Based in Houston, Texas, GEV is a blog by The GreenEyed Venuist. Her posts explore travel and photography through her green eyes.

Wanna Travel Cheaper? Crash Your Friend's Business Travel - Scotland Edition

I notoriously crash my friend's business travel. In my defense, her company is always sending her somewhere fantastic. Like this year, I'm dying b/c she's supposed to be heading to Rio at some point before the conclusion of 2014. Everyday I've been trying to piece together this puzzle of limited vacation days to accommodate Greece, China and Rio before the end of the year...and I can't seem to make them all fit (insert sad face here).

To me, Krissy's occupational situation is like Chandler Bing on Friends or Tommy Strong from Martin. People ask me what she does all the time and I have only a vague understanding of it. I usually just respond with, "it has something to do with computers and/or IT", not really convinced if it has anything to do with either of those things (Transponster!). Most times I just wanna be like, she ain't got no job man!

Still, with this lack of understanding of her job description, I am able to reap certain outstanding benefits. We (notice how I used the collective "we" there...ha) have been to The Netherlands, Paris, Scotland and Ireland, and that's just internationally. Here comes the cheap part, get ready for it - for each trip I crash, the lodging is totally gratis for me! Yo, if Krissy doesn't mind sharing...I'm in there. These have been reaaaally nice hotels too. 

I'll write individual posts for other experiences but today I want to focus on Scotland.
We started in Dublin and flew Aer Lingus, short flight, cheap ticket - just like I like it. Free hotel + cheap ticket = I can pay my bills when I get back home. 

While Krissy worked, I spent the day alone in Edinburgh. Don't confuse this with the Texas version of Edinburgh down in The Valley. The Scots add extra syllables and it's pronounced Edin-borough. 

We stayed at the Radisson Blu Edinburgh which was conveniently located on High Street, just about 10 steps away from The Royal Mile. In addition to the incredible location, we got one of the most spacious rooms ever! See the pic below:

The hotel staff was great, especially the concierge who helped me map out my itinerary for the day. Radisson Blu also provided a pretty exceptional breakfast buffet with lots of options. I tried haggis for the first and last time at this hotel. But, the thing I cherished the most from this trip and this hotel is the view from that window pictured above. It was there that I took one of my favorite travel pics of all time. 

Have you ever heard the song by Maze featuring Frankie Beverly called "Golden Time of Day"? The lyrics paint a picture of the beauty of time of day when the sun is setting...

There's a time of the day when the sun is going down
That's the golden time of day
It's a time that the sun turns a gold all around
That's the golden time of day
At the end of the day when the wind is soft and warm
Don't it make the flowers sway
When the sun settles down and it takes a lovley form
That's the golden time of day

Ladies and gents, I managed to capture exactly what's described in those lyrics on film. The bona fide "golden time of day" when the sun reflected almost perfectly off the Salisbury Crags as if to intentionally call them to my attention. I was lying in bed after a long day of touring the city and I caught this magnificent sight out of the corner of my eye. I scrambled to pick up my camera and rushed to the window. What's even better is that it appears that the sun light is only kissing the crags and nothing else. I had seen this structure all day as I took in the city but never in this particular light and in the midst of snapping photos I had to stop and just appreciate the opportunity to observe such a sight. God is definitely good. And the whole time, that song was playing in my head...

Keep in mind that we visited in June. The sun doesn't begin to set until nearly 9pm. So this picture was taken a little after 9pm. It wasn't completely dark there until about 11pm.

During that one day in Edinburgh I accomplished alot. I took the Edinburgh Bus Tour which is a city-wide hop on/hop off sightseeing tour to get myself acquainted with the attractions. The tour's route included Edinburgh's Old Town, Georgian New Town (which is home to Charlotte Square, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and Georgian House), Castle Rock and Edinburgh Castle, The Royal Mile and the Palace of Holyrood House (The official residence of The Queen when she visits), to name a few. 

After the tour, I decided on a few places to investigate further. I started with the Edinbugh Castle then walked the Royal Mile, stopping at The Fudge House of Edinburgh candy store and stocking up on some delectable treats. Here's a few shots of the Castle. I ate all the fudge before I got a chance to take any pics....oops.

At the other end of The Royal Mile stand the Palace of Holyrood. You aren't allowed to take pictures inside the Palace but I got a few of the outside. Spectacular living situation, if you ask me.

Finally, I stopped at Melrose Abbey - ruins of a monastery that was originally established in 1136 by Cistercian monks and surrounded by a most enchanting garden. 


As you can tell, the garden was my favorite part. Of course I saw all the sights along the way and even wandered down a few windy streets to explore. Also, there are all these open doorways in the buildings that lead you into courtyards or even other historical sites. I found myself inside a few of those throughout the day too.

I'd be remiss (and Krissy would kill me) if I failed to mention the world's greatest Italian restaurant in Edinburgh. You're probably thinking that I'm crazy b/c obviously the world's greatest Italian food should be in Italy. You're right but....Prezzo Italian Restaurant gets my vote. We ate all the pasta  and drank all the wine they had. What's awesome is that during our visit they were offering special wine tastings, three full glasses of wine to "taste"...we ordered 2 tastings each. Good times. 

When I was heading to Scotland I was unsure what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised by the kindness of the locals were and the beauty in general. I'd surely go back some day.

Alrighty guys.....I hope you feel like you were with me in Edinburgh. Feel free to contact me with questions about visiting. My website will be up and running shortly and I have a bunch of cool goodies planned for all my wanderlusters! Til next time!

**There's no where to go but get going! ~ The Green Eyed Venuist

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