Edinburgh Castle and it’s stunning views

Edinburgh Castle and it’s stunning views

Edinburgh Castle

After (almost) a year I finally paid Edinburgh Castle a visit

Edinburgh Castle

Athough I’ve been living in Edinburgh for almost a year, it so happens that I never actually paid a visit to the the castle that’s very hard to miss when you visit the city. I’m happy to report that I have finally remedied that mistake and stepped foot inside the castle walls.

Visiting Edinburgh Castle might be one of the most touristy things you can do in the city, but if you’re into history and do  appreciate a good castle this one should definitely go on that bucket list. At 18 pounds entry is definitely not the cheapest place to visit, but if you have the money to spare I’d highly recommend it.

I visited the castle with my friend Fleur, who is an AMAZING photographer and recently started her own business. (If you want to check out some her work, you can do so here.) We both took a bunch of pictures, and she took quite a lot of pictures of me, so this post won’t just contain my pictures but also ACTUAL PICTURES OF ME INSIDE THE CASTLE. As I’m usually the one behind the camera, this is quite the treat (and probably won’t happen very often, so enjoy it while you can).

Arches and Corridors

I do love a good corridors and pretty arches, and lucky for me Edinburgh Castle had plenty. The old arches, the bricks, the windows, the castle really is a feast for the eyes and every history buff’s dream. 

I mentioned it before, but I’ll say it again, it can get quite busy. There were plenty of other visitors around when we visited. Even though I normally avoid crowds like these, surprisingly I didn’t mind it as much as I thought I would. If anything, everyone’s there for the same thing and there’s this shared sense of enthusiasm of being inside a very impressive building.

Skip the ticket line

Did you know you can also order your tickets online? There’s a slight discount (although I’m not sure you can really call it that, as it’s 50 cents, but hey beggars can’t be choosers!), and you can print your tickets at home or print them on sight. As the lines for tickets can get quite long (I’ve witnessed them on multiple occasion and have zero interest in experiencing them firsthand), I really recommend it. It might also be worth it to go as early as you can and on a weekday, as the castle can get very busy (although I can’t recommend a specific day, since we went during the weekend, haha). 

All the views

Obviously I mean the view behind me (although, of course, I am quite the view myself *wink*). Fleur took this picture of me while I was very hard trying to find where I lived and point it out to her. The result is me looking very pensive with Edinburgh looking mighty pretty in the background. 

Although the view from Edinburgh Castle doesn’t beat the one you’re offered from the top of Arthur’s Seat, you definitely can’t complain. As you walk around the castle grounds you see different parts of the city, and I very much got a kick out of pointing out all the different areas of the city I loved.

Tip when visiting the Crown Jewels

There’s two entrances that take you to the Crown Jewel exhibition. One takes you straight to them, and one that takes you past some other exhibitions and ends with the Crown Jewel exhibition. We took the latter (because we didn’t know about the other one), and it turned out to be very advantageous as there was no line. The other entrance though… MASSIVE LINE. We had a bit of a laugh over it. So, for my readers only, if you visit Edinburgh Castle and there’s a line for that specific exhibition look for that second entrance. 

All the canons

There were so many canons, offering cute snapshots of the city. The walls are quite high, so you probably won’t be able to see over it (I only could while I stood on my toes, and I’m quite tall). The canons, and the openings in the wall, offer the perfect solution, while giving you a very nice photo opportunities. As you can see, I took full advantage of that by snapping a nice shot of the Scott Monument.

And that’s it for today! I didn’t take as many photo’s as I would’ve liked to take, mainly because for once I was the one being photographed instead of being photographer (and the beautiful surroundings definitely played a part as well).

Photo Gallery 

Instead of sharing more of my pictures, I wanted to take this space to share some more pictures Fleur took. She is honestly such a talented portrait photographer, and I love the pictures she took so much. I wasn’t kidding when I said I normally don’t get my picture taken and I love how she captured me in these. I highly recommend giving her a follow and checking out her other work!

So without much further ado, check out the rest of Fleur’s photos:

The Fairy Pools on Isle Skye

The Fairy Pools on Isle Skye

The Fairy Pools

A short trip to the Isle of Skye

The Fairy Pools

When my parents were visiting in May, we planned a rather spontaneous four-day trip to the Highlands. One of those days was spent visiting Isle of Skye, or rather, vising the Fairy Pools on Isle of Skye. I have a massive list of places I want to visit in Scotland, and I’m very happy to say that thanks to this latest trip the Fairy Pools have now been checked off that list!

