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How To Navigate Edinburgh Neighbourhoods

I recently had a friend visit from England who really wanted to get to grips with Edinburgh’s different neigborhoods. He told me he hadn’t really gotten a feel for any of them from Lonely Planet or any of the other guides he’d brought with him. I can only sympathise with that. Whenever I visit another city, I always feel the travel guides I bring with him are pretty lacking in terms of acquainting you with what the various areas are actually like. I actually visited Paris recently, however, where I came across a wee little app called Smarter Paris,  which was actually a brilliant introduction to paris neighborhoods and the like. A great many articles written by locals, which makes a real difference in my opinion. If I had to create an app like that and, below are my thoughts on all that, which I gave John as well, over a pint or three!

Old Town — Old Town is where Edinburgh started. The main road that runs through it is Royal Mile, a medieval thoroughfare that runs for a good few kilometres all the way from Edinburgh Castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse. The Royal Mile is just a single boulevard that has four different parts with different names: Canongate, Lawnmarket, High Street and Castlehill. It’s great place to get a good spot of shopping done.

New Town — One of the largest Georgian developments in the world, New Town preceded Old Town, of course, and grew to incorporate the northern half of the main part of the city. At least 25,000 people live here, and it’s also the largest historic conservation site in the whole of Britain, so loads of stuff to take in if you’re a history lover.

Stockbridge — Stockbridge was once a village but is now part of New Town. It still feels like quite a small town even though it’s in the heart of the city, with its own cosy community. It’s got a boatload of friendly cafes, pubs and restaurants, so overall this is a great place to go and relax.

Haymarket & Dalry — These two areas are a few kiometres to the west of the main city. Haymarket really revolves around its railway station, which acts as an alternative to Waverley for visitors who are traveling through Glasgow). Murrayfield, the famous rugby station, is situated quite close to the station. There’s not much to say about Dairy, other than that gentrification is firmly starting to take root!

Right, I think there’s a fair few more than those to mention, but my fingers are tired, so I shall wait until another today to add to this list!


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More To Scotland Than Meets The Eye

Scotland has caught the eye of the world with its unique cultural background and traditions, not to mention its delicious meals, beautiful music, and events. However, for most people, they only know a few things about the Scottish culture, and that is related to bagpipes. While bagpipes is a traditional Scottish instrument, there is far more to the Scottish culture, including many things that have been celebrated for centuries.

There are several aspects of the Scottish culture that people around the world find intrigues them, some of them are mentioned below.

  • Kilts – Kilts are a main part of Scotland’s tradition, and are typically worn to important events such as weddings, Scottish sporting events, as well as other cultural events. They are normally made of wool and extend up to the knee, and pleated in the back. In most occasions, they are worn with a jacket, long socks, and a small purse ‘scorran’.
  • Bagpipes – The bagpipes are a traditional Scottish instrument commonly known around the world for their unique sounds, and playstyle. As the name suggests, it is a bag with several pipes sticking out. The player must continuously blow into the bag while squeezing it to let air out from the correct pipe. In the past, they were used during wars.
  • Scottish Tartan – The Scottish tartan is a pattern where different coloured lines cross each other at a specific angle. This angle and color gives it a unique look that is often referred to as ‘plaids’ by the Americans. Up until the 19th century, the pattern was commonly found in Scotland after which it died down a bit.

The Scottish culture extends back centuries, and the above three mentioned are just a few of the many aspects within the Scottish culture. One common Scottish dish that is often overlooked is the Haggis. The Haggis is an oddly shaped sausage made of sheep organ meat. They are traditionally cooked with garlics, salts, spices, onions, etc., after which it is boiled or roasted. It is commonly eaten on the 25th of January which is known as ‘Burns Night’. Unfortunately, they were banned in the US in 1971.

Much of the Scottish culture has been known worldwide, most commonly the kilts and bagpipes. The music, food and clothing is rarely used outside of Scotland but is still proudly celebrated and used by Scottish families across the globe. Other aspects of Scottish culture like the flag brings back interesting stories of the country’s past.


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