Scotland – Weekend in the picturesque and unique Edinburgh

We thought we are done with trips and travelling for 2018, but then Dina figured out that we can use August bank holiday weekend for one last go. We were thinking of going to the south of Ireland, but we ended up going to Edinburgh, Scotland.

Our flight was scheduled for 6.30 PM, and even though we started our trip to the airport 3 hours ahead, we almost missed the flight. Luckily, we listened to the suggestion given by Google navigation, and we detoured from the motorway slightly earlier, otherwise, classic traffic on Dublin’s M50 would prevent us from going anywhere.

2018 was the driest year in Irish history and many, usually green, Irish fields had a bit unusual color. Unlike Ireland, Scotland didn’t seem to have any issues with the rainfall this year. 🙂 (Ireland is on the left, Scotland is on the right.)

Liam was traditionally cool, excited about traveling and flying. But when our airplane arrived, he was sort of disappointed. There were many nice huge aircraft parked at the airport, and he was yelling about “Going into the big airplaaneeeee!!!”, and then we arrived to our ATR 72-600 with the bus, and he said – “No. Big Airplane!” 😀

He was a bit shaken and had a scared face when we started our flight while the plane was hitting the clouds, but then he got back into his regular flight mode, pressing all the buttons that he can see, and charming all the girls.

Since we landed quite late, we took the first possible tram towards the Haymarket part of the city where we were staying.

That evening, when Liam fell asleep and we had nothing to do, we were searching online what can be seen closer to our apartment and were wondering what is the loud noise that we can hear coming from the outside. A quick check on Snapchat live videos, and it seemed there was some big thing going on some big stage. Just after a few minutes, one of the videos had a title – Edinburgh Tattoo. Having no clue whatsoever what does the word “Tattoo” mean in this sense, I was a bit confused, but I quickly figured out that it’s a big thing in Edinburgh and it is aligned with the beginning of the Fringe festival.

Yep! But if you are following my work on this blog, or in my reports earlier, it’s not the first time I accidentally end up being at the destination during the biggest possible event there. 🙂

Next morning we walked to the Grass Market, where we had our breakfast, and then we continued towards the Royal Mile.

We tried to get into the Edinburgh castle first thing in the morning, but there were a few good things that made us skip that. First, and the most important – Dina. She can’t really stand for 2 hours in a huge row to get the tickets, and then walk additional X hours around the place. Then, keeping Liam for two hours stuck in the buggy… Even if it’s not illegal, it’s not nice. 🙂 We tried to get in though, and we were in the place just before the castle where the military tattoo took place last night, but we had to skip it.

The city was full of people and full of weird artists going towards venues where they performed. This year, Fringe was in it’s biggest format so far it seems, as there were 540 venues. Incredible!

Camera Obscura

Since our vacations are lately “children centered”, we decided to start the day paying a visit to Camera Obscura, Museum of illusions. It’s the most visited tourist attraction in the Old Town of Edinburgh. It contains interesting exhibits about optical illusions, light, colours, history of photography, some puzzles and even the vortex tunnel.

Among them, there is a room with a thermal camera, so you can see whether you are hot or not. 🙂

And there are holograms showing candies at the table. Taking a two year old to watch them, and tries to eat them – I guess it’s unfair and rude, but that’s one of those perks you get as a parent and find it adorable. 🙂

The museum itself is located in the six storeys tall building with an outlook tower on its top, which offers a great view of Edinburgh.


After a few hours spent here, we were ready to eat something. Since apparently “The best Haggis” in Edinburgh are served in nearby Gourmet Makar’s restaurant, we headed there. On the way, we took a weird shortcut between the buildings which was made of a series of stairs going downwards. Liam was already tired and insisted on being pushed in the buggy, so I had fun times gently pushing him stair by stair. A bunch of people passed by us, no one really bothered offering any help, seeing me and a pregnant wife following, until a lady, might be old as we stopped and offered help.

It ended up she is from Croatia as well, from Split. She mentioned that she has a band and they perform in some convention centre or such. I forgot her name, but if she ever ends up on my blog, I’d like to thank her. 🙂

Haggis is a local delicacy that sounds weird when you read how they are made, but it’s actually very similar to Irish black pudding. It’s an OK thing to try, and it’s interestingly arranged, but nothing too crazy. Sausages that Dina ordered were way better, and Liam agreed on it since he ate half of her lunch. 🙂

From there we went home, hoping that Liam will have his afternoon nap and that we will go for more sightseeing, but he decided not to, so we shortened our day and we played with him around the apartment.

