(Sample of a Travel Review created by a group of students on a citytravelreview work/study project to Edinburgh in March 2014)
What comes to your mind when you think about the Scottish life- style? Are bagpipes popping into your head, or whisky, golf, kilts and haggis? That is right! These are a few very important aspects of Scottish life, but Scotland has more to offer. Discover the interesting story about the unicorn, why a Scotsman has to get some IRN BRU after an evening with too much alcohol or what a fried Mars bar is. Go out and learn to dance at the ceilidh, so you can act like you are from Scotland. We’ve found the most important things you have to know and try when discovering Scottish lifestyle.
(Scottish Language. An article by Lucas Ostendorf, a project member on citytravelreview work/study programme in Edinburgh, summer 2015)
Although Scotland belongs to anglophone Great Britain and Edinburgh‘s residents might easily understand your English it does not mean that you are able to understand them. It is not only that the locals speak very fast. Their dialect differs significantly from what is normally known as English. In Edinburgh people speak a mixture between Scots and Scottish English.
The term Scots describes a Germanic language variety spoken in the Scottish Lowlands. Many words are identical to contemporary Scandinavian words. This phenomenon goes back to the Viking influence on this area in the 10th century.
The famous Scottish poet Robert Burns, well known for his Auld Lang Syne, has written a lot of his works in Scots dialect. He became celebrated in Edinburgh in the year 1784.
There are many discussions whether Scots can be considered as an own language as it is still popular and commonly spoken. Many citizens of Edinburgh use it in their everyday life. Even important world literature is often translated into Scots. Travellers be aware: you should listen carefully to what the locals say. And if you do not understand very much, do not bother: a smile on a face sometimes tells more than a thousand words.
￼￼￼￼(Introduction to Travel Review from project members on citytravelreview programme, Summer 2015, Edinburgh)
In Lothian on the southern shore of the Firth of Forth, around a majestic castle, we find the capital of Scotland. A city that uniquely embodies the history and culture of its country.
From high up Arthur‘s Seat down to Portobello beach, through the Old and New Town there is much to find, whether for people preferring urban life or admirers of nature. If you are willing to get in touch with Edinburgh‘s facets and know where to look, you will be able to find new things and perspectives. It is perfect to enrich your life regarding the own preferences as well as unfamiliar, yet exciting experiences and encounters.
Auld Reekie (“Old Smokey”) is the nickname which was given to Edinburgh because of the constantly smouldering chimneys of the factories of former times. Like Rome it was built on seven hills.
With an overwhelming number of ways to be explored, Edinburgh‘s visitors should have a notion on what to do and what to expect when entering the area. Also, they have to prepare for some of the rather ‚dreich days‘ (Scottish saying for cold and damp weather).
This guide will lead you through the contorted streets where you can discover something new behind every corner.
Not only does Edinburgh offer traditional Scottish tourist experiences like haggis, pubs and kilts. It has become a venue of different generations and cultures that benefit
from each other.
After trying all the possibilities this city has to offer in every sector, you will realize that Edinburgh Castle is surrounded by as much greatness as it has on its own.
The sheer amount of places filled with history and myths still plays an important part in today‘s vibrant youth culture. The addition of influences and flavours from all around the world are a part of the special charm of the city. This should break the last bits of any misconceptions left about a raw, completely conservative Edinburgh.
Artur Sommer, Veronique Maaß
An article written for CityTravelReview by Janina Reiter, Edinburgh project, March 2014
Don’t think you might fancy a deep-fried Mars bar? No worries, it doesn’t taste as funny as it sounds. Basically, it’s just an ordinary Mars bar fried in batter. It is said to have been invented in 1995 in a bar near Aberdeen in Northeast Scotland. Mass media commented on the new snack, so it has become more and more popular ever since. Still it is not very common among Scottish people: According to a survey, most fried Mars bars are sold to tourists. For around £2.50 you can try one yourself, for example at the Castle Rock Take Away at the Grassmarket. It is worth giving this snack a chance. Although consisting of nothing more than warmed chocolate and caramel, it still tastes great.
