Who’s Calling?... Edinburgh, Scotland, UK!

It had been a hot minute since a new destination had called me, I had been to Edinburgh twice before that landmark 2021 visit. From plane to tram without any issues, I seamlessly made my way into Edinburgh for the final time! I knew what I was doing third time around, would the mistakes of two previous trips help connect the dots to make this post-lockdown trip smoother? 

I had originally planned to carry on with my flight experience like I had done with my 'Pyongyang' edition in this series, but I didn't see any sense to do that! Moving on appropriately allowed me to begin. Alighting from my Edinburgh Trams service from the Airport at Princes Street had to be done, I had planned to hit the ground running, well at a moderate pace because the only time I run is for a flight! No! Back to the programme, I found my way into the Princes Street Gardens. At first I had no clue how such a beautiful garden could be wedged so perfectly in-between the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh city? I would find out that answer soon enough! Let me spill the beans! Contrary to belief the Old Town of Edinburgh became populated first before the New Town was even thought of, with the Old Town's waste dumped into the sloped ground that overlooks the period buildings next to the formidable castle, something had to be done with the acrid smells. Princes Street Gardens were crafted to add some beauty! Okay?

Heading towards Waverley Station, I found my first landmark situation during my first day in Edinburgh! The Scott Monument stood before me, I wanted to know more! In that August moment I was happy enough to be seeing some place different other than my fours walls at home! I loved the Gothic Victorian style of Edinburgh's Scott Monument very much, but where did it get its name from? Why had such a striking monument even built? Let me explain once more, after some reading after my trip to Edinburgh I found out the monument had been dedicated to the writer, Sir Walter Scott. Being one of the tallest monuments for a writer in the world only after Cuba's own 'Monumento a José Martí' in Havana to commemorate their own national writing hero. It was a sure fact that Edinburgh had already served me history and honest facts, I was highly impressed and wanted to know more! The Scott Monument glistened in the sunshine, Princes St Gardens impressed me much but I had to make tracks! E, get into it! 

Making my way past Waverley Station was no issue, there after I had no idea where I was going but a hilariously named street wouldn't have me forgetting those tracks made. Oh, it wouldn't have! Royal Mile in sight, I could breathe a sigh of relief or could I? My 'Code Pod Hostel' was located in Parliament Sq, now where on earth was that located? Through the medium of Apple Maps, I found my accommodation without much hassle! Checking in, I sensed the receptionist could have been from Spain? He was, so I asked him if he had watched 'Drag Race España?' Not only had he seen that debut RuPaul series, he knew of 'The Macarena!' Meeting Eric confirmed to me that 'Drag is all over the world' and very much a 'Phenomenon!' My pod hostel was super cheap for the location and the quality of the facilities, by a stroke of luck my top bunk was changed to a lower one. I do not climb, I was very content with that base for the trip that lay ahead of me. Dropping my bag, it was time to get onto the Royal Mile to see what was good! Go!

Breaking it down, the period buildings impressed me much along the Royal Mile. With Scotland still under 'Coronavirus Restrictions', most of the venues along Edinburgh's Royal Mile enjoyed those outdoor dining and drinking seats that boasted an amazing destination view. As much as I could appreciate the architecture along the Royal Mile, I did feel the shops all looked the same? Now, that was also confirmed to me that the tourist products were all from the same ring of companies. Anyhow, I didn't pay that much mine because I saw a chip shop that was selling 'Battered Mars Bars!' Supposedly a Scottish thing, I tried one deep fried chocolate bar for myself because I wanted to take that taste test! Now, I won't lie because that unhealthy sweet treat tasted absolutely sublime! With the castle in my sights, I caught a glimpse of the Whisky Experience. Memories flashed back from my 2011 trip but I was on my game and 'Miss Rona' had me organised with those pre-booked castle tickets for the following morning. Loving it, SC!

