Sleepy Town of Edinburgh

It was raining heavily when we arrived in Edinburg, after a gruesome night's journey on Mega bus. Before moving further, my advice to young and old alike is that plan your trip in advance and opt for cheap Easy jet deals than bus travel. Buses are totally medieval in form and seats. Even in India we got a better deal when we went from Bangalore to Ootty. At least seats could be pushed backwards and there was space to stretch legs.

What to see:
Anyways, after arriving at our destination we ( my family and our friends) went to watch the Edinburgh Museum, which is at Royal Mile. It is very absorbing and meticulously organized. The artefacts and models trace the history of Edinburgh.

Museum of Childhood: It is some what similar to Dolls Museum in Delhi. There are toys and games of all kinds from many parts of the world. Ananya went berserk with joy on seeing so many of her favourite items (which include dolls, teddy bears, train sets and cycles). It was very difficult for me to keep her under control and she doesn't lend an ear to her father's soft don't-do-it pleas. The museum is a treat for 'young' adults also.

We had time to explore only these two museums, but there Edinburgh is a treasure for history lovers. There are 'People's Story', Writer's Museum, Lauriston Castle, The Brass Rubbing Centre, Queensferry museum, Newhaven Heritage Museum.

The Royal Mile: The Royal mile is the backbone of the Old Town of Edinburgh and no other part of Edinburgh is as rich in folklore and historic significance as this ancient street. Some of the most popular attractions in Edinburgh can be found here. Sightseeing the Royal Mile should be done at a leisurely pace mainly because there are many sights to take pictures of and stories to learn about at every step but also because it's going uphill.

Princess Street: One of Edinburgh's most famous attractions is the Scott Monument right on Princess Street. The monument dedicated to Sir Walter Scott is one of the most recognisable tall buildings in the city. The entire length of the north side of Princes Street is crowded with shops. The south side has Princes Street Gardens and is an excellent vantage point for admiring the Old Town, Castle Rock and Edinburgh Castle.

Advice: The cheapest food to find on Princes Street is from any of the 3 Gregg’s bakeries on Rose Street, the street that runs parallel with Princes Street or in Marks and Spencer. There are also many affordable pubs and cafes on this pedestrian Edinburgh Street.If you're mainly interested in sightseeing and taking pictures, walk along the south side of Princes Street, the one with the gardens, to avoid the shoppers.

Then there's Calton Hill at the heart of the city with stunning views over Princes Street, the Old Town and Edinburgh Castle.

Advice: Avoid going on Calton Hill after lunchtime if you want to take pictures of Princes Street and the Castle because the sun is in front of you at that time of the day. You can see all of the Edinburgh Centre from Calton Hill: North Bridge, Old Town, the Hub, Ramsay Gardens, Edinburgh Castle, Princes Street, and further to the right, St Andrew's Square

Edinburgh Castle: I was amazed to hear that Edinburgh castle is built on extinct volcano.Few visitor destinations around the world can boast of such an amazing historical attraction at the heart of the very compact Edinburgh City Centre but even fewer can say that their number one attraction sits on an extinct volcano. Like Tower Bridge of London, this castle was also used as a prison and Queen Mary was imprisoned here.

Advice: In summers the best time to visit and explore the castle is around 9.00 am. You should be able to have the exploring to your heart’s content and attend the one o clock gun ceremony. For taking photos, midday should be avoided because at this time the sunlight is at its strongest and shadows are harsh. Go first thing in the morning or last thing in the afternoon. The Castle is an impressive fortress waiting to be explored, a hub of history and has splendid views of Edinburgh.The view from the castle gives visitors a chance to appreciate Edinburgh's geological variety: hills, sea and extinct volcanoes as well as its man-made skyline.

Where to stay: Edinburgh is an expensive city, so prices are quite high. Some of the areas outside the City Centre such as Newington, Morningside, Tolcross, Stockbridge or Haymarket are a tourist's dream in terms of choice. It takes 10 minutes by bus to reach Edinburgh's centre. The city has very good public transport system so it is better to compromise on accommodation.

What to do:
Edinburgh Festival, which is a collection of many arts festivals and Hogmanay celebrations are kind of mascots of Edinburgh. The Edinburgh Festival has its base in Edinburgh International Festival (EIF) which was established in 1947 to heal the wounds of the war. The Edinburgh Festival is actually a number of events which take place in July and September every year.
Hogmanay is the New Year in Scotland. In Edinburgh, Hogmanay spans into four days of Winter Festival that takes place in December end. Thousands of people participate in the torch procession from the Edinburgh Old Town to Calton hill.Night afroe Fiesta is a street carnival with themes changing every year. There’s music, dance and street theatre in a carnival atmosphere.

Interesting Facts:
-The One o’clock Gun in Edinburgh Castle fires every day at exactly One o'clock except on Sundays.
-Edinburgh was the first city in the world which had its own fire-brigade.
-It was built on seven hills, like Rome.
-One of the most popular cures for baldness in the 17th century Edinburgh was the application of the burnt ashes of dove’s dung.
-The first McDonald's restaurant opened for business in 1952 in Edinburgh.
( home page- contents-a few facts)
(Aug/Sep2003-Facts about Edinbutgh)