To the Homeland

United Kingdom Edinburgh, United Kingdom   Mar 28, 2013    By

This was NOT a work trip, I finally was able to escape to Scotland. A little background, I took a similar trip to Edinburgh a couple of years ago after a work trip to Norway. I went to see one of my ancestor’s graves, as the MacGregor family is from an area somewhat near Edinburgh. Heck, they even have a restaurant bearing my name…well, without the ‘a’.

restaurant with my name

I loved it then, but you know what they say about first times, it could just be the magic of the whole thing. This was my first time flying RyanAir, a budget airline I’d heard a lot about. I thought it was awesome. Not a problem at all, flew out of a smaller airport near Brussels, in Charleroi. There were no amenities, but who really cares when the flight is so cheap. My cab from the airport to the hotel was around 16 pounds for a 30 minute ride, Belgian cabs charge twice that. My first meal was a slice of pizza at this Turkish guy’s place, we talked about Edinburgh politics for around 30 minutes, I guess debate gets just as heated here as it does in the U.S.

The first night I went to a pub called the Intercontinental. I met a Royal Scot just returning from Afghanistan…great guy. Then I went to the Burlington, right down the street, the best bar I’ve been to in Europe…love that place! I ended up going back here a few more times during my stay. I met other interesting people there, we talked about music the first night, from David Bowie to Shane MacGowan. The other nights there I met up with Padrum and Max, who I’ll be seeing again when I’m there (and when you come down to Belgium, you’re reading this I know). Fantastic time, thanks to Bette and Roma the bartenders, and good for them for chasing us all out at one before we did something stupid!

I had already seen the major sights on my previous trip, though I still visited the castle again, since it’s one of the best castles in Europe. I also made sure to check out the cathedral, and trek briefly down the touristy Royal Mile.

castlecathedralroyal mile

Ok, back to the other sites of Edinburgh. The second night I went to a play at the Traverse Theatre, called ‘Quiz Show’, great time, it was an amazing story that didn’t really end up the way you thought it would. It moved me, that’s for sure. The Traverse was a great place, too, very modern with a bar and café right outside the main stage rooms. The third day I went to a football match. Two years ago I was here and Hibernian lost 2-1, and this time the same thing happened. I still had a great time, and was seated in front of some very loud hooligans who made the game more colorful and exciting. I also got Hibernian’s only goal on video!

football matchfootball match

After the game I was at a bar and got a bloody mary with freshly mashed tomatoes, orange juice, and basil, not the typical recipe but it tasted amazing.

bloody mary

I went to a writer’s group meeting the next day, met some great people. The coolest thing about my stay is that I was in an area called Bruntsfield, just outside the city centre. The people I met my first few nights I kept on seeing repeatedly while I walked around the neighborhood, we’d stop and chat. It was such a great feel, and I hated to leave as it felt very welcoming. Most people had dogs, another thing I loved about the city. Dogs were allowed in bars, and often caused a ruckus but were fun nonetheless. My favorite was this Siberian Husky, who a great guy named Glenn brought in a few times. My last night was great, at the Burlington. I know I’ll be here again, and I won’t rule out the chance of living here, I love this city.

last shot in scotland



2 Responses to “To the Homeland”

  1. Joella Says:

    I have been planning my trip to Scotland and as the time nears I am more and more excited. I have yet to hear a negative thing about Edinburgh or Scotland as a whole. I will be staying in Edinburgh for the first few days. Will have to look up the bar you loved (not sure I can go with my 2 girls in tow but we will see). Thank you for sharing your experience I can’t wait to share mine soon.

  2. jagabond Says:

    I can’t wait to hear about your experiences there! The kids will definitely love the castle, and the street performers on the Royal Mile. Also if you have time, there’s a great castle in Stirling, which is only an hour by car from Edinburgh.

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