Edinburgh Walking Guide

Edinburgh Walking Guide

View from the penthouse suite at The Edinburgh Grand

It may or may not have escaped your notice that I moved to Edinburgh in August. One of my absolute favourite characteristics of this city is that there are a plethora of walks to enjoy. Since it has now been five months since that I moved here, I thought it would be nice to share my favorite places to escape the city for a bit. Armed with a home-brewed cup of coffee, I prepared a list of beautiful and relaxing places to walk in Edinburgh or around the Edinburgh area.

Arthur’s Seat

Arthur’s Seat can be spotted standing tall and proud in the picture from The Edinburgh Grand above. This was the first walk I did when I visited Edinburgh about two years ago. It still remains a favourite of mine to this day. It is a short walk. You’ll reach the top in about 30 minutes if you set a good pace, but it is quite steep and makes for a good workout. However, Arthur’s Seat is quite the tourist attraction and it can get really busy at the top. The crowds can be easily avoided by going up there a little early (when the tourists are still fast asleep). Getting up early is surely worth it! It will allow you to enjoy the views Arthur’s Seat has to offer in peace and solitude.

Blackford Hill

If you want the beautiful sight of Edinburgh stretched out before you, but don’t feel like getting up early or braving the crowds at Arthur’s Seat, Blackford Hill is the perfect walk for you. You won’t be as high up as you would be at Arthur’s Seat. But the walk is slightly longer as you’ll walk through a park before you start climbing the hill. The walk is very enjoyable and much less touristy. You will probably be joined by locals walking their dogs.

The Water of Leith Walkway

The Leith Walkway is one of those walks where you’re still right in the middle of the city, but it doesn’t really feel like it. The walkway is about 12 miles long and goes all the way from Balerno to Leith, passing some of my favourite areas in the city, such as Stockbridge and Dean Village. When I did this walk I started out in Dean Village and just followed the trail from there. I really recommend this walk as it is really nice and picturesque and you get to see the city of Edinburgh in a different light.

North Berwick

This walk is out of the city itself, but it is so nice that I really couldn’t leave it out. North Berwick is about a 40-minute drive from the city. When you arrive you’ll make your way through the woods before arriving at the beach, where you get to walk alongside the shore for quite a while. When I was there the tide was really high, but there’s usually quite a stretch of beach to enjoy! North Berwick is a great place to get out of the city for a bit.

That’s a wrap! If you know of any other walks that I might enjoy, feel free to recommend them to me!

The running project!

The running project!

One or two years ago I was still fit enough to run a half marathon. Then my BA thesis happened and ten months of internships happened. The past two years have been awesome, but still, a part of me mourns those hours spent running. Then again, nothing is ever accomplished simply by looking back. If you want to make changes, then the only way to do so is by actually ‘doing’. Which is why I made a promise to myself. No more sporadic runs, instead, I am back to training regularly. I am setting up a schedule and I am setting the goal for myself to pick a running event in Edinburgh.

MY running project

Part of wanting to get back into my routine is that I have a few months before my official moving date. I want to be used to my routine again so I can have some stability, something to focus on when I move. Although I am madly excited about the time to come, I do realize it’s going to be an adjustment to move away from everything I know. As The Meadows is practically going to be in my front yard, I have zero excuses for not going out and running a lap (or two). Running is going to be what I will turn to when I need some common ground.

The first run in my schedule was last Saturday. The next run was on Monday. And the next will be on Wednesday (the day after this post goes live). That’s three runs already, three runs closer to my goal of getting back into that running rhythm that I miss so much (and yet not at all, because let’s be honest, a bad run can be harrowing). That burning feeling in my lungs. That euphoria when you get back from a run and feel like you’re on top of the world.

The fun part about getting back to training was finding out that I hadn’t drifted off as far as I thought I did. On Saturday I ran 3k quite easily. I might be slower than I used to be, but I still had the stamina to run the entire distance.  However, on Monday the distance didn’t quite come as easily as it did two days before (and I believe a slight case of sore muscles might have a hand in that as well). Easy does it. I am not going to force it: I am going to enjoy getting back into the rhythm because what matters is that I am getting back into running again.

I guess what I am trying to say is: it is simple to get lost in what used to be. Try to remember that, no matter how insignificant, every run you go on is progress. And don’t forget to enjoy the process!

To Edinburgh and Beyond!

To Edinburgh and Beyond!

At the beginning of May, my dad and I booked ourselves a trip to Edinburgh. We were there for a long weekend and found ourselves right in the middle of cherry blossom season. Princess Street, The Meadows, and many more sights were colored pink with all the cherry blossoms in bloom and it might have been the prettiest sight I have ever seen.

I honestly love anything that has to do with Scotland, and Edinburgh has stolen my heart. The people, the architecture, and the whole feeling to the city. What’s not to love?

