Edinburgh / by Martha Keyes

Edinburgh is a favorite city of mine in the world! I love the soot-covered stone buildings that are characteristic of the old town. This was my third time in the city, and I really wished we had more time to explore! If there's anything I've learned about myself, it's that there's never enough time in the U.K. to suit me. 

We got a taxi ride from the motorhome rental company into the city. Our taxi driver had the most amazing Scottish brogue, and he was so nice to us! After getting settled in our hostel, we went out to find the chips and curry place that Emily and I had been to 7 years ago on our last visit (!). We couldn't remember the name of the place, so we ended up walking down the Royal Mile and then back up again. Luckily, we did end up finding it--Benes is the name! It's right across from one of my favorite buildings on the Royal Mile--Tolbooth Tavern. All of us ordered fish and chips and curry which we took back to our hostel to enjoy. 

After a little more resting, we headed back out into the city. It was the golden hour, and the city was so beautiful in that evening light!

 Emily and I had discovered Deacon Brodie's (the man Jekyll and Hyde is based off) Tavern on our visit, and it was there that we first tasted banoffee pie. It's absolutely in my top five desserts of all time, and I forced a third of my study abroad group to come try it when we took our own trip to Edinburgh a few weeks later. It was a hit! Needless to say, that was a top priority for us on our return. We headed to the tavern only to find out THEY STOPPED SERVING BANOFFEE. I felt kind of like my word was crumbling beneath me. Our plan had been to eat a nice Scottish dinner and banoffee pie for dessert at Deacon Brodie's, but we ditched the place and searched online for another restaurant who would have banoffee. It was that important to us. However, this whole fiasco meant we got to walk more of the city before ending up at a place called Howie's. The food was good, but maybe not quite as good as its price might suggest. Regardless, we enjoyed dinner and dessert there together!

We didn't stay out too late, opting instead to do some badly-needed laundry at our hostel. The next morning, we walked up the Royal Mile a bit and then turned toward Princes Street to our next destination: Primark. 
If you haven't been to Europe, you haven't been to Primark (unless you're one of the luckies who lives in Boston where one recently opened). Even if you have been to Europe, you may not have been to Primark, since it's only recently begun expanding outside of the U.K. and Ireland. My study abroad group was constantly in Primark, as there was one on Queen Street in Cardiff. I--no joke--brought home an entire extra bag from my study abroad full of clothing from Primark. Brandon knows and loves Primark from his mission in Spain, so when we went to Europe a couple years ago and found out that there was a brand new Primark just outside Paris, naturally we went there. We've decided we need a yearly restock visit to Primark. I've told my siblings about Primark for years and have brought them home clothing from there, so my sisters were really excited to see it! Pretty much I bought every single basic shirt they had. Noone sells good basic shirts for the price Primark does. It's just unbeatable!

After Primark, Brandon and I walked through the Princes Street Gardens and admired the amazing daffodil-covered hill just under Edinburgh Castle. The gardens themselves were full of blossoms, which made for beautiful views of Old Town from below.

We all visited St. Giles Cathedral afterward (they don't allow pictures, unfortunately) before stocking up on food at Sainsbury's and heading to the airport for our flight to Venice!

I will absolutely be back to this city for some more quality time in this next few years. That's a promise!