(Edinburgh Forth Bridges © 2006 Scotiana)
The Scottish capital is a place of outstanding beauty. It’s a city we’ve fallen in love with when we first discovered it a few years ago and we can’t wait to go back there!
There is truly something “very special” about Edinburgh…
As soon as you approach the city, you can feel the magic of the place. It all begins when you cross the Firth of Forth, driving along the very impressive Road Bridge, with passengers of the car desperately trying to take pictures of the Forth Railway Bridge.
This famous bridge which opened in 1890, in the presence of, amongst many other dignitaries, Monsieur Eiffel, was used by Alfred Hitchcock as the setting for a frightful scene in his film The 39 Steps (1935).
The Forth Road Bridge, which replaced a centuries-old ferry service, opened in 1964. It spans the Firth of Forth, connecting the city of Edinburgh, at South Queensferry, to Fife, at North Queensferry.
Robert Louis Stevenson, who was born in Edinburgh on 13 November 1850, wrote memorable pages about it. Though he entertained mixed feelings about his native city, he did love it dearly and never forgot Edinburgh even after he had migrated towards better skies in the South Pacific Ocean.
The ancient and famous metropolis of the North sits overlooking a windy estuary from the slope and summit of three hills. No situation could be more commanding for the head city of a kingdom; none better chosen for noble prospects. From her tall precipice and terraced gardens she looks far and wide on the sea and broad campaigns. To the east you may catch at sunset the spark of the May lighthouse, where the Firth expands into the German Ocean; and away to the west, over all the carse of Stirling, you can see the first snows upon Ben Ledi.
(Picturesque Notes on Edinburgh - Robert Louis Stevenson 1903)
The Old Town occupies a sloping ridge or tail of diluvial matter, protected, in some subsidence of the waters, by the Castle cliffs, which fortify it to the west. On the one side of it and the other the new towns of the south and of the north occupy their lower, broader, and more gentle hill-tops. Thus, the quarter of the Castle overtops the whole city and keeps an open view to sea and land. It dominates for miles on every side; and people on the decks of ships, or ploughing in quiet country places over in Fife, can see the banner on the Castle battlements, and the smoke of the Old Town blowing abroad over the subjacent country. A city that is set upon a hill. It was, I suppose, from this distant aspect that she got her nickname of Auld Reekie. Perhaps it was given her by people who had never crossed her doors: day after day, from their various rustic Pisgahs, they had seen the pile of building on the hill-top, and the long plume of smoke over the plain; so it appeared to them; so it had appeared to their fathers tilling the same field; and as that was all they knew of the place, it could be all expressed in these two words.
(Picturesque Notes on Edinburgh – Robert Louis Stevenson 1903)
Many places do contribute to the magic of Edinburgh but one of the best things to do before visiting the city is to climb somewhere to try and get a panoramic view of it. Rest assured, it’s easy!
There are a number of hills in the area that can lead you to an impressive view of the surroundings : Calton Hill, Arthur’s Seat, the Salisbury Crags, Blackford Hill, and other monuments such as the Esplanade of the old Castle and the Walter Scott’s Monument, to name just these.
As we intend to climb up the mythical Arthur’s Seat next time we go to Edinburgh we’d better get in ‘top shape’ before our departure to Scotland’s beautiful capital city!
There are so many interesting places to visit in Edinburgh, that it will take more than one post to cover them all! Therefore, you are kindly invited to hop upon our “virtual” bus tour to discover the places we enjoyed the most, along with great encounters with charming Scottish people, which all contributed to our unconditional love of their great homeland.