Day 1: Unfamiliarity
Its 7:50pm and I have just arrived at The Hostel in Edinburgh (yes that’s its official name). I have just walked a mile and a half down the main high street after sitting patiently on a National Express coach for ten hours. The high street is filled with the hustle and bustle of city life, bright lights illuminating Edinburgh castle at night, perched high on the hill, feasting its eyes down on the city. Business men and women, families, solo travellers of all ages walk down the street, having conversations about their day, what they have planned for dinner, or how they can’t believe they missed that episode of X Factor the other night. The wonderful aroma of perfume follows me down the street. I am in awe of the city at night.
I am given the key card to Room 6 filled with bunk beds and people travelling from all different corners of the world. After settling in, and being exhausted from a long day of travel I take out my notepad and start to jot down my stream of consciousness…
This world sets us on a course we never imagined for here I am in a sixteen bed hostel room of a foreign city wondering what to do with my life and where to go next. Ask yourself this; what do you want from this life? Where do your passions truly lie? It is okay not to have it all figured out yet. It’s okay to take pictures, wonder in the splendour of it all and indulge in the moments of true awe and beauty of ones surroundings. For this night will give you it all.
Day 2: The City never sleeps
Taking a solo trip on your own can be very daunting at first. You become solely in control, solely responsible for booking your tickets, turning up on time for your coach, or flight and most daunting of all, learning how to navigate your way around a city that is completely foreign to you.
Day two began at 7:30a.m in the morning, awakening to groupings of business men and women out the window waiting for their tram, or bus to work. There is no break from the noise of footsteps, the sound of the pedestrian crossing and cars passing by. The city never sleeps. I grab my belongings and head out to the National Museum of Edinburgh to meet a very distant friend who is kind enough to show me around the city for the day. As it starts to rain we head up Edinburgh’s famous mountain, to experience the views from Arthurs Seat. The views are extraordinary, looking out at the coastline, and city skyline. It is quieter up here, but with gales of up to fifty miles per hour it is hard to stand still without being afraid of falling off the side! After several hours of hiking, we head back down to grab a coffee and warm ourselves up again. Next stop is to experience the Royal Mile, filled with many vintage shops, cafes, restaurants, souvenir shops, and the list goes on and on. I have been unlucky enough to miss out on the street festivals which happen around July, August time. But, the streets are still alive with music, laughter and joy. Up far on the hill sits Edinburgh’s most famous castle. People gather to capture the moment and take pictures outside the landmark (I of course join in with this tradition and take some pictures of my own).
I feel like a toddler that has been put in the middle of a play park, left to my own devices. There is so much to do and see but never enough time to do it all at once. I take the opportunity to explore the Royal Botanic Gardens, kept in pristine condition, with paths leading their way around, and the prospect of sitting wherever you desire. Sometimes you have to sit for a moment or two and take it all in. Evening is fast approaching so I decide to take a walk up to several monuments perched up on the hill on the other side of town. From here I can see Arthurs Seat and again, I’m blessed with the view of the city skyline. The night ends with a meal in a local pub chain, trying out Edinburgh’s local dish, Haggis. I feel complete.
Today has been overwhelming, I have seen the best of places, the best of views and embraced the local food. Now I prepare for a long journey home the very next day. You don’t need to go far, or be away for long to adopt a different perspective on life. I am both connected and disconnected from the world. I am both in and out. I am in awe of the city, but also lusting for solitude.