An article by Jasmin Seidl, a member on a CityTravelReview project, Edinburgh, Sept 2014
Unlike Hogwarts, which is only reachable by taking the Hogwarts Express from London’s King’s Cross station from platform 9 3/4, George Heriot’s School isn’t hard to find. Though it is not confirmed, it is believed that this school was used by J.K. Rowling as a model for Hogwarts. The school is an imposing stone building with turreted towers on each corner and unique carvings above every window. When looking at it the books and their story seem to come alive. Although entering is forbidden for visitors, the school is worth looking at from the street or from the Edinburgh Castle Esplanade. The school is also just two minutes away from the Elephant House Cafe where J.K. Rowling wrote part of the books.
Heriot‘s was founded in 1628 as a school for orphans and in compliance with the will of George Heriot, a goldsmith and jeweller at the court of King James VI and 1. In 1886 it became a day school for boys and in 1979 it was opened to girls.
An article by Michaela Schneider, a project member on a CityTravelReview programme, Edinburgh, Dec.2014
History-rich Edinburgh Castle is one of the symbols of the capital and dominates the Old Town on a volcanic rock. Kings were born here, prisoners imprisoned, guests assassinated and treasures stored. Visitors pass through granite stone gates, see heavy artillery and enjoy the panoramic views of the city. Entering the castle, the two statues of the freedom fighters William Wallace and King Robert the Bruce welcome visitors.
The first castle was built here in the Middle Ages, but apart from St. Margaret’s Chapel and a part of David’s Tower little has remained from this era. Not far from there Crown Square with the Royal Palace, the Great Hall and the Scottish National War Memorial represent the heart of the king’s castle. A must is the visit of the museum with the Honours of Scotland. The beautiful crown, the sceptre and the sword are the oldest crown jewels on the British Islands. The legendary Stone of Destiny has been part of the crowning ceremonies of the Kings of Scotland, England and the United Kingdom for more than 1000 years. It`s not only the Honours of Scotland itself, which makes the visit of the museum worthwhile, but also the modern and descriptive exhibition of Scottish Kings History as well. Visitors meet the figures of King Robert the Bruce or Mary Stuart, for example.
Also have a look into the royal apartments – today also a setting for official receptions. Quite impressive and a place of silence and thoughtfulness is the National War Memorial with the names of all Scottish soldiers fallen since World War I. Those, who are interested in the history of war, three military museums are well worth a visit in the castle grounds.
A look at another main attraction of the Castle: Every day except Sunday at one o`clock they fire a gun. In 19th century Edinburgh’s population set their watches on the bang and sailors compared the chronometers. But why at one o`clock and not at noon? Common people say, it’s because the Scots are thrifty people. So why fire twelve cannonballs, when one will do?
It is recommended to discover the Castle in a guided tour or with an audio guide – minimum time three to four hours.
Author`s Pick: If you love animals, take a walk to the dogs cemetery – for more than 150 years the final resting place of the regiment`s mascots and the dogs of the officers.
An article written for CityTravelReview: Edinburgh project, September 2014
The Elephant House is the café where Harry Potter was born. Not literally of course, but the remarkable author Joanne K. Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter novel in the back room. This café is charming and cosy. While sitting inside and enjoying a hot beverage you have a beautiful view to the Castle and old Greyfriars Graveyard, where Rowling borrowed some names for her magical characters. The atmosphere is mainly “Potterish”. Portraits of J.K. Rowling decorate the interior and every inch of the bathroom walls is covered by notes of Hogwarts fans. Many people come here with their notebooks or bring laptops, hoping for some creativity to take hold of them. The cafe on George IV Bridge is always busy, if you go there after 5 pm you usually have to wait to be seated. However, the staff is very friendly and polite. Sandwiches and snacks aren’t that cheap, but with an aromatic coffee for £1.85 you can’t go wrong. The Elephant House is an inspiring place for all authors to be. If you need more inspiration for a character’s name take a page out of J.K’s book and use the graveyard right across the road (you might even meet Tom Riddle there).