Auld Reekie and the Loch Ness Monster

Edinburgh is an enchanting place. I could barely contain my excitement as we pulled into Waverley Station. Five years ago I came to Edinburgh and fell in love with the city. Ever since I left that first time I have been trying to find a way back. A light fog hung over the city as we arrived. The air was cool and moist from showers that had recently passed through. We climbed the hill that the ancient city is built on to our hostel, checked in, unloaded our gear, and headed out to grab some dinner. The late evening sun was beginning to pierce through the gray skies. It was a perfect evening for sitting outside The Mitre Bar along the Royal Mile and enjoy a pint and some food. The streets were full of life as people sat outside of pubs talking or moved about, peering into the many shops along. The first day was spent just wandering around and exploring the area around the castle that overlooks the entire city.

The evening sun pierces through the gray skies.

The evening sun pierces through the gray skies.

Edinburgh Castle towers above the Grassmarket.

Edinburgh Castle towers above the Grassmarket.

We climbed all 287 steps to the top of the 200 foot Scott Monument, a Victorian Gothic structure built in the 1840s to honor Scottish author Sir William Scott. We climbed the narrow spiral staircase all the way to the top, where we were treated to an immaculate 360º view of the area surrounding Princes Street.

The Scott Monument

The Scott Monument

King Arthur's Seat rises behind the old city.

King Arthur’s Seat rises behind the old city.

From there we made our way back to the Royal Mile and down toward the Palace at Holyroodhouse. Sean and I decided to climb King Arthur’s Seat. We found a path that we thought led to the top and followed it up. We were disappointed to find it was the wrong path and we were only about halfway but the view was absolutely incredible. We could see a large parts of Edinburgh that are not visible from the city center. It was perfect timing since we arrived at the pinnacle of our hike as the sun was beginning to set, casting an orange glow across the landscape.

Cemetery behind Canongate Kirk

Cemetery behind Canongate Kirk

View of Edinburgh from King Arthur's Seat.

View of Edinburgh from King Arthur’s Seat.

Even more beautiful than the city were the Highlands. On Saturday we took a bus through the Highlands and up to Loch Ness. At Loch Ness we went on a boat ride in search of Nessie but returned with nothing more than a slight tan and memories of a good time. For me, this trip was a repeat. I had done the same thing last time I was in Edinburgh but in the winter. It was awesome seeing the reactions of the faces of my friends seeing the towering mountains as we drove through them. They were in awe at how beautiful and pristine the land was.

Loch Tulla, Scotland

Loch Tulla, Scotland

Boat ride on Loch Ness.

Boat ride on Loch Ness.

While sitting in a restaurant on Sunday I started looking at the publications they had lying around. I found one that reminded me of The Austin Chronicle. It was a broadsheet format that listed what was going on around Edinburgh: concerts, festivals, plays, art galleries, film screenings, etc. I cannot remember the exact tagline but it was along the lines of “journalism done right.”

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