I felt pretty gutted that I had decided against bringing my SLR camera after one day of walking around (and we walked a lot) because even though smartphones take good enough pictures, pictures taken with an SLR camera are just clearer and brighter than any picture I could take with my phone. Translation: the former picture will just have to do.

The objective

Those of you that follow me on Instagram might know this already, but we made the trip with a very specific goal. About half a year ago I was admitted into the MSc Publishing programme at Edinburgh Napier. The academic year starts in September and I needed a place to stay (preferably where cats were allowed, because this crazy cat lady is taking her cat with her). I scouted ahead and had two appointments scheduled during my 4-day stay. The rest of the time we could spend whatever way we wanted… and that we did!

The weekend

The weeks leading up to this weekend were quite stressful. Something to do with life handing you lemons, as I was handed a lot of them. However, I got through them and on Friday, fresh out of work, I headed over to Schiphol (where my dad was waiting) and boarded the plane to Edinburgh. One flight and a taxi ride later we arrived at our hotel and I pretty much fell asleep a second after my head touched the pillow.

Fast forward to the next morning, where we woke up to 20-degree weather (say what?) and the whole day ahead of us. If I had to sum up our trip in just one sentence, it would be something along the lines of ‘lots of walking and good food.’ But that wouldn’t do the trip justice, of course, so prepare for a (slightly) more detailed account.

The first morning we didn’t really have a plan and decided to just walk in the direction of Princes Street. Armed with a cup of coffee we headed into the direction of Princess Street and wandered through St. Cuthbert church cemetery. It offered a beautiful view of Edinburgh Castle and became our next destination. We didn’t go in, mainly because the line was ridiculously long, but we people watched for quite some time and just took in the sight of Edinburgh stretched out before us.

There was so much to see that we pretty much just wandered around the whole day. Beautiful weather, good food, plenty of museums, and a pitstop at Waterstones. That Saturday was the bomb!

On Sunday we visited the campus that I’ll be studying at, made a visit to Nelson’s monument, and had an apartment viewing. We were really early (as in two hours early) and because the apartment is right next to The Meadows, we spent the remainder of that time on the grass. Did I mention that The Meadows was fully decked out in pink? See for yourself!

We had our flight home on Monday, but we didn’t have to be at the airport until 5 pm. Wonder above wonder we actually did have a plan for that morning. We walked to Holyrood Park and climbed Arthur’s Seat. Now, I did this the last time I was in Edinburgh as well and it was one of my favorite activities. It takes about 30 minutes to climb to the top, and the view is so beautiful!

Fun fact: we almost added another day to the trip (that’s how relaxing it was), but alas, the next day it was back to work for the both of us!

What about that apartment?

When I returned home Monday evening I had an email waiting: the room was mine if I still wanted it. So not only did I spend a glorious weekend in Edinburgh that had me returning ultimately relaxed, it also resulted in me finding a place to stay for the upcoming academic year. The best part? Fury (the cat) is very welcome as well. I’d call that a win-win situation.

Have you ever been to Edinburgh (or Scotland)? Tell me about your experience!

November ’17 Recap: When Life Becomes a Blur, But You Still Read A Lot

November ’17 Recap: When Life Becomes a Blur, But You Still Read A Lot

This post recaps my month: my personal life, the fun and not so fun; books I’ve read; movies/ tv shows I’ve watched; and all other things worth mentioning.

This post is embarrasingly late… As in half a month late, but you know what they say: better late than never! November was all about finding the balance between working and everything else. Little breakdowns, fun moments, excitement before the holidays: November had it all in spades!

Three months, that’s how long I’ve been doing my work placement already! I’d like to say it’s been all roses and sunshine, but I like to be real with you and I’ve been struggling a bit with balancing my work and ALL the rest. I’m really enjoying my time at Overamstel Publishers. My internship is fun and I’ve really settled into my work, but outside of work, it’s been an effort to fit other things in.

The thing I found hardest during November (and even the two months before, I now realize) is that I barely find the time to go running or do my workouts. Not even just that, when I get home from work I feel so tired that I barely have the energy to cook a decent meal… and I love cooking! I think the main problem is that when I leave from home it’s still dark outside and when I leave work the sun has set already. If I want to go running I have to run through the city center in order for it to be safe. I normally run in the park right behind my apartment building, but to run in a park while it is dark outside just isn’t safe and I hate the alternative. It’s busy in the city center and SO MANY TRAFFIC LIGHTS where I have to stop.

I guess in a way, especially in the workout department, November disappointed me. I feel like I lost my dedication to running and working out, not even necessarily my dedication, it’s more like I lost all energy to do so and that gets to me. I want December to be different in that department.

