travel

The Liebster Award

Hello Folks,

While search through statistics on my blog, I had noticed that a few of the views on my account came from a different blog. I decided to check out why people were coming from their blog to mine and I realized they mentioned me in a post! The lovely Lynn from Sweater Giraffe Travels nominated me for the Liebster Award, so I thought I’d continue on the post.

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The rules of the Liebster Award are as follows:
1) Thank the blogger who nominated you and link to their blog.
2) Display the award graphic on your blog.
3) Answer the eleven questions asked by the blogger who nominated you.
