You can follow Rachel's tips at: RachelBrown
That first view of Edinburgh is arguably the finest. Stepping out of Waverly train station, the ancient city vista bathed in the evening sun – this is a place that is grand, imposing and unapologetic.
I have lived in Edinburgh for two years, an imposter from over the border in England. For me, it is the air of mystery and intrigue that is so captivating. The castle may tower high above all, but it is the cities secrets that are most compelling. The medieval streets and alleys of the old town have stories a plenty, and the unsavoury tales of plague, ghosts and infamous serial killers lurk in the hidden underground town. These narratives, of historical fact or literary fiction continue to engage both visitor and local alike.
But it is August when the spotlight lands on Edinburgh, and my love for it swells, as the cultural jamboree of the ‘festival’ consumes the city. Colour, people and performers litter the streets. It is as if the day to day grind is put on hold for one glorious month of the year. The excitement is contagious. You should stop by, I’ll buy you a pint.
I recently met a New Yorker who told me that there is an unwritten rule in NYC that locals are not allowed to ‘look up’ Monday through Saturday. They must be profoundly irritated by tourists stalling on the sidewalks with maps, cluttering up their subway, lengthening their coffee queues. They must remain decidedly unimpressed. But then, on Sunday, they are granted a day’s grace. They can finally consult a map, discover a new part of town and be impressed by their city.
To me, this is a waste of six good days out of seven. I'm two years in and there is so much of Edinburgh for me yet to discover. I am constantly delighted, amazed and impressed with what ‘Auld Reekie’ has to offer. To behave as a tourist in Edinburgh is to remember the joys of this city.
To walk the streets that writers, philosophers and the great thinkers of the enlightenment have trodden. To prop up the same bars that crooks and prostitutes shared with city lawyers and doctors some 500 years ago. To hunt relentlessly for the best coffee in town. (It’s at Wellingtons in case you wondered.)
When the first whispers of festival reach the city, when the autumn sunsets light up the skyline, and July evenings go on forever; I forgive Edinburgh all. Her dreich days, bitter winds and tacky tartan gift shops.
Many thousands flock to visit this city each year and I have the great privilege to call it home. I hope to share some of my favourite haunts, stories and tips from Scotland’s capital.
I am an Englishwoman living in Edinburgh, and I always look up.
Rachel's personal blog is at: http://rachelannebrown.blogspot.com/ Here's a tip to start you off:Calton hill - rise above it all
One of the nicest things to do in a city is to ‘rise above it!’
Castle Rock’s smaller sibling is Calton Hill, a grassy spot some 450ft above sea level at the east end of Princes Street. It is from this spot that every postcard shot of the city has been taken, so take a wander up and take in the view for yourself.
Explore the strange structures at the top – including the locally named ‘Edinburgh’s disgrace’ – an overambitious attempt to replicate the Parthenon in the ‘Athen’s of the North.’
Take a picnic and take this short walk to one of the finest views of Princes Street, the Castle and beyond.Google map: http://bit.ly/qNhCjlBeen there locals homepage