Although the Fairy Pools are definitely quite touristy (more so than I expected), it was still a very enjoyable walk with some very pretty (small) waterfalls and pools. I’d love to go back some day, during a time of day when it isn’t so crowded, but for now my curiosity has been satisfied!

In this post I’ll highlight my two favourite shots and explain why I like them so much. I’ve also added a gallery at the end so you can flip through some other photos I’ve taken.

The movement of the water

As the subheading suggests, I really like this picture because it shows the swirls and movement of the water moving through the rocks. 

The photo shows a glimpse of the waterfall in the background. I first was more interesting in taking a photo with the waterfall as the main subject, but soon became more interested with the movement of the water itself. 

I played around a bit with the shutter speed, and had to tweak the settings a few times because it was such a bright and sunny day. I’m really happy with how this picture turned out.

Jumping off the rocks to take a swim

Some pools that are really good for swimming. However, despite the sun that day, the water was crazy cold and there is no way you would have gotten me into the water. Regardless, a few people were brave enough to jump from the rocks into the water (some wearing a wetsuit, and some not…). Maybe I’ll go back in the summer one day and take a swim myself, because it did look like good fun!

My favourite pool

I think by now you can tell that I like to frame my photos with flowers or leaves. This is without a doubt why this photo ended up being another firm favourite.

This was one of the smaller pools (and definitely one of the smallest waterfalls found on the walk), but also one of my favourite. I love the blue colour and the clarity of the pool, showing the rocks underneath the water surface.

And that’s it for today! I didn’t take as many photo’s as I would’ve liked to take, but that’s only natural as I was trying to enjoy the time with my family as much as I possibly could. Instead of solely taking pictures of the nature, I also took some pictures of my family (as evidenced by the picture of my sister in the photo gallery).

Although the Fairy Pools were definitely touristy (and not as quiet and relaxing I’d hoped it to be), I would still absolutely say it’s worth the trip. However, for the early birds amongst you, I would recommend getting up a bit early to avoid the crowd.

Photo Gallery 

Visiting The Kelpies with the Family

Visiting The Kelpies with the Family

The Kelpies

I visited The Kelpies with my family

The Kelpies

The last two weeks my family was visiting, and  we visited a bunch of places together. I’d been wanting to visit the Kelpies for a while now, and them being here provided the ultimate opportunity to pay a visit to these equine sculptures.

I’d seen pictures of the statues, but nothing really prepares you seeing it with your own eyes. Each of The Kelpies stands up to 30 metres tall, and each one weighs over 300 tonnes! (Read: they’re MASSIVE). They’re also incredibly detailed, beautiful, and completely dwarf you.

I have always had a thing for mythology, and I love how Scottish legends depict kelpies as shape-shifting water spirits who inhabit the lochs and waterways of Scotland. Supposedy, they appear most often as a horse, and can also take on human form. These massive sculptures reflect the mythological transforming beasts possessing the strength and endurance of 10 horses. 

We visited The Kelpies on quite a rainy day, but it didn’t impact our visit at all. I had no problem walking around in the rain, admiring the great detail in these sculptures (especially since there’s a cafe close to the sculptures where you can get a cup of coffee to warm up a bit). You can go inside the sculptures as well, although I didn’t do this, as I was content just walking around snapping plenty of pictures.

I’d love to go back and visit the sculptures on a sunny (or just less rainy day), or during the night when they’re a lit up! For those of you wanting to travel Scotland: if you’re in the area, it is defintely worth putting a visit to The Kelpies on your to do list!

Photo Gallery 

Alternatives to Amsterdam when Visiting the Netherlands

Alternatives to Amsterdam when Visiting the Netherlands

The places you should be visiting in the Netherlands

The best alternatives to Amsterdam

Alternatives to Amsterdam

Whenever I tell people that I’m from the Netherlands, people often reply by saying that they’ve been to Amsterdam. Which is cool! Amsterdam has a lot to offer: the Anne Frank house, tons of art museums, a rich history, beautiful architecture, and lovely canals. However, it is also so very touristy and busy (not to mention the ever present smell of weed).

Amsterdam is a very popular destination for tourists. Personally though, I am not really a big fan of the city. Which mainly has to do with the characteristics I mentioned before: it’s absolutely packed with tourists and the smell of weed is incredibly hard to evade. A lot of people I talk to commonly mention two things when talking about Amsterdam: the Red Light District and weed. Which is a shame, because that’s not at all what the Netherlands (and our culture) is about. 

