GLOCCOVNAA is an abbreviation for 'Great Life of Conflict, Climax or Virtually Nothing At All'. That was the long and ridiculous name I came out for my blog when I was 18 years old. Do click on the colourful icons on the right to check out different types of posts in this blog.

29 October, 2012

How to enjoy Edinburgh with a tight budget #1

I would have been to Edinburgh 5 times by now. My first visit was also my first time planning a trip for a group. We were there solely to attend the annual Edinburgh Tattoo and Fringe festival. But I will not be elaborating about that trip, instead the post will be about my second trip when I traveled on my first solo trip. I mentioned about this before in my Uni-7,8-disaster post that I visited Edinburgh to celebrate the New Year 2012. My definition of a tight budget is roughly £75 pounds for a 3 days 2 nights trip including food, lodging, transport and entrance fees.

The first shot I made in this trip.
My previous visit to Edinburgh and my familiarity of the Edinburgh from Google Map was key in this trip since I decided from the start that I didn't want to travel with the restrains of a physical map. I started my journey by Citylink bus from Glasgow which only costs £0.80 for super single + student price, so the return fair was only £1.60. The bus only took slightly over an hour to reach Edinburgh bus station near St Andrews Square.
Holyrood Palace, the Queen's official residence in Scotland.
Edinburgh is a big city with a very dense and small nucleus, so travelling between tourist sites would be much easier and enjoyable by foot instead of public transportation. I arrived at the bus station at 10am. Since I was traveling very light, I took a slow and comfortable walk along the Royal Mile towards Holyrood Palace and Arthur's Seat. As the icy pavements and grass were melting, I started my hike up Arthur's Seat. The climb up was not too difficult, most of the walking paths are gentle. The hindrance was the powerful wind close to the peak. If you want to climb up Arthur's Seat during winter, bring along gloves, a good windbreaker and of course a nice camera. The view from the top is spectacular, I was fortunate enough to get an clear view of the whole city although it was foggy earlier in the morning.
Did I mention it was beautiful up there?
After carefully climbing down some slippery slopes, I had checked-in and had lunch at the Smart City Hostel which was a fantastic hostel. I stayed at this hostel during the previous trip and was very impressed by the cleanliness and location, not to mention that it only cost around £40 for 2 nights even during the New Year holiday. The hostel was noticeably crowded and many customers were denied rooms without prior booking. Thankfully I managed to get a comfortable bed in decent dorm sharing with 4 other tourists despite paying for a shared 8 bed dorm. So the tip here is to book early, sometimes they may even reward early birds with an upgrade.
My dorm had individual lockers and an attached bathroom and toilet.
I met up with a group of friends who arrived by train at Waverley Station later in the afternoon and had an early dinner at the station's Burger King. Shortly after dinner, we entered the barrier of the Hogmanay Street Party with our £15 basic ticket. Here are my two cents about the Street Party:
  • Bring an umbrella or a raincoat in case it rains.
  • Glass bottles are not permitted in the party.
  • Prices of food and drinks in the party compound are inflated (obviously).
  • Be prepared to queue for/use stinky mobile toilets.
  • Try not to get separated from the group in the crowd (it is easier said than done).
  • Beware of snatch thieves and drunkers.
  • Get a comfortable spot near Princes Street Garden at 11.30pm for a wonderful view of the fireworks.
  • Enjoy singing Auld Land Syne with everyone on the street.
To be honest, I had the feeling that the Hogmanay Street Party was a huge tourist trap when the streets are filled with mostly foreign tourists like me. I was also not particularly impressed by any of those mediocre bands and the whole party was just a hype for the midnight fireworks and Edinburgh being the origin of the world famous Auld Lang Syne song. But I must say the fireworks were impressive and the atmosphere when everyone sang the song was great.

To be Continued...


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