It was about a 5 hour bus ride from Leeds to Edinburgh! Originally I had looked into spending about a month or so in Scotland, but that was before I had made plans that involved other people. Scotland has always been on the to go to list and as my plans were adaptable and changed during my time I only ended up with a brief window of opportunity to spend there. Glasgow was my primary goal on this trip. I had looked into extended stays in Aberdeen, and then I would have likely done some highland tour dates too. However, with the shortened plan timeframe and the goal to get to Glasgow, I squeezed in two nights in Edinburgh. The bus was the cheapest way to get up there from Leeds and considering the bus stops in Edinburgh on it’s way through it would be stupid of me not to have stopped there. I just did two nights as by not including any weekend prime nights the accomodation was a lot cheaper. It was a great place I stayed in too.

A 15th century building with a lovely spiral staircase. Fun to carry suitcases up. To be fair though, some of the other stairs I had lugged my luggage up have been harder workouts. I was staying just off the Royal Mile, a stones throw (literally I could see it out my window) to the writer’s museum. That I wanted to visit inside but I ran out of time. So add that to the next visit’s agenda. I got in about 6ish, and I headed out to find something to eat. While eating I started checking out some of the AirBnB experiences on offer and booked in for one the next day. I then just had a quick walk about before heading back to my accomodation for the night.

The next morning while chatting to my Dad I mentioned that I had spotted a whiskey tasting experience. Really I just wanted his encouragement that yes, I should also do this. He gave me the exact response needed for me to book it in after we ended our chat.
I had a few hours before my first tour of the day was starting (now that I had two booked), so I decided to walk up to check out Edinburgh castle. Unfortunately there were no longer tickets available so I just had a gander from out the front and took in the views below. I also noticed the weird moat at the front of it but kind of shrugged it off. Until it was mentioned during the first tour I went on. (apparently a fake one was built cos one of the Queens didn’t think that a castle was a castle without a moat. Fair enough…)

The first tour I booked was the Mountebank Comedy Walk of Edinburgh hosted by stand-up comedian Daniel Downie. This was a fantastic experience and I highly recommend it if you find yourself visiting. Daniel has a wealth of knowledge about Scottish history (he even has a podcast/YouTube) that he shares humorously. He also has a fantastic accent, which is a pleasure to listen to and one of my primary reasons for always wanting to visit Scotland is for the accents. So bonus there.

After the tour ended I had a short window to run back to a spot that was pointed out as a good picture taking space. So glad I did and the light was actually stunning just before it was getting dark, I’m really happy with the shot I snapped. You can see it below, let’s see if you can tell which one it is. I also had a brief gap before my Whiskey and Folklore experience, in which I ducked back to my accommodation to add an extra layer for the evening.

Alistair was our host for our tasting of four Scotch Whiskies. With each whiskey we would get a bit of an intro to the region and hear stories of the places and also tales about local peoples from Edinburgh. Sitting in a pub, hearing stories from a Scotsman while drinking whiskey was quite a nice evening! The four wines we tasted were a 10 year Glengoyne, 12 year Balvenie, 12 year Old Pulteney, and a 12 year Bowmore. If you like a peaty smokey whiskey than the Bowmore is for you. It’s not one I would drink lots of, but it is a good drop. I would probably choose to pour more of the other three though.

I also met two other solo travellers during this experience, Ronak from LA and Nandan from Mumbai. After the whiskey tour the three of us ended up having dinner together. Which was really nice! It was great to just connect with these guys and have some fantastic conversation over dinner and a bottle of wine ( I am glad they appreciated the bottle I chose – I figured you can’t go wrong with a Rioja). I love getting to meet people and chat with others who I would most likely never meet in a normal day to day life. We ended the night with invitations of getting in touch if we are ever in the other’s neighbourhoods and of course adding each other on Instagram.

On the Friday morning I made my way to the train station (via the pub for breakfast) Glasgow bound. After arriving and checking into my hotel I decided to go for a bit of a wander. Just down the road from where I was staying was the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. I popped in for a bit of a look around and found out some cool bits and pieces while I was there. I was more into the gallery side of things than the museum. I’ve discovered I’m just not into natural history parts full of dead stuffed animals. I prefer looking at human remains or finding out about the areas themselves. It was interesting here finding out about St.Kilda and the people that lived there. It’s also been cool connecting place names in Australia with places in the UK. The gallery housed some pieces from the likes of Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Matisse, and Monet. This was pretty cool, and they have an extensive local artist collection too.

When I was leaving I spotted my first squirrel! Which was very exciting. I still haven’t stumbled across an elusive Miss Tiggy Wingkle (hedgehog) yet. I headed back towards my hotel and also just a few doors down from it was a vegan restaurant. So I stopped for some dinner. I then just went and chilled out in my hotel, doing some work and sussing out what I should do over the next few days I had in town.

On my drive through to the hotel I had spotted a theatre and the play being advertised caught my attention. Pride & Prejudice (sort of). Now for anyone that doesn’t know me, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is one of my favourite books. The BBC series also gets aa viewing from Mum and I at least once a year. (There was no touring of the Lakes District during this UK trip as I have to save all that to do with Mum) Anyway, I jumped online to check out what this show was and if there were any tickets. Turned out the last show was happening on Saturday night, and I managed to book myself a spot.

I also checked out the AirBnB experiences on offer and booked in for a tour on Sunday. On Saturday I ended up just staying in my hotel getting some work done. Which originally I was going to do on Friday when I arrived, but I went out then instead. So until it was time to head to the play I wasn’t very blog worthy exciting. The theatre was only a 15-20 minute walk away, so I headed there about 6:30 for the 7:30pm show. This was such a great production, so much fun, and I could completely understand how it had won the Olivier award this year for Best Comedy. It was a 5 woman cast, each who played their numerous roles brilliantly. It was laugh out loud funny, and a very clever retelling of the classic well loved story.

Afterwards I walked back and phoned my folks to tell them all about it, as I was pretty excited and keen to share it with someone. On Sunday I took my time getting up and ready before walking into the city and finding where we were meeting for our tour. We were to meet out the front of the GoMA – so I got there a bit earlier and went to explore for a bit inside.

After that I just wandered about till it was time to meet Rhona for our Dark Side of Glasgow tour. It ended up just being me and another guy, Josh for the tour. As the other woman had got her days mixed up. However she did end up finding us and joining in for the last bit. Fair enough her days were confused as she had only just got off the plane and I am sure jetlag was real for her. Rhona was fantastic! As an actor she had well rehearsed her tour performance and was filled with tales and stories of the Merchant city that was Glasgow. I learnt so much about the city on this tour, along with its peoples and culture.

After the tour Josh was also heading to the other side of the city with plans to eat along the way, so we decided to join forces. It was really nice to connect with someone again on a tour and have a buddy to hangout with and get to know for a few extra hours. It’s really cool just meeting people and sharing these moments with for a short while. We said goodbye and stay in touch, and veered in our own directions. Mine was back to my hotel to pack and get ready for an early morning bus.