Now, reading-wise life is pretty damn awesome. I talked a bit about it in my previous post: how working at a publishing house has developed my reading habits and the type of books I read. I read a LOT in November and an awesomely weird mix of books as well: I read some fantasy, an essay type non-fiction book, a memoir, a retelling. I love the reading I’ve done and I’m seriously hoping December will be just as awesome (just, you know, with some more workouts thrown in).

I have also been really active on Instagram and have been loving every second of it. I truly love photography and the more I do it the more I find myself developing my style even further. I am hoping to experiment some more photography wise in December. I even purchased a backdrop, which is a pretty big deal, considering I normally take all my pictures outside, haha.

I’ve been pretty horrid at keeping up with my own statistics, but as the books I’ve read (and the movies and tv-series I watched) have been pretty memorable I think I can provide you with a pretty good account.

Reading:

  1. The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine. (4/5). Review. If you’re into fairytales this one is a must read!
  2. Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh. (3/5). I had some pretty mixed feelings about this book, watch out for my review to find out what I thought!)
  3. Hunted by Meagan Spooner. (4/5). Beautifully crafted tale!
  4. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. (5/5). Reread… If possible I ended up loving it even more!
  5. Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas. (5/5). I FINALLY READ THIS, WHY DID I NOT READ THIS SOONER?!

I continued rereading the ENTIRE Throne of Glass series and am pretty pleased to say that I have finished them all and am currently halfway into Tower of Dawn.

Tv-series:

Shooter season 2, episode 5 – 8. I still love this show and *cough* the lead actor *cough*

The Gifted season 1, episode 1 – 8. This show is so good! Can’t wait for the next episodes (and the season finale!)

Hawaii 5-o, season 8, episode 1 – 8. I’m starting to think I have a thing for the number eighth, haha.

Movies:

A Christmas Prince. And guys, it was bad… so bad… I ended up laughing so hard because the entire movie was just so ridiculous.

Wonder Woman. Because I needed to watch this again to be reminded of the awesomeness that is this movie. IT WAS STILL GLORIOUS!

How did November treat you?

 

The Camino: 30 days, 775 kilometers

The Camino: 30 days, 775 kilometers

It has been more than a year since I walked the Camino. More than a year since I walked 775k for one whole month through hellish summer weather. Most friends call me insane for walking 775 kilometers in 30 days in full summer. I call it chasing your dreams and checking something, one of the most wonderful experiences of my life, off my bucket list. Last week I realized that I never really wrote a post about my experience and I desperately want to remedy this, because if there’s one thing worth sharing it’s this.

I think my Camino experience had it all, there was an abundance of good moments but, as expected with a hike that long, there were some really bad moments as well. I want to walk you through them and explain why even though there were quite some tears shed along the way I will go back and walk the Camino again in a few years time.

That first day was horrendous. We had to climb most of the way and instead of sunny weather, it was pouring rain. It was foggy, cold, and we were drenched after a few kilometers. Once we reached the top the realization set in that no matter how much you train, training in the Netherlands (where everything is flat) will never prepare you for that first day of climbing and going back down the Pyrenees. We were cold, tired, and our moods were pretty glum. You just gotta keep going, because there is literally nothing for miles. Regardless of the heavy snoring all around me, I slept like a baby that night. The next morning our clothes had barely had the chance to dry, but hey, it was dry!

It seemed we experienced a month’s worth of rain that first day because aside from a few drops of rain there was no more the remaining days of that month. The heat set after that and let me tell you, Spanish summers are HOT. There is a certain point that first week where you feel like you’re just going through the motions: wake up early, eat breakfast, walk, eat lunch, walk, check in at Albergue, shower, sleep, get groceries, eat dinner, sleep. When I had some spare energy I took the time to take in some of the local sights, but what I just summed up is mainly what an average day consisted off. You have to get used to the rhythm.

Some days you have excess energy, others you’re so tired you’re barely able to take in all the beauty surrounding you. A good night of sleep is essential. But the rhythm gets comfortable. You make friends, and although I walked with a friend from the very beginning, you never really walk alone. There’s always other people on the road. And believe me, you’ll make friends for life because you’ll never experience what you have experienced with them. While walking there’s really nothing else to do but talk. You learn new words in different languages, you’ll learn what moved them to walk the Camino. EVERYONE has a story to tell and that’s one of the fascinating things about the entire journey.

The picture on top of this post is taken at the 100-kilometer point. That point is so powerful! Knowing you’ve walked 675 and have 100 left to go. 100 kilometer is NOTHING when you’ve walked that far. The friend I started the Camino with actually twisted her ankle two days before we reached Santiago. The entire thing was awful, her ankle was swollen and hurting really bad (and the closest hospital is in Santiago…). We walked the rest of the day and visited a clinic. They recommended her to take some rest, but she bought a brace and walked those last two days. You might call it irresponsible, and maybe it was, considering her ankle sometimes still troubles her, but at that point not walking is just not an option. We finished and concluded that month by sharing an apartment that last night with the friends we’d made along the way.