The Netherlands has many beautiful cities that have so much to offer. It’s almost a shame to limit your experience in the Netherlands to Amsterdam (and the above mentioned characteristics). Cities and things to do that, in my opinion, you should definitely consider when booking a trip to the Netherlands.

 

My favourite cities in the Netherlands:

1. Leiden

I might be a little biased here, because I lived and studied in Leiden. But if you want the canals and the beautiful houses along them (also known as ‘herenhuizen’), Leiden is the place for you! It’s much smaller than Amsterdam, and almost has that small town feel to it, in the sense that it makes you feel welcome right away  Map

2. Utrecht

Utrecht is quite similar to Leiden. It has the canals, the beautiful houses, but also the beautiful gothic Dom church, which should be way up on your list to visit! Make a visit to the botanic gardens, visit a museum, or one of the countless art galleries  Map

3. Delft

Another Dutch city that has as much to offer as Amsterdam in terms of canals, ‘herenhuizen’, and art galleries. I haven’t been here as many times as I should, but the times I’ve been I absolutely loved the look and feel of the city Map

4. Maastricht

Another beautiful city, with one of my favourite bookstores in the Netherlands: the Dominicanen bookstore. It’s a bookstore inside a church, and it’s an absolute dream for those who love history and reading (preferably both together at the same time) Map

 Also worth a mention and visit: The Hague, Nijmegen, Den Bosch

 Note: This list is not exhaustive, nor does it mention the more modern/industrial cities, like Rotterdam. I aimed to offer alternatives that are similar to Amsterdam. I personally love Rotterdam and would highly recommend a visit. It has a very industrial and modern look, and doesn’t have a lot of the typical canals and architecture (because the city was bombed during the Second World War). There are some though, if you you know where to look (askt the locals!)

Recommended things to do in Leiden, Utrecht, Delft, and Maastricht:

Kinderdijk

Close to Leiden there’s this little village called Kinderdijk. You can walk amidst the famous windmills that keep the land dry (as it is all below sea level). It’s rich with history, as it tells the story of the Low Countries, and how its people have worked with windmills to keep the water at bay. 

Museum of Ethnology

Called the museum of ‘Volkenkunde’ in Dutch, this museum is one of my favourites to date. It’s located in Leiden and has a standard exhibition as well as changing themed ones, making it very appealing to come back whenever a new exhibition starts.  

Dominicanen Bookstore

I mentioned it above already, but when in Maastricht you need to visit Dominicanen Bookstore. It is a bookstore in a gorgeous gothic church. For those among you who love history and books, it is an absolute must see!

Maastricht Underground

Maastricht has a very large network of historical caves and tunnels. In the past these tunnels were developed to defend the city and during WWII, they provided shelter from bombing raids. Some go on for kilometers and are most definitely worth a visit!

Churches 

I’m not religious myself, but I love to visit churches as they show and tell so much about the history of a city. Go visit the Dom church in Utrecht, the ‘Oude’ and ‘Nieuwe’ church in Delft, or the Pieterskerk in Leiden. There’s plenty of them to go around, and all absolutely stunning inside.

Botanical Garden(s)

Leiden and Utrecht have beautiful botanical gardens that you shouldn’t hesitate to check out. I’m not sure about the other cities (if they have them I’ve not visited them myself). If you want to escape the city for a bit, botanical gardens are the place to go.

Disclaimer: I usually only share my own pictures, but since I no longer live in the Netherlands I opted to use photos (from Unsplash) by other talented photographers! Giving credit isn’t required, but I would like to do so anyways: Amsterdam canal photo by Adrien Olichon, Amsterdam bike photo by Tabea Damm, windmill photo by  Jean Carlo Emer, bookshelves photo by Annie Sprat, church photo by Derek Story, museum photo by Nicole Baster, underground cave photo by Luis Vidal, and leaf photo by Daniel von Appen.

Best view of Edinburgh

Best view of Edinburgh

Best views of Edinburgh

My favourite walk with the best view

Best view of Edinburgh

You might have realised from the previous posts I’ve written about Arthur’s Seat that it’s one of my favourite spots in the city. I am firmly of opinion that it offers THE best view of the city. It’s a bit of a workout to get to the top, but those 30 sweaty minutes to get here are beyond worth it.

