Day 1 – St. Andrew’s
I arrived late last night after a nice 5.5hr train ride to Leuchars (closest station to St. Andrew’s). Jack wasn’t feeling well so I ended up taking a bus to the airbnb I was staying at. The next morning I worked for about 3hours before Jack and Dad came to pick me up (after they finished golfing). They are staying at the fancy Old Course Hotel (part of their trip deal). We went back to their hotel then Jack and I headed off to Ben Vrackie (a hike about 1.5hr drive away).
On the way to the hike we stopped in the small town of Pitlochry and went to Cafe Calluna and had some sandwiches before driving another mile to the start of the hike.
The hike was about 3miles each way (so about 6miles) with 2,000 feet elevation gain. The first mile or so you had really nice views of the valley, but after that we went into the clouds and basically couldn’t see much the rest of the hike 😂 I’m sure it’s really nice when it’s a clear day, but it wasn’t really worth the hike to the top.
The last half mile was where most of the elevation gain happened… maybe I haven’t had enough sleep, but it was pretty tiring last 30minutes! (Not comparatively to other hikes I’ve done recently but still). The top was also super windy and wet so we didn’t stay up there too long.
By the time we got back to St. Andrew’s it was already 6pm. I went back to my airbnb for a quick shower and then went back over to the Old Course Hotel to walk to dinner with my dad and Jack. Jack got food poisoning a few days ago and still wasn’t feeling great so he decided to skip on dinner for the night. Dad and I walked into the town and found a pub to get a drink at before dinner (our reservation was at 8:30). We had dinner at The Dolls House and it was reallyyyyy yummy (I had Pork Belly).
The town of St. Andrew’s is also super cute. Definitely seems like a college town though as lots of young people were out and about!
Day 2 – Edinburgh
Woke up pretty early (no specific reason just woke up lol). I packed up and made my way back over to the Old Course Hotel. My Dad said they don’t check your room number for breakfast so I joined them for food! Pretty nice breakfast- I got an omelet! Pretty views from breakfast too!
After breakfast my Dad and I walked around the course. There’s some bridge on the course that is super famous. I guess professionals will always stop and wave from it too.
After a quick walk around we packed into the car and drove to Edinburgh- took about 1.5hrs with traffic! We parked at the airbnb, which was really close to Arthur’s seat. It was raining so I didn’t want to hike yet, but Jack was adamant lol. So we walked up in the rain (Dad did this in 2019 so he went into town). It was a super short and easy hike but I definitely got pretty wet!
We walked back down Arthur’s Seat on the other side which dropped us slightly closer to the Royle Mile (still like a mile walk). We met my Dad at Starbucks (lol) and then went to lunch at an Italian place- Gordon’s (on the Royale Mile). My Dad’s caddy had recommend it 😂. I got risotto which was really good!
Dad had an upset stomach (before lunch) so he decided to walk back to the airbnb instead of walk around with us. Jack and I explored all the main sites around. Edinburgh is super pretty so no matter where you walk it’s nice!
We had an underground vault tour booked at 4:30pm. The guide gave some history on the way to the vaults and he was pretty funny- I remember one fact- people would go to public hangings and get drunk and that’s where the term “hangover” came from. Tbd if that’s a true fact, but it was fun.
The underground vaults aren’t actually “underground”. Basically there was this bridge built and on each side of the bridge they built buildings so you cannot even tell it’s a bridge. The vaults were used by merchants originally to store stuff, but they didn’t have ventilation and water would seep into them so they stopped using them. Then eventually people started sleeping there (who didn’t have anywhere else to go). At one point they were used as a brothel and eventually in the mid 1800s they filled the vaults. It’s thought many people died during the years in these vaults so they are haunted!
In the 1970s some guys in an apartment got drunk and heard “scratching” behind the wall so they broke the wall down and found the vaults! Unhidden after 100 years! The tour was a lot of ghost stories but the guide was funny and got us with some good jump scares!
Going into the tombs!
Apparently a witch coven visited once and asked if they could set up a temple because there were a lot of bad spirits.
The tour lasted about 1hr. After we walked back to the airbnb (about 1 mile) and relaxed for most of the night. Jack and I went to this Turkish restaurant nearby called Verdo. The food was very good!
Day 3 – Edinburgh
I slept pretty terribly then had to get up at 6:30am to go with my brother to the airport. His flight was at 9am, but the rental car couldn’t be dropped off until 8am… so I rode with him then took the rental car to McDonald’s while I waited until 8am then dropped the car off. I was slightly worried about dropping the car off as I am noticeably NOT a man (since the car was in my brother’s name), but thankfully the guy said nothing to me. I ended up taking an uber back rather than spending over an hour on public transportation.
I got back to the airbnb around 8:30am and it was a really nice weather so I decided to hike Arthur’s Seat again. I know I know “Jamie are you ill? Hiking the same thing two days in a row?” But it was such a simple and quick hike and the views were so much nicer not in the rain 😂 it was incredibly windy at the top though so I didn’t hang out too long before heading back down. Lots of dogs out and I pet one so it was worth it!
I got back to the airbnb by like 9:45am. My Dad said our tour wasn’t until 1pm so I asked him where it left from so we could find a spot for lunch somewhat nearby…. turns out the tour started at 11am 😂 good thing we checked! We walked about a mile to get to the tour location. The tour was run by a comedian called the Montebank comedy tour. It was 2hours and we walked throughout Edinburgh. Basically a normal walking tour except with a stand-up comedian. The guide, Daniel, was pretty funny and also gave us a good history on Edinburgh! Would recommend.
I didn’t take a ton of pictures on the tour since we walked around so much yesterday, but here’s the street that inspired Diagonally from Harry Potter!
And a cool view of the castle!
We ended the tour near Grassmarket, which has a bunch of pubs, so we just went to a pub for lunch. Sadly they didn’t have roast so I got a burger. After lunch we set out to find a deep fried Mars bars. Not sure why these are a thing in Edinburgh, but it was DELICIOUS. Would recommend.
We ended up walking back to the airbnb around 3pm and took a nap (it was an early morning). I had found a pub that played the NFL but when I called they were only showing 2 games and the Bears wasn’t one of them. We decided to go anyways and watched the first half of the Packers/Bengals game. The food was decent but nothing crazy (the pub was called The Peartree). At halftime we walked back to the airbnb and got packed. I put the Bears game on my computer. We watched the first half before going to bed as my train is leaving at 6:20am tomorrow! So happy Jack and Dad finally got to go on their trip and I got to see them!