Edinburgh Places to Go Things to Do Travel Tips

What Are You Doing for New Year’s Eve?

Each year, my New Year’s Eve plans range between: night in with my better half, night with parents, party with friends or concert in the city’s public square…and , honestly, it gets really boring after a while. So, I’ve decided to do something totally different this year. Yes, travel to a city which holds interesting New Year’s Eve celebrations.

In Europe, among the interesting places to celebrate New Year’s Eve are: Edinburgh, Paris and Barcelona. I’ve always had a soft spot for Edinburgh though, so celebrating Hogmanay this year sounds absolutely amazing.

Christmas and New Year’s Eve are busy traveling times and the rates are higher than during the rest of the year (but slightly lower than during peak summer season). So, start looking for the cheapest flight to Edinburgh ahead of time. You could easily plan to arrive in the city on December 29 (the celebrations start on December 30) and leave the city on January 3 (after you manage to see some of the city when it’s not overcrowded). A round trip flight from London starts at £95 per person (on easyJet); of course, that’s unless you manage to find a deal.

Also, look for hotels in Edinburgh while you plan your flight. Of course, it’s not hard to find expensive rooms but when you want cheap accommodation you need to spend a bit of time researching the options. You can find 2-star hotels at £86 per night but the hotel is located far from the center. On the other hand, hostels can be a good choice especially if you travel with your friends. Private rooms start at £40 per night and the hotel is located close to the city center.

Edinburgh Places to Go Planning a Trip Things to Do

Plan Your Vacation During The Edinburgh Festival Fringe

The Fringe 2007Each year Edinburgh is home to the biggest arts festival anywhere – also known as The Edinburgh Festival Fringe (or simply The Fringe). Each August the streets of Edinburgh overflow with artists, tourists and locals alike. This year the festival takes place between 6 and 30 August.

Because the festival is so popular, planning a vacation for this occasion is complicated – or shall I say quite a nightmare? Edinburgh accommodation books up really fast (starting with the cheapest places first, of course!) and the cheap flights to Edinburgh are sold as soon as they come on sale.

You might want to play it “dangerously” and wait until the last minute to book the flight. Airlines such as Ryanair, BMI and easyJet do offer quite a lot of flights to Edinburgh for low rates but you have to book them within a very short time frame (2-3 days) and at most one month before departure.

In short, if you want to be there, you need to plan in advance. Way in advance! Edinburgh festival travel deals come in handy if you don’t like to plan everything on your own.

If you travel with friends, booking a dorm for the entire gang is an excellent idea. You already know each others’ nocturnal habits and there won’t be too many frustrations along the way. Plus you can pitch in for an excellent meal cooked in the hostel’s kitchen. Bed rates start at £17 per night (in dorms). On the other hand, if you travel with your significant other and prefer the private rooms, you can find them in hostels at rates starting at £23 per night.

If you are a student make sure to carry your documents with you because you’ll be able to get some discounts (at shows, transportation, landmarks). This surely comes in handy when your budget is not exactly high. An easy way to save money is by shopping at the farmer’s market and cooking in the hostel or planning picnics. It’s romantic, it’s cheap and fun.

Edinburgh Places to Go Planning a Trip Things to Do Travel Tips

When You Get Stuck and Cannot Write … Travel

writerAs a writer myself I know how annoying it can be to get stuck and not be able to write a single world. Each of us knows that such issues require creative solutions. The “rule” is to find an inspirational location so that you can restart your creative process. And I bet you know at least one place in your city where you can go, relax and start writing again.

But what about taking a big leap and choose one of the inspirational travel locations to cure the writer’s block? I’ve definitely done it and let me tell you there’s nothing like writing in the train or at a café in the middle of an old town.

Europe is filled with beautiful cities which can inspire you even when you think nothing else could. So, the first step is to look for cheap tickets to Europe. Paris, Moscow, Ljubljana and Edinburgh are excellent choices to get you started. And if you have enough time on your hands, you can plan to visit them all. After all, low-cost carriers and trains are the writers’ best friends. And by the way: in some trains there are electrical outlets so you can work while you enjoy the scenery.

You can fly into Paris, spend several days there to soak up the atmosphere and then catch a flight to Edinburgh. Look for Edinburgh hotels before you leave because they tend to get expensive and crowded during the summer. And if you think the city is a bit too exciting for you, you can always plan a trip to the Scottish Highlands.

Then you can make the transition to Eastern Europe, stopping in Vienna for a weekend getaway. You’ll fall in love with the city and you’ll surely unleash your imagination. Then take a train to Ljubljana and explore the old city and the surrounding landscape. Last, but not least, go to Moscow (tip: choose summer if you hate cold as much as I do). There’s something intriguing about this city and you’ll surely get some interesting ideas.