Whenever someone visits me I ALWAYS take them up Arthur’s Seat. Because you simply can’t visit Edinburg and not go up Arthur’s Seat or the Salisbury Crags. So when friends were visiting the city, I took it as a perfect excuse to take them up Arthur’s Seat (and my camera in tow).

In this post I’ll highlight some of my favourite shots during one of my walks on Arthur’s Seat and explain why they’re my favourites. I’ve also added a little gallery at the end so you can flip through the rest of the photo series.

Sea of Yellow

Once you gain a little altitute going up Arthur’s Seat, the beautiful skyline of Edinburgh starts appearing. I love this picture because it shows that first glimpse of the beauiful view that’s to come if you keep going. All that scotch broom looks like a sea of yellow framing the city, with the actual sea making an appearance just behind it.

The first thing I usually do when I get to this point is looking behind me (and taking a little breather) and you can see why. Especially on a clear day you can see so far.  

The Salisbury Crags

Right next to Arthur’s Seat you’ll find the Salisbury Crag’s. That massive piece of rock which my sister jokingly calls it the shark fin (you’ll know what she means when you see it). This walk is not as steep, nor as high up as Arthur’s Seat. The view is no less spectacular though! 

Holyrood Palace

What I like so much about the Salisbury Crags is that the incline is less steap, slowly revealing more and more of the Edinburgh. This picture was taken after about ten minutes of walking, not even halfway up. It shows off Holyrood Palace, amidst green, with the rest of the city and sea behind it. 

Can you tell that I love those yellow colours from the scotch broom? I’m pretty sure that yellow makes an appearance in almost every picture I took. 

And those were my favourite two pictures! As always, I’ve included some more pictures in the photo gallery below. Click the images if you wish to see them in a larger format. They show some more city scapes, as well as Arthur’s Seat and the Salisbury Crags itself. I hope you liked this new photo series! Do let me know your thoughts in a comment (below)! 

Photo Gallery 

Edinburgh in Bloom

Edinburgh in Bloom

Edinburgh in Full Bloom

Cherry blossom season in Edinburgh

Edinburgh in Full Bloom

When I visited Edinburgh a year ago, I was lucky enough to arrive right in the middle of cherry blossom season. Something I wasn’t aware was a thing in Edinburgh, but was a VERY welcome surprise! It will come as no surprise that ever since I moved here in August I have been anxiously awaiting the return of this pink splendour.
March came and went. April came around the corner, but still no cherry blossoms. Then, at the end of April on a very rare hot and sunny day they finally bloomed.

I live right next to The Meadows, one of my favourite parks in Edinburgh, and let it be the case that they completely transform when the cherry blossoms make their appearance. Whenever I walked past it, I did it with the biggest smile on my face. It’s just that pretty a sight. And because I love any excuse to go out and take some pictures, I decided to do a photo series of The Meadows covered in cherry blossoms.

In this post I’ll highlight some of my favourite shots and explain why they’re my favourites. I’ve also added a little gallery at the end so you can flip through the rest of the photo series.

Close up

My favourite part about walking through The Meadows in cherry blossom season is when you look up, all you see is pink. It’s the prettiest sight you can imagine!

I took plenty of close up shots, but this one on the left was one of my favourites because of the way the leaves and the branch frame the blossoms. The background is just unfocused enough to pull your attention to the center of the photo, but provides enough detail to show that there’s cherry blossoms wherever you look.

The Meadows Walkway

The next picture is from The Meadows Walkway. This is the picture I set out to make, because I walk past this point to uni and love it so much. I got up early because this walkway is usually busy with people on their way to work, walking their dog(s), or running. Even though I got there at 7.45AM, there were still plenty of people around. I had to practice my patience a bit and wait for the perfect photo oppurtunity.

A sea of pink

My patience (read: sitting around until the Meadows quieted down a bit) got rewarded with this photo. I’m pretty sure I want to frame this shot. There’s one lone person walking at the end of the walkway. Which is exactly what I was going for, because in the months I’ve lived here I’ve seen The Meadows quiet, but never empty.

I waited a week (or two) for the blossoms to start falling just to get this shot. I love how the fallen blossoms frame the path (and just ALL the blossoms in general).

That’s a wrap. These were my two favourite pictures from the MANY pictures I took. As promised, there’s a photo gallery below with some other outtakes of this photo series. I hope you liked this post! It’s a new thing I’m trying out and I’d love to hear your thoughts on it (and whether you would like more posts like this).

Photo Gallery