Smelliest City Of The World

That whole area and eastern from Haymarket has a distinctive smell in the air. It’s a weird mix, and I knew straight away that this is a smell of hops from some brewery, but I thought it’s some local brewery that is near us.

Reading the internet that night, I figured out it’s a smell of North British distillery that was apparently among the biggest distilleries on the island, and that this distinctive smell that I could feel now is nothing compared to a few years back. Edinburgh was called the smelliest city of the world (according to the internet), and even though distillery was a mile from us it still felt like we should have beer or scotch on the tap. 🙂

Dean Village

Next morning we woke up very early, and we headed towards Dean Village, a secluded part of the city which is located in the little valley around Leith river. Even though it sounds it has something to do with “Deans” – It has nothing with them. The word came from “dene” which means – deep valley.

I was so convinced that this was some university or similar place, but internet claims that it’s a place where most of the mills were located, and where ancient Scots went to get their grains milled.

There’s a walking trail that follows the Water of Leith, but there were some works on the main path, and it was partially closed, while the other part was not buggy friendly at all, so we walked the urban part of it only.

Nowadays, it’s just a lovely and quiet neighborhood but well worth spending an hour or so here, as it’s really cute. Or as modern kids would say – very Instagramable. 😀

From there, we climbed up from the valley to the town and set in “The painted Rooster” for a breakfast, and a little rest, because pushing a buggy uphill is not an easy sport. From there we took a stroll to the Princess Street Gardens. A huge park in the area just below the famous Edinburgh Castle.

Princess Street Gardens

At the entrance to the gardens, there’s a relatively big playground, and we had an hour stop for Liam to have some fun. Since it was an unexpectedly warm day, people got into the park with chairs and picnic baskets. It was packed and very vivid morning.

We managed to convince Liam to take a nap which meant we could return to the centre in the afternoon. We walked around the area between Queens and Princes Street, which is nowadays the city centre.

There we stopped for a planned sort of fancy lunch, in the “Fishers in the city” restaurant. I used the opportunity there to try some off to me less known scotch whiskeys and local craft beers. I must admit, I changed my opinion about scotch whiskeys. There really is some excellent stuff to try in Scotland. One thing crossed my mind though. We (half of the world I guess) consider Scots to be very cheap, not giving. Boy oh boy, those were two shortest drinks I ever had. It’s like half a sip of whiskey, and it’s gone.

If that’s how the stereotypes are formed – then they are right. 🙂

After lunch, we went to walk through the old town and mingle with all the people that were there for the Fringe. It was really nice.

We took Liam to his first big wheel ride. He looked a bit scared for the first 30-40 seconds, but then, from the safety of my hug he enjoyed being “up the thereeeee”. (That’s what he’s yelling whenever the plains are flying above us).

National Museum of Scotland

Next day we had to leave our apartment in the afternoon so we had the morning for a quick visit to the National Museum of Scotland. Even though excuse was – to let Liam see some of the animals, kids are a great motive to go and see all the museums.

He was astonished by Lions and other to him known animals, but as well with airplanes, cars, bicycles.

I was impressed by a Formula 1 car, of course. 🙂

On top of the museum, there is the Tower restaurant and a rooftop for the best selfie in town. Of course, we used this opportunity to make our traditional Angry Birds photo here. 🙂

We run through the museum shop, where I noticed a known pattern even though it has nothing to do with Croatia. 🙂

I was not impressed with the haggis in town, I expected a stronger taste, some kick or something, so I had to try it again at the airport, where they served haggis burger. Now, this tasted more like lamb and closer to my likings. 🙂

And that was it. It was Dina’s last day that she is allowed to fly without further medical checks, so we knew it’s our final trip for this year and for some time. 🙂

Edinburgh definitely won’t let you down, it’s a very nice and vivid city, with a lot of history and things to see. It is very picturesque, food is good, craft beers and whiskeys are lovely, and if you are lucky as we were to catch a few sunny days – you will want to come back more often.

I know we’ll see it again. If nothing, we’ll make it our base once we decide to go and explore Scottish highlands.

Till the next one,



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