Photo credit

Edinburgh Places to Go

St. Giles Cathedral

gilesSt. Giles Cathedral is not only Edinburgh’s most important church, it’s also the most important church in all of Scotland. It’s also sometimes called the High Kirk of Scotland, and is considered the place where the Presbyterian church was founded.

The church is dedicated to St. Giles, the patron saint of cripples and lepers, and the oldest parts of the structure dates from the early 12th century. John Knox, the founder of the Scottish Protestant Reformation and the Church of Scotland, preached at St. Giles from 1560 until his death in 1572, which is what helps to give the cathedral its current status as Scotland’s most important church. A statue of Knox is inside the church near the west end.

There are several interesting stained glass windows in St. Giles Cathedral, although the windows from the medieval era did not survive. Most of the windows worth mentioning are from the 19th and 20th centuries and depict both religious scenes and also non-religious things – like Scotland’s favorite poet, Robert Burns. The church’s organ is also worth noting, although it’s a recent addition (1992), because of the glass panel in the back that lets you see the instrument’s inner workings.

Edinburgh Places to Go

Deacon Brodie’s Tavern

brodieLeave it to a pub to glorify an 18th century burglar in such a way as to turn the pub into a tourist attraction and the burglar into a celebrity.

Deacon Brodie’s Tavern on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile gets its name from a former resident of the city, a cabinet maker and city councillor who rose to the rank of deacon of his guild. Deacon William Brodie was a respected member of society, rubbing elbows with Edinburgh’s upper crust as he also fitted their cabinets with locks.

This level of access apparently gave him the grand idea that since he was installing and repairing the lock mechanisms he could easily make copies of the keys while he was at it. Brodie then embarked on a second life, a nighttime life, of a burglar. Certainly, part of the allure of the burglary was the excitement of potentially being caught, but Brodie also had developed something of a gambling habit – and the goods he stole helped to fund his addiction.

Brodie’s double life is said to have inspired the famous tale of “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” but even if that’s a stretch Brodie’s real-life adventures are interesting enough on their own. Deacon Brodie’s Tavern showcases both sides of Brodie’s existence, one on either side of the pub’s sign hanging over the front door. You’ll see the “By Day” Brodie on one side, and the “By Night” Brodie on the other – complete with bag of stolen loot.

Edinburgh Places to Go

Museum of Childhood

childhoodTravel has a way of bringing out the kid in everyone – diet and curfew be damned! You get to let loose your inner child and do just as you please for the duration of your holiday. Which is why a visit to the Edinburgh Museum of Childhood is so perfectly appropriate.

Located right on the Royal Mile, the Museum of Childhood is chock full of toys and other items children have found interesting for generations. It was originally opened in 1955, and was the world’s first museum to focus on the history of childhood. Then Edinburgh Town Councillor Patrick Murray thought it would be a good idea to open such a museum, and the museum’s continued success seems to have proved him right! Today, it’s billed as “the noisiest museum in the world,” which could be a selling point or a deterrent, depending on who you are.

Places to Go Planning a Trip Things to Do Travel Tips

Mushroom hunting in the Scottish countryside

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…

Edinburgh Peru Places to Go Things to Do Travel Tips

Acting the fool, taking the mickey and other forms of entertaining banter

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?

Libya Places to Go Travel Tips

Adventure Desert Tour

Sorry for the very long silence with Libya Blog. There are going to updates every other day on Libya.

Here is an Adventure tour – Camel tour for 13 days/12nights.

Tripoli, Ghat, Alawynat, Akakus-Tadrart, Wadi Tashwinat, Massak, Germa, Sebha, Tripoli, Sebratha

Day 1: Arrival to Tripoli airport and transfer to the hotel

Day 2: Flight to Ghat in the Southwest of Libya. Meet our group and drive to a beautiful sand dune (30km NE) after Ghat and not far from Cave Alajonon,

Day 3: Drive to Serdalus (Alawynat), stop for free tour and lunch. Then continue driving to Awais where the first of pre-historical rock arts of 12000 years ago started. We do some trekking tour.

Day 4-9 Camel trip: We travel to Akakus-Tadrart visiting the wadies, which contain lots of paintings, drawings and rock arts, lunch, and continue tour to Emaning Well. Camp at Wadi Tashwinat.

Day 10: Drive evening to Alawynat. Overnight at the organized camp.

Day 11: Drive to Sebha airport via Germa (old city). Flight to Tripoli and then to the hotel.

Day 12: Visiting the archaeological sights of Sebrata city where you will discover ancient ruins of Romans and Greek.

Day 13: Departure