Edinburgh, Scotland

After a week and a half in Germany, Kyle and I headed to Scotland. We flew Ryanair out of Frankfurt-Hahn, the smallest airport I've ever been to. We couldn't even go through security until an hour before our flight because the terminal was so tiny.

It took us just over an hour to fly to EDI. We landed after midnight, and when we got to our hotel, we were elated to find a comfortable bed and white, fluffy sheets.

Since we only had two full in days in Edinburgh, we wanted to make every second count. On the first day, we woke up early and walked to Edinburgh Castle. After exploring the grounds and the gift shop, we embarked down the Royal Mile. The Royal Mile is the main street that goes through Old Town Edinburgh. It starts at Edinburgh Castle and ends at Holyrood Palace.

There were so many neat local shops and restaurants on the Royal Mile. My favorite place was undoubtedly The Elephant House, the coffee shop where J. K. Rowling started writing the Harry Potter books. The bathroom walls were filled with handwritten notes from fans to J.K. Rowling, and framed newspaper clippings lined the cafe. We had a delicious mocha latte while there!

I didn't know if I was going to have enough energy to walk to the end of the Royal Mile, but I was surprised by how good I felt when we reached Holyrood Palace. I saw Arthur's Seat, a giant green hill, looming in the distance, and my eyes lit up. That morning, Kyle and I agreed to save the hike for our second day, but I was feeling ambitious, and anyone who knows me knows I like a challenge (I'm also pretty stubborn, oops). I told Kyle I wanted to keep going and hike Arthur's Seat. When he realized I was serious, we began our trek!

Arthur's Seat is the main peak of the group of mountains in Edinburgh which form most of Holyrood Park. The view from the top is incredible, but it's a serious uphill hike to get there. It's probably not a super tough hike for the average person, but due to my gastroparesis flare, I hadn't been physically active in over a year. We had to stop frequently for breaks, but I noticed a lot of other people doing that, too. There were a few moments when I thought we'd have to turn around because I was struggling for air, and Kyle kept saying, "You've done great! It's okay if we can't finish the hike!" But I was determined. After an hour, we reached the top! Our legs were tired, but the view was absolutely worth it.

We admired the scenery for a bit before heading back to town. Kyle was starving, so we got fish and chips from World's End. After that, we went back to our hotel to work.

On the second day, we spent most of our time exploring. Edinburgh is a complex maze of winding streets, stairwells, and alleyways, so we did a lot of walking, bought some souvenirs, and ate some traditional Scottish staples. We tried hagggis for breakfast, ate ham hock and oatcakes for lunch, explored the spooky yet beautiful Greyfriar's Kirkyard, drank white russians at Lebowski's, admired the gothic architecture, and had delicious earl grey ice cream at Mary's Milk Bar. The city definitely had an eerie feel to it. There were advertisements for haunted graveyard and underground tours around every corner, and the sky was overcast for most of our time there. But the ominous and gloomy vibe added to Edinburgh's charm. I absolutely loved it.

I really hope to return to Scotland one day. Between Glasgow, the Isle of Skye, the Outer and Inner Hebrides, Cairngorms National Park, Glencoe, the Isle of Arran, and so many others, there's an ever-growing list of places in Scotland I'm dying to explore.

The next day, we hopped on a flight to London.