A Photo Journal: Moody and Magical Edinburgh
The dark, dank, and moody gloom truly suits this city. Edinburgh is everything you hope the capital of Scotland will be.
From the imposing castle on a rock, to the Victorian architecture that blankets the city, and even the magical and witchy history that is embraced by all, Edinburgh is effervescent and should not be missed.
I had been recovering from the flu while in Northern Ireland (getting sick on the road is bound to happen when you travel full-time), and I was hoping Edinburgh would be the redemption I was looking for.
When we landed in Scotland, home to the many famous varieties of Scotch whisky, my husband joked that sipping some whisky would be good to clear out my sinus congestion.
Once I was no longer contagious, that's exactly what we did. We started our Edinburgh adventure at the famous Johnnie Walker tasting rooms on Princes Street.
I was prepared for whatever elixir(s) they would hand me in hopes of getting over the last bit of illness, but I was not prepared for the absolutely jaw-dropping, immersive (and somewhat psychedelic?) experience that came with our tastings.
The tasting was 90 minutes of punchy flavor and color, and it never stopped moving. We were guided from room to room, and floor to floor, with new drinks, new flavors, and new colors. If I ever were to trip on acid, I imagine it would look and feel like this tour.
Unfortunately no videos were allowed, so the interactive components of the changing rooms, lights, and colors just has to be witnessed in person.
But after three or so strong drinks and an empty stomach (rookie move), I stumbled out of Johnnie Walker's in search of our lunch at The Witchery by the Castle.
This famous restaurant and hotel resides in a 16th century building at the base of Edinburgh's famous castle. We were lead below street level to a wonderfully spooky dining hall lit only by candlelight, and adorned by red velvet and gold fixtures. We truly felt as if we were dining in Gothic-era Edinburgh. And my butternut squash bisque and gnocchi were fantastic, so there's that.
It was a proper Scottish day with sideways rain and blackened skies, but the castle, cobblestone streets, and the rest of Edinburgh's gothic skyline just simply came to life. Despite getting absolutely drenched and windblown, it was one of my favorite afternoons to walk around.
Ken and I had a system where he would bust out the umbrella while I yanked out my camera from under my coat. The umbrella would suffice for rain coverage to protect my camera just long enough to snap a few photos before it would collapse from the wind.
We did this over and over (e.g. I forced him) so I could get those coveted shots that my photographer brain just could absolutely not go without. They are some of my favorite photos.
We were also gifted with two absolutely sunny days, which apparently is unheard of in Scotland in November.
Don't forget you can enlarge the gallery by clicking though the photos!
In true Scottish fashion, I also thoroughly enjoyed seeing local bagpipe players posted up around the city. Their official dress is stunning, and hearing the bagpipes echo through the streets just adds to the city's great culture and atmosphere.
The iconic red telephone booth? We may not be in London, but we're still in the UK!
And last but not least, as a Harry Potter nerd, it would have been absolute sacrilege to not do an HP tour while in Edinburgh. After all, many aspects of the books and movies are based off of real-life locations around Edinburgh. It's widely known that J.K. Rowling also spent most of her time writing the books here.
The tour around the city, simply put, was magical. We walked for an hour and a half to all the major interest points that inspired the the books and movies - from tombstones where she drew inspiration for her quirky wizarding names, to Victoria Street that inspired the dizzying Diagon Alley.
Edinburgh easily became one of my favorite cities in all of the UK and Europe, but it was just a small taste of Scotland as a country. We've already decided that we'll be back in the summer to rent a car and explore far beyond the city limits!