I was quite surprised to learn that up until recently, magic mushrooms had been legal in the UK. Magic mushrooms are the name given for the collection of different fungi that are imbibed for by a user in order to have a psychedelic experience. As far as I know, magic mushrooms have been classified as dangerous (or class A) drugs in most Western countries (bar Holland of course) for some time. A self-professed “friend of the fungi”, I was happy to learn that there remain legal ways of sourcing and enjoying fresh local fungi. Like the author says, you will always see something interesting in the Scottish countryside even if you don’t find any mushrooms. Makes you wonder if he’d been eating a few too many…
I like taking the piss. I like it alot. I’m no sadist…if the person you’re taking the piss out of doesn’t actually know, it can’t be at their expense, right?
By bus (coach)
The Edinburgh bus network is cheap, extensive and frequent making it the easiest and most cost effective way of navigating the city. Local bus companies offer daily tickets, which allow you unlimited travel in and around Edinburgh. You buy these tickets, and single journey tickets, on board the bus from the driver – remember that no change is given, so you’ll need the exact fare. Also remember to grab your single journey ticket from the red vending machine beside the driver. Otherwise you might be rewarded with an embarrassing mid-trip conversation with a grumpy ticket officer.
If you’re heading further beyond Edinburgh, you can buy your coach tickets for UK and Scottish travel from the bus station in St Andrew Square in advance. And if you’re heading to the airport a regular express service runs from Waverley Bridge to Edinburgh Airport, with pick up points along the way.
You can also take in the sights of the city on one of the many Edinburgh bus tours – City Bus Tour tickets can be bought in person at the Edinburgh and Scotland Information Centre, 3 Princes Street or on Waverley Bridge, which is where the tours start.
The following companies can provide more information
For travel in and around Edinburgh including Edinburgh Airport, city bus tours and night buses Lothian Buses contact number – 0131 555 6363
For Travel in and around Edinburgh, Central and The Borders
First Buses contact number – 08708 72 72 71
Edinburgh International Airport is 12km (8 miles) west of the city centre and is easy to reach thanks to an excellent – and regular – Airlink Coach service and good taxi services. It takes about 20 minutes to get from the city centre to the airport.
London, the UK’s major international hub, has more than 40 flights to Edinburgh per day (1 hour). There are also regular services to Edinburgh from other major UK airports (including three airports in Ireland) and frequent scheduled flights from 40 European airports – from Amsterdam to Zurich.
>> Read more about getting to Edinburgh from London
If you’re heading to the city from the other side of the Atlantic, Continental Airlines offer a daily flight form New York’s Newark airport direct to Edinburgh Airport. Plus many transatlantic flights land at Glasgow International Airport, just an hour’s drive away. Delta Airlines also offers a daily direct flight between Edinburgh Airport and Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
Like any other metropolis, Edinburgh has its share of glitz and glamour, stoops and slums. The thing that has always intrigued me is the way that trend and fashion are often born in the precincts of the poor, only to be worn out by the machinations of popular culture and the lumbering action of the bandwagon. Edinburgh’s Leith district provides an illustration.
Edinburgh is surrounded by some of the most peaceful beaches in Scotland. And you don’t have to travel far from the city before you can enjoy a fresh sea breeze!
I’ve been riding the rock-revival wave of late, but not wanting to ride the wave too far and get dumped headfirst on the shores of narrow-minded musicality, I was looking forward to seeing a bit of hip hop in one of my favourite venues in Edinburgh, the Cabaret Voltaire.
I came across The Caledonian Backpacker’s Hostel via the hostel world website. The hostel was described as the “funkiest hostel in Edinburgh” and I was attracted by the prospect of good times, the opportunity to meet other festival goers and the hostel’s central location, within viewing distance of the Edinburgh castle. If by funky they mean brightly coloured walls then yes. Despite being packed to full capacity however, there was little of the live music, social vibe and friendliness the website promised. Only regular nightly wakings from returning festival goers reminded me that outside the hostel walls the festival city was in full swing. Please people get some new lights in your bar. Make your staff smile. Give your booze away…anything to bring the bar to life! True to the hostelworld spiel the beds were clean and to the Caledonian’s credit they do have the cheapest internet in town (£1 per hour). The major turnoff for me was the staff though. I was walking on eggshells during my three weeks there trying to pick their moods, which ranged from disinterested to down-right obnoxioius with the occasional spasm of happiness! The effect of the staff was enough to dampen the mood of the guests, and it would put me off returning. When your paying £19 a night (festival time reates go up) and contemplating how you’re going to afford to eat next week, all the while drowning your sorrows in over-priced Guiness, you want your bar maid to smile. Nay, you need it. Sort it out Caledonian.
Rating 2.5/5 with the same staff; 3.5/5 after staff have personality transplants.
For alternatives, try Edinburgh Hostels.
For more information on hostels check out Hostelblog.com
Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland and its second-largest city.
Situated on the east coast of Scotland’s central lowlands on the south shore of the Firth of Forth, it has been the capital of Scotland since 1437 and is the seat of the country’s devolved government. The city was one of the major centres of the enlightenment, led by the University of Edinburgh, which arguably still remains Scotland’s best University. The Old Town and New Town districts of Edinburgh were listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. In the census of 2001, Edinburgh had a total resident population of approximately 500,000, making it the 7th largest city in the United Kingdom.
Edinburgh is well-known for its collection of festivals which descend on the city in summer. Few visitors realise the festival is actually a collection of independent festivals held annually over about three weeks from early August, when the population of the city doubles. The most famous of these events are the Edinburgh Fringe (the largest performing arts festival in the world), the Edinburgh International Festival, the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, and the Edinburgh International Film Festival. Another famous event is the Hogmanay street party.
The city is one of Europe’s major tourist destinations, attracting roughly 13 million visitors a year, and is the second most visited tourist destination in the United Kingdom, after London.