7 – Edinburgh was the highlight
If you had the luxury of a couple of holidays to spare, you will love this – the flight from London to Edinburgh midweek costs only £10! That was the longest distance but the cheapest fare during this multi-city tour. Tempted?
First impression of Edinburgh was cold and windy! But I needn’t have to state the obvious, do I? Edinburgh is the capital city and the second populous city in Scotland. It is also the second largest financial hub in UK, although I really wonder what financial instruments it trades. Edinburgh has an old town and a new town which were connected by a long bridge. The bridge is not to cover any water ways, but rather constructed over a small valley.
Within walking distance from the Waverly station, Calton Hill offers an expansive aerial view of the city all the way to the sea. Tall gothic spires gracefully decorated the skyline of Edinburgh. On top of the hill, there was the Greek style National Monument of Scotland. Unfortunately, it was incomplete due to short of funds, and thus also dubbed as Scotland’s Disgrace, overlooking the famous Prince Street. On the other side of Calton Hill, stood another much bigger hill overlooking Edinburgh – the Holyrood Park. It was shaped like two massive waves that are about to submerge the entire city. If you fancy a good walk on the uneven, rocky path, Holyrood Park is a wonderful trail. At the top of the hill, named as Arthur’s Seat (which actually has nothing to do with the King), offers an uninterrupted panoramic view of city, and needless to say STRONG wind.
The hilly landscape blessed Edinburgh with a staggered skyline. At the bottom is the prince street garden. Edinburgh castle stood to the northeast over a daunting cliff. It was further protected by walls built over the dangerous slopes.
Standing at the lavishly green Prince Garden, the old town sits to the south. The multifaceted skyline slowly climbs to meet the gaze. I walked around the pebble street in Old Town. Rain and wind have worn down the walls and steps. Water streaks, moss patches and long narrow staircases tells stories of Edinburgh.
The newer stones used in various patch work around the city offered varying degrees of colors like the pixelized world of Minecraft. If you got the time, pay a visit to the underground vaults. Technically speaking they are just below the bridges, but it is hard to tell where the ground level is in Edinburgh. The vaults once housed the murkier side of the town. The tour guide will fill you in with spine-chilling stories and if the spirit was playful, you might see some first-hand (I kinda did).
York and Manchester
Minister was the central piece of the town. The magnificent Gothic cathedral sits to the north of the city. It strikes a bell every 30 minutes and the sound of organ resonate distinctively to every corner of the town. The other notable attraction was the Shamble where some narrow streets were decorated with old style timbered shops:
Banners and mini Christmas tree stretch out from each shop, reminiscing a once teeming Roman town. York also fashioned several stretches of old city walls which once protected the city. The walk on top of the city wall was narrow and fitted with iron bars to one side which in my view, destroyed the authentic feel. A little out of the main city has a cold war bunker. It was once designed to mitigate the damage of nuclear warfare. It reminded me of Imitation Game:
Edinburgh got the hill, York had the Roman history, Manchester stood out with the National Football Museum. The museum was a modern building sits near the shopping district. I am not a pious football fan, but I could feel the excitement of other visitors. The museum was equally entertaining and informative for non football lovers.
Besides the museum, I paid a visit to Alan Turin statue and the Canal Street where is famous for gay clubs. The town hall and library building were architecturally beautiful. Little light is allowed into the corridors, making them like haunted mansions.
Out of the 3 cities, my favorite was Edinburgh. It offered a lot more things to see and to do. Happy traveling!