For at least one evening I wanted to eat something fancy and drink some Scotch Whisky because that Edinburgh trip had been such a treasured treat! Cherishing my coins, I knew that they would only go so far with the taste of the evening ahead. I had booked ahead of time, I wanted to sip some drinks but in a grown way because I was willing to be choosy. Whiski Rooms along the Mound had me making those reservations after those 'Whisky Flights' had cropped up online during that research period. Without any hesitations, I knew what I wanted to drink! I chose the cheapest option because I also wanted to eat something that would usually be out of my price range for now, going for the Venison was a massive treat but it was worth every bite! Sipping my whisky with a sense of responsibility because it wasn't that place to get boozy! My meal tasted sublime, I had made a really good choice because those flavours were hitting differently! I'm sure when I get back to business I will be spending the same amount on food and drinks. Yes, E! 

I wasn't going to lie to myself, I was so happy to be away from my hometown in that Edinburgh moment. Or was it the drink talking? I think it was life and the liquor telling that I needed this break, to actually break free and take that first flight in 18 months because this pandemic has had me grounded and then some! My first day in Edinburgh, Scotland had been major, I had almost forgotten that Scotland still had some restrictions but with such strict management I went along with it and felt a lot safer compared to the mess going on in England! Real talk, people had me laughing when I mentioned Boris because we had some jokes and truth to say! Scotland was hitting the right way, I had not encountered any mistakes and wearing a mask felt like second nature. Moving on from Whiski Rooms, I headed for 'The Advocate' because I wanted one more wee little drink! Choosing a single measure of Glenkinchie that was a 12 year old malt. I'm no expert but I enjoyed that drink, I even sipped it in a civilised manner! Help me!

The Summer had my back, the sun hadn't set and it was going on for 9pm! I left 'The Advocate' for the New Town to see how the other half chose their accommodation. I had definitely heard of 'The Balmoral Hotel' but listen here, I was not in any position to pay for even one night at those pricey rates! Are you sure? I had purely crossed North Bridge to see that exclusive Edinburgh hotel because the architecture impressed me much. From one angle I could see Princes St, in the centre I saw the Balmoral and behind me was the Omni Centre. I might never stay in a hotel like the Balmoral but I just wanted to see it outside for myself during those dusk settings, for that alone I felt like I had achieved the final element of my first day in Edinburgh. I appreciated the view but how different would the meaning be to stay at the Balmoral compared with my Code Pod Hostel? The function to sleep, have a shower and enjoy breakfast is done in the same way, it's just the price of the product that people are able to pay. I was thankful to be away anyway. 

What significance did the 'Omni Centre' have? My first visit during 2009 saw me and my College group spend two days in Edinburgh, Scotland, we stayed in the New Town near the Omni Centre. At the time we went to the cinema and some of the restaurants during the evening. During that 2009 moment, I had no idea how my life would progress from that moment to that 2021 moment that I was standing near the 'Omni Centre'. As the dusk turned into nighttime, I decided to make my way back to my hostel because the day had been longer than long! 'The Balmoral Hotel' had something for me to see from the outside, I had the right place to stay with the 'Code Pod Hostel' because my situation was just so. With a lot planned for the next day, I opted for an early night so I could make the best of the following day because no hangovers would be involved. From landing on my 'easyJet' flight to standing opposite the 'Balmoral Hotel' everything had gone just fine. Third time lucky, Edinburgh felt right for the first time! Done, E!

That Taste Test! 

Joseph Harrison


  1. Oh my gosh I would love to go to Scotland someday. These photos are stunning and it sounds like such a wonderful place to visit.

    1. Scotland is a wondrous country and a place to see many hidden beautiful things.

      Thank you!

      This blog was a labour of love!


  2. Ooh I would be jealous if you didn't recount all these details because now I feel like I was there too😅 I definitely need to see Edinburgh in person soon!

    1. That is such a compliment!

      It was a great day!


      Joseph - Desperately Seeking Adventure


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