bubbled up from finally being able to concur a type of picture that has thrown me off my whole life. It was so enjoyable that I didn't even realize how long I had been there, and before I knew it, it was time to head off to meet a friend who was coming in from Glasgow to meet me. It had been about three years since we had seen each other, and I was so excited. After I located him, we got right back in to the swing of things, and walked around for a bit before our lunch reservation. When we had killed enough time we headed over to a swanky place in the Balmoral Hotel, where the food was exquisite. I got roast duck, which was heavenly, and a black current tart for dessert. Normally there would be photos included, but taking in to consideration not only my company but also how classy this place is, I decided to skip it and just enjoy my meal. Following our meal my friend and I had a reservation for a whiskey bar, but that was hours out, and we thought a nice walk through the city would be a good plan to catch up, and he even pointed out sights along the way. We literally walked, only stopping for coffee and a bathroom break, for three hours... over hilly terrain. Surviving the walk, and not doing too badly on breath, we made it to Usquabae. There we were lead down into an old cellar, converted very tastefully, to a seating area. Although I know I enjoy whiskey, I know very little about it, but thank goodness my friend guided me through. I even managed to drink a whiskey as old as I am. Throughly having enjoyed my time with my friend, and appreciating the finery of the day, we made our way back to the train station. We said our goodbyes, hoping it wouldn't be another three years until we next saw one another, and went our separate ways. Thank goodness I have at least a handle on how to get back to where I need to, because I made it to the hostel without a phone, and I didn't even trip once. So, five hundred steps or so later, many hills along the course of the day, with new memories galore, I settled down for the night utterly bone weary and with legs that had given up. Grabbing a bite to eat at the cafe in the building, I was done, but thrilled with my adventure. So sends another exciting day.Read more

  • Day19

    Sleep is for the tired

    November 3, 2018 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌬 14 °C

    After drawing the curtain on my pod, and curling up to sleep, I finally settled down after my first day in Scotland. When I awoke it was completely dark, and thinking it had to be early, I decided to read for a bit. It wasn't until I heard loud voices in the room that I got the feeling it may be later than I thought, and checking my phone I realized it was already 10:30 in the morning. Clearly I had slept longer than I had thought, but that also means the privacy curtain is also a blackout curtain. I suppose that just means I need the rest. Knowing that breakfast in the hostel is served until a fairly late time, I got ready for the day and headed downstairs. Walking in I scooped up a menu, only to have the person running the place inform me that breakfast had ended. I said fine, but looking at the board on the wall I knew I should still have at least 40 minutes to get something, but I was in no mood to argue. I whipped out my phone and decided to find a place, once again, using Yelp. As quick as could be I came across a place that boasted an all day breakfast, and was nearby too. I headed straight over, and was seated immediately. Of course I had to get a Scottish breakfast, which basically meant that it came with haggis, and as I came to find I quite enjoyed it. Never having eaten haggis before, it's possible it was some americanized version that was made more palatable, but since I don't know for sure I'll just say my was tasty. On my short walk back to home base I came across an outdoor market of sorts with all types of vendors, and after inquiring I learned that they only have this on Saturday's. Having just eaten I knew I wouldn't be getting any food, but boy did it all look great. Exploring further I located a couple of jewelry booths, some with pieces that had been handcrafted in Scotland (so out of my price range), but all with fantastic treasures. None seemed to have quite what I was looking for though, until literally the last stall in the row; there I found I dainty little Scottish thistle charm. Now, it's onward, to see what the rest of my afternoon will hold.Read more

  • Day13

    Edinburgh & Whisky (of course)

    September 18, 2018 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    Den letzten ganzen Tag hier auf der Insel haben wir in Edinburgh verbracht. Als erstes haben wir uns in den verruchten Untergrund der Old Town von Edinburgh getraut. Die "Edinburgh Vaults" unter der Blair Street an der South Bridge sind ein unterirdisches Gewölbe aus Kellern und Tunneln. Sie waren ursprünglich als Lagerräume und Werkstätten von Handwerkern gedacht, die in der darüberliegenden Straße ihre Geschäfte hatten. Da es dort jedoch richtig stank und dunkel und feucht war, lebten bald nur noch die Ärmsten der Armen sowie Kriminelle dort unten. Anschließend haben wir uns das Edinburgh Castle angeschaut. Viel besser war jedoch unser verspäteter Whisky-Lunch 🥃✌.Read more

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Princes Street Garden

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