That time I ran away to Scotland. Part 1 - Edinburgh

A couple of weeks ago I ran away to Scotland. I booked my trip and then 36 hours later I jumped on a coach for a mere 14  hour journey to Edinburgh.
Why book such a long journey when it takes just 45min by plane from Gatwick? Well the whole journey from Brighton to Edinburgh and back cost me £26, and I was on a strict Budget.

This being my first solo trip, my first hostel stay it was safe to say I was feeling apprehensive, excited and a little bit empowered.

Once I arrived in Edinburgh I went to into my hostel. I chose C0de hostel situated just a couple on minutes walk from Princes Street. It's a pod hostel, so while you share a dorm, you still have a bit of privacy. I was sceptical, would it be claustrophobic? Would I meet anyone or would we all hide from each other in our pods? I was beyond pleasantly surprised!

Firstly, as the name would suggest, you use a code to gain access to the hostel, your room and locker, and because I'd said I might be late checking in I received an email with all the details to get in, but as I made it in on time, I was greeted and shown around by a wonderful member of staff who could not have been more pleasant and helpful.
I was booked in a lower bunk in a 4 bed, mix sex dorm and it was clean cosy and I instantly felt like I'd made a great call.

Code hostel Pod bunk code hostel kitchen code hostel pod bedtime
{L-R;   My pod,   The kitchen,   Inside the pod}

After a day of travel (sitting on a coach is tiring, trust me) I decided that I would just head out for a wander around the city, get my bearings, take some pictures and work out what I wanted to do the next day.

Edinburgh North Bridge Panoramic

Edinburgh panoramic

{Panoramic Edinburgh}

After my wander, it was time to head back to my hostel for a warm drink and curl up in my pod.
Now, I'd read in some reviews that because you were in pods C0de wasn't the place to make friends and when I headed back to my room at about 10pm everyone was asleep, and I was concerned, but I went down to the kitchen/social area I was soon joined by a couple of girls also coming back from a not so wild night out, and swapped stories, recommendations and generally had a good chat, so if your looking for a party hostel C0de might not be it, but you will still make some friends.

After a good nights sleep I crept out of my pod, had a quick shower and headed down to the included in the price breakfast. - Note the bathrooms are lovely, the showers have a nice little 'dry area', however they are frosted glass, which you definitely cannot see through, but when it's a mixed sex bathroom might make you feel a little uncomfortable.
Breakfast was great, you can get anything you'd expect from a continental brekkie and they have a waffle maker!!!

The first part of my day was spent on a free walking tour (it's free to join but you tip your guide at the end). The tour by Sandemans New Europe tours was recommended to me the night before by a lovely girl who had taken the tour that day, and I figured it might be better than guiding myself around. Once again I was sceptical however this was possibly the best decision of the day!

The tour was great, I saw and learnt a lot and our tour guide, Greg (The ginger one) was incredible and I'd 100% recommend doing a tour with him next time you're in Edinburgh.

Greyfriars Bobby grave Edinburgh     Edinburgh free walking tour, Sandemans New Europe tours Hume's golden toeEdinburgh

Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh Castle
St Giles Cathedral Edinburgh
{Top - Bottom/L-R; The Grave of Greyfriars Bobby, David Hume's Golden Toe, Old town architecture,
Princes Street Gardens, St Giles' Cathedral}

The tour lasted 2.5 hours and we covered a fair bit of ground starting By Tron Kirk on
the Royal Mile and ending outside The National Museum. Since we ended there (and it was chucking it down with rain) it would be rude to not pop in the museum and have a quick look around.

I wished I'd scheduled more time into my day to stay there, but alas only had time to quickly peruse the exhibitions and head on up to the roof before heading back towards The Royal Mile and to the Castle.

Edinburgh Castle, National Museum of Scotland roof views

Edinburgh, National Museum of Scotland roof views

Edinburgh Panoramic, National Museum of Scotland roof views

{Views from The National Museum roof top viewing platform}
Now for anyone that knows me, you know I do love a good castle and Edinburgh Castle is a pretty good castle. Firstly its one price for all the areas/mini museums (£16.50 per adult), so no complex payment tier's for different access!
Not going to lie, Edinburgh Castle is awesome, but I have been to more interesting castles. A lot of the castle is now dedicated to Military History (and some of it is used as a military base), and that's not really my jam and I do wish that I'd either got a guide book or gone on a tour so that I could hear even more bout the history of the castle, rather then just using the few info signs that were up and applying my own knowledge. The crown jewels were pretty spectacular, I may have had a history geek out in there, but it was too busy to ask “if it was the real stone”.

Edinburgh castle, entrance
Edinburgh castle, National War memorial
Edinburgh Castle, Mons Meg

Edinburgh Castle, Stained Glass, St Margret's Chapel
{Top to bottom; Castle Entrance, Scottish National War Memorial, Mons Meg,
 Stained Glass in St Margret's Chapel}

I left the castle at about 4.30/45ish and was planning to walk down through Princes Gardens towards my hostel but I did a quick double check and was advised not to as the member of staff couldn't guarantee that the gates at the bottom were locked after the top one, and I might get all the way down and have to walk back up to the castle to get out (Not going to happen). So I headed back down the mound and had a little rest stop and refuelling before at the hostel before heading back out.

I spent the evening on another walking tour, also run Sandemans New Europe Tours and led by Greg (the ginger one) from the earlier tour. This time I went on 'The Darkside Tour' (£10 per adult) learning about Edinburgh, and Scotland's dark and obscure past, folklore, witches and the dead with a walk up Calton Hill. I only took the tour because I was going to go up to see The National Monument anyway, so when I was told "we go up the hill, and there's stories of witches and murder's" I couldn't really say no.

Cannongate Kirk, EdinburghMermorial to Scots that died on the American Civil War, Abraham Lincoln, Old Calton Burial ground, edinburghDavid Hume's Tomb, Old Calton Burial groun, Edinburgh

scottish national monument, edinburgh, Calton Hill, Sandemans New Europe Tours

Calton Hill Edinburgh

{Top - bottom, L - R: Memorial to the Scots who died in the American Civil war, David Hume's Tomb, Cannongate Kirk, The National Monument of Scotland, views form Calton Hill} 

I bloody loved it! It was full of weird and grisly history, which is what I love.After the hour and a half walk which also involved two graveyards (ooohh) and a trip down Jabob's Ladder, I got talking to a few other people and we decided instead of hanging out in a cemetery, we would all go get some food and try some whisky.

We descended on Whiski in the Royal mile, where we found 200+ types of whisky, great food and some live music and after the bonding about UK/USA/Canada alcohol laws, guys and travels we headed our separate ways and I headed back for a last night in my pod before the next part of my Scottish adventure...

*Big shout out to Rebekah, Alyssa, and Lauren for a wonderful evening.
** You should probably not make habit of friends with people in graveyards.

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