I was bone tired and honestly believe that I have ever been that exhausted in my entire life. I said to myself that this was one of those things that I’d do once in my life, but never again. At the time I meant it with every fiber of my being. Time is sneaky though. It has a way of changing your perspective on things, and all the bad things about my entire Camino experience just seemed to fade over time.

The positive memories remain and that rhythm of walking, the simplicity of walking, I remember with fondness. Because that simplicity is what I wish I could go back to when the days get rough. When life gets stressful and you’re running around doing whatever you wish for that simplicity again. And THAT is why, when I finish my master’s degree, I’m going back to St. Jean Pied de Port in France and walking that 775k to Santiago again.

Have you had a similar experience?

 

September ’17 Recap: Start of Internship & 23rd Birthday!

September ’17 Recap: Start of Internship & 23rd Birthday!

This post recaps my month: my personal life, the fun and not so fun; books I’ve read; movies/ tv shows I’ve watched; and all other things worth mentioning.

I have no other word for September than ‘busy’. September carried so many new opportunities and experiences for me. It was tiring in many ways as new experiences usually are, but also incredibly exciting and fun! Let me recap it all for you.

September marked the end of my summer break and the start of my internship at Overamstel Publishers! I worked alongside my study, but I never worked a full-time job before, so I knew it was going to be challenging. What I didn’t quite expect was how much I was going to love everything about the internship. I have wonderful co-workers who are a joy to work with. I love being surrounded by books all the time as well as getting to know the ins and outs of the publishing trade. I’ve been working there for a month now and I learned so many different things and no event is the same, which is what makes them so much fun, to begin with.

As the post title states, I turned 23 this month! Unfortunately, I was sick on my birthday (the entire week actually…). I caught a sinus infection and felt miserable for most of the week, mainly because my asthma started bothering me as well, but luckily I was at home and my parents made an enormous effort to make me feel like a birthday girl.

September was also the month that I redesigned my entire blog (as you might have noticed, haha). I played around with the idea of this header for ages and finally, I asked Anna Lena from Finelinervreter to design it for me. She truly is an incredibly talented artist and did such a great job designing my new header! If you’re not familiar with her work I highly recommend checking out her Instagram and let yourself be inspired by her work!

Reading wise September was lots of fun! I started my reread of Eragon and I’m currently close to finishing the fourth and last book in the series. I should’ve reread this series so much sooner because I am HOOKED all over again! You can expect a very fun post on this topic on Thursday. Yes, you read that right, I am back to blogging baby! I am completely inspired and the posts are flowing out of my fingertips!

I splurged quite a bit on books this month. But hey, it was my birthday month, I’m allowed a little splurge every now and then (especially when it’s my birthday!). I bought Girls Made of Snow and GlassJane UnlimitedAn Enchantment of Ravens and If There’s No Tomorrow. I can’t wait to get cracking and read them all! I also started a book club! Which I will keep you updated about!

Working out wise this month started out GREAT! I ran two obstacle runs the same weekend: a 7k on 2 September and a 12k on 3 September. Then I got sick, but hey, I’m taking the time to get back to a 100% (my lungs are still not liking me, probably because of that hacking cough I couldn’t get rid of for two damn weeks) and I’ll be back running 12k’s in no time.


I haven’t really paid a lot of attention to keeping track of everything I’ve read, watched, and listened to this month, but I’ll do my best to list it all for you!

Reading:

  1. Eragon by Christopher Paolini. (5/5).
  2. Eldest by Christopher Paolini. (5/5).
  3. Brisingr by Christopher Paolini. (5/5).
  4. Royally Screwed by Emma Chase. (3.5/5). This book was quite entertaining, to be honest.
  5. Paper Princess by Erin Watt. (2/5). For some bizarre reason I had to keep reading, but I didn’t particularly enjoy it at all…
  6. Broken Prince by Erin Watt. (2/5). I have some idiotic fixation wanting to know how this story ends, but still can’t say I enjoy the story.
  7. Twisted Palace by Erin Watt. (2/5). I AM A GLUTTON FOR PUNISHMENT… WHY?!
  8. Inheritance by Christopher Paolini – Currently reading.

Tv-series:

Shooter season 2, episode 1 – 4. I just realized I need to continue watching this! I wanted to wait until more episodes were available and then I forgot *gasps*.

Sleepy Hollow season 1, episode 1 – 5. Rewatching this! Yay!

Movies:

Do not laugh at me… I watched like three completely cheesy and REALLY BAD but terrifyingly enjoyable Hallmark Christmas movies #sorrynotsorry! I don’t even remember the titles, but they were so fun to watch because I could just shut off my brain and enjoy some good old chrismas themed rom coms!