Lulina myseľ: Lost in Edinburgh
Do you know the movie Trainspotting? If not, I highly recommend it, it is a classic. The movie was recorded in Edinburgh which this blog will be about. In the movie there is the apartment where people do drugs, orgies, parties and actually a baby dies here. So, about two minutes away from the place I stayed at, until just recently there was such as apartment: you could have gotten in only if you knew the secret password, it was it was in the city center and it was called the Cowgate Apartment. Because I think it would be boring if I started my blog by giving you a spoiler that Edinburgh is a magical city where Harry Potter was born.
Welcome to Scotland
Scotland is located north from the England. As you might already know, it is not a separate country, however Scottish act like they have nothing to do with England. That reminds me a relationship between Northern Wales, South Wales and England. Imagine you are in a bar (pub) in Northern Wales and someone from the South Wales walks in. This person most likely becomes a persona non grata, because people from the South Wales most often don´t speak Welsh. But let´s say after that an English man walks in. Welsh people suddenly stick together and both of them hate the English person. I mean, considering it´s a small island´s kingdom, it´s individual countries have very interesting relationships.
Let´s get back to Scotland now. They print their own money which are usually useful to pay with in England because they don´t accept them there. Of course I messed up and accidentally brought 20 Scottish pounds to Slovakia. I´m really curious where they will accept those. Scottish don´t eat English breakfast but Full Scottish breakfast and instead of “thank you” they say “cheers”. And do you know what Slàinte mhath (slanchevah) means? It´s “cheers” in Scottish. I said slanchevah during the whiskey tasting and let me tell you that if whiskey was the only alcohol existing in the entire world, I would immediately become an abstinent.
When one day you eat lunch on a place where Gerard Butler goes to and thanks to that you end up on a trip to Loch Ness with a Chinese family
First things first: my roommate had a business meeting with a guy named Jason. When he greeted us, I was having a cold and looked like a local homeless. I don´t know why but Jason was so nice that he invited me to join them for the lunch to celebrate their new collaboration. Before we left, I was being told to get changed because people don´t wear sweatpants and sweatshirts at the place we went to. At least I tried to balance my oily hair and no-make up on with a nice T-shirt. And then we arrived to that magical place: The Witchery. The Witchery is a luxury restaurant where usually you need a reservation in advance. Celebrities like Gerard Butler (who ate here just two weeks ago), Vin Diesel, Simon Cowell, Jimmy Carr and many others have visited this place. I think it might be inappropriate to mention but this happened during my workday, instead of my 30 minutes long lunch break I was gone for 2 hours and that during those two hours Jason and I drank a bottle of wine and a bottle of champagne.
Anyways, on the following day Jason was leaving to Glasgow where we intended to go together. Since he was taking his time, I decided to walk around. Well, guess what: our trip to Glasgow at the end didn´t happen but I happened to come to the hill with a beautiful view on Edinburgh – the Arthur´s Seat. Since I wasn´t ready for a hike (I was supposed to go to the city), I grumbled during the whole hike. But the view was stunning. I barely made it all the way up when a nice Chinese man asked me to take a picture of him with his son. Then he took a picture of me and after we realized I had no other plans for the day, he asked me to join them for the rest of the day. By the afternoon we became such friends that he asked me to join them on the trip to visit Nessie at Loch Ness.
Loch Ness is located in the highlands and it is a completely different world. I fell in love with it. There are so many lochs everywhere (loch in Scottish means a lake) blue as a sky and on the way there we even saw the highest hill of the United Kingdom, Ben Nevis (since I´m already educating you in Scottish, ben means a peak). To be honest, I would go back there immediately. Unfortunately, we didn´t see Nessie but the trip was amazing and our guide talked all the time (like literally, he didn´t stop!)
City connected by long narrow closes and never ending stairs
That´s also a way how to call Edinburgh. I can say that this city is built on something like two levels and Google maps become a little bit unreliable because they don´t show you on which “floor” are you located at the moment. These long narrow closes are sometimes super steep but they are such a shortcuts that hiking up the close isn´t a problem at all. Or, you can choose to take the stairs. They are everywhere around the city and you can choose which alternative you prefer more. The one thing I enjoyed the most were all the exhausted faces of the people who just walked up the stairs. By the way, I mess up once as well. As I was leaving the town, I relied on Google maps and instead of taking the close, it took me to one of these stairs. My luggage was around 33 pounds heavy and for a second I though I was gonna die.
Other than these two “town floors” back in the days there used to be also an underground neighborhood. It´s called Mary King´s Close but it got privatized few years ago and now you can visit it during the official tour only. They will tell you the real stories of the people who used to live there, what conditions they lived in and how it looked like down there during the plague pandemic. You will learn that there could live up to 10 people in a one small room and they would “do their business” into one bucket which was carried and poured out after the sunset by the youngest person of the household. I hope all of you have a younger sibling to tell this cool fact.
Outside of the closes and staircases Edinburgh is just beautiful. It doesn´t surprise me that Rowling wrote the Harry Potter book series here. There is (at this moment closed) a restaurant The Elephant House where she´d written the first books (if you are ever there, visit their bathroom), a cemetery where are buried people who inspired her to create the character of Tom Riddle or Professor McGonagall and The Balmoral Hotel where Rowling finished writing of the Deathly Hallows. By the way, after she finished the book she did a party in her room and as she was drunk she left a note about it on the bust in her room. If you have about 2700 USD to spare, you can book a night in this room and check it out.
Edinburgh is awesome: men wear kilts at parties, the national animal of Scotland is the unicorn, in the middle of the town you will find a giant building in a poop shape and in front of the St. Giles´ Cathedral people spit on the mosaic heart.