09 November 2017

A Long Weekend in Edinburgh

A month ago, my spouse and I headed to Edinburgh for a long weekend. A friend was getting married, and we were invited. It was also conveniently timed with a holiday in Germany, so we took advantage of it and flew for a long weekend. We flew in on Friday, and came back home on Tuesday. It was my first time to visit Scotland, and I must say that I had a great time!

We had an early flight, via London. We were booked on British Airways, and this time, we were flying via London City Airport. It is the first time I have used this airport, and it was an interesting experience, I must say, landing right in the middle of the metropolis. Unfortunately, we were just connecting, and so we didn't see much of London. Perhaps next time.

Our second flight brought us from London to Edinburgh, after a short hop. The airport in Edinburgh is located west of the city, and there is actually a tram that links the airport with the city center. That was fantastic! I've taken taxis, buses, and trains, in order to go to airports, heck, I have once even walked to an airport I needed to fly out of. But this was the first time I took a tram to go to and from an airport.

So, armed with a tram ticket, we headed to Edinburgh, and the city slowly appears. After thirty minutes, you see the forbidding Edinburgh Castle on your right. As the tram trundles through Princes Street, you just see the fantastic buildings, steeped with history.

We easily found our bed and breakfast, and after checking in and unloading our luggage, we headed out to explore the city. The weather was great, so we kept walking outdoors, exploring neighborhoods, just letting chance lead the way.

On Saturday, we started by exploring Edinburgh Castle. That occupied our entire morning, and I was of course fascinated by the historic buildings that still stand on that formidable hill. After lunch, we explored an optical illusion museum, which was primarily for children, but to be honest, I had lots of fun as well.

On Sunday, we checked out the National Museum of Scotland. It is a huge place, but we prioritized the exhibits on Scottish history. There is something for everyone in this museum, it's huge, and we didn't finish it. And more importantly, it is free!

Monday was the day of the wedding. We spent a few hours checking out the National Gallery of Scotland during the morning, and afterward we headed to the house where my friend and his groom are staying, as well as the rest of their family. I was one of the Grooms' Persons and I must say I had quite a blast during the whole event. It was also great seeing again friends I haven't seen for a while.

Tuesday was our last day; we checked out of our bed and breakfast, but since our flight wasn't until the afternoon, we headed to Leith, in order to check out the Royal Yacht Britannia. This is the last royal yacht, decommissioned in 1997, and is now preserved as a museum. We enjoyed our visit, and after a couple of hours, we grabbed lunch, then our bags, and headed back to the airport, again by using the tram.

It was an enjoyable five days. I did a bit of sight-seeing, as well as catching up with friends. In order to enter the United Kingdom, this time I applied for a European Economic Area Family Permit. This is a substitute for a UK visa, and is actually free. All I needed to do is to prove that I have a family relationship with an EU citizen. I still had to go through an application process, submitting a 15-page long application form, as well as giving my biometric photo and fingerprints, and I still had to submit my passport so that someone in London could affix a sticker on it, but the good thing is that it is free, unlike the UK visa, which costs 160,00 EUR I think. So this effectively became the first sticker on my swanky new passport, which I got in May of this year.

Of course, more pictures will come in subsequent posts, so stay tuned.

2 comments:

  1. Wow, it's such a pain that every time, you have to apply for a visa... hopefully this will soon (still a matter of years, I know!) be over when you become a EU citizen.

    Scotland is on my list of places to visit for a few days. Never got the chance!

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    1. Zhu,

      Yeah, it is a hassle, but I try not to let that hinder me from going to places nevertheless. As much as I don't like it, I also see why these bureaucratic measures are in place, and I don't have a better solution or alternative to it.

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