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Planning The Trip... Leg 1: Edinburgh City

Posted: Aug 2015

Celebrating 10 years at my company, employees are given the benefit of a 5-week sabbatical. I decided that I needed (and should) take a trip as part of my sabbatical time. Knowing that I would be traveling on my own, I wanted to go somewhere that not only was safe but also has a familiarity about it. I looked into going back to England, however the places I was looking to visit were ones that I just visited a few years ago. I really wanted to see something entirely different but still have the comfort of knowing that I would be welcomed as a single female traveler. I thought of the next closest place to England, and there it is, Scotland. I have a deep connection to Scotland and it has always been on my list of places to experience. I didn't know that I would do it alone, but at this point in my life I know now that this is the right time and place to go solo. 

So, planning away I go. 

The Plan: 

*2 weeks in Scotland.

*Arrive in Edinburgh and stay the first 4 days in the city center.

*On day 4, rent a car and go on an adventure (yea, I have to figure out how I am going to swing this one - wrong side of the car, wrong side of the road)

*Days 4-7: Stay in the small town of Peebles (30 mins south of Edinburgh city) - renting a self-catering cottage

*Days 7-10: Stay in a cottage on the Arniston Estate (more to come on this beautiful estate)

*Days 10-12: Stay in a small suite in a town just outside of Stirling

*Days 12-14: Stay in a suite at the Atholl Palace in Pitlochry

*Day 14: Stay in a hotel at the Edinburgh airport

I will break the blog down into legs based on the locations I will be staying. 

So first up, Edinburgh city.

Hotel of choice: Grassmarket Hotel in the historic Old Town Grassmarket area. See images further down or visit their page:

Edinburgh is divided essentially into two parts - Old Town and New Town. The heart of the city is Edinburgh Castle. On the edge of the city is Arthur's Seat which is a hilly ridgeline which hugs the town below.

I will go into much more detail of the city as I experience it, but here are a few things I am excited to see:

*Edinburgh Castle

*Whiskey Library

*National Portrait Gallery

*Scottish National Gallery

*National Museum of Scotland

*Princes Street Gardens

*Palace of Holyroodhouse

*The Royal Mile

*St. Giles Cathedral

*Mary King's Close

*Greyfriars Kirkyard (graveyard)

--- And in general, just breathing in the history and the surroundings, feeling a sense of time traveling to eras long ago, meeting the locals, tasting one of the best foodie cities in the world, taking a lot of photos, journaling in the same coffee shop as J. K. Rowling did when writing Harry Potter, and falling in love with the city.

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