In addition to seeing 25+ shows, 30 scenes from Transmission, plus networking/marketing/last minute revisions for said show, I did manage to do A LOT of sightseeing in Edinburgh.
My solo tourist came out and couldn’t be stopped. Even when my feet hurt at the end of the day or I was tired and hungry, I found a way to go see or experience something else.
But alas, much like when I went to England for my semester abroad, I realized that I will still have to come back to Scotland. There’s so much more to see outside of Edinburgh and even still within that old, literary city.
Here are my highlights:
Book Lover’s Tour
I was buzzing with excitement and caffeine when I ran out of the hostel for this tour–my first official tourist activity! It lived up to the hype. We walked through Old Town, around Southbridge and the University of Edinburgh mostly, because that’s where a lot of Edinburgh’s literati spent their time. Why? It has been the cheaper area where they could afford to live and work.
I loved seeing where Sir Arthur Conan Doyle went to his medical lectures, the bar where he and Robert Louis Stevenson hung out, the place where RLS met his model for Long John Silver from Treasure Island, and so many more places of interest for these and the two main literary influences from Scotland: Sir Walter Scott and Robert Burns.
Our guide also pointed out a few of the notable Harry Potter spots. I went back and found them all on my own, in a spread out, unofficial tour of my own making. I did have coffee at the Elephant Cafe one morning, but hated the over-crowded and tourist-y feel. My brunch at Spoons, the place where Rowling wrote the first few chapters of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, put me much more in tune with my own muse.
One night when I felt lonely, wandering the streets alone while crowds pushed past to find the next Fringe party, I did cheer myself up by finding Rowling’s handprints by City Hall.
Again, I didn’t make it to all the famous spots–like the house where RLS was born, or the Arthur Conan Doyle Society–but it’s worth going back. What other cities have monuments to authors so big and tall as the Sir Walter Scott monument? Not many.
Finally, an unofficial new spot on my writer’s tour was The Brass Monkey. Though it’s a pub, I never had a chance to grab a drink there. I did push through the crowds on my first Saturday there to inquire for a postcard my best friend had left me. The bartenders smiled and retrieved it for me. Letters are still magical.
Edinburgh Castle and Stirling Castle
The first I saw at the beginning of my trip on my own. The second, Stirling Castle, I saw with a crew of my Transmission friends at the end of our Highland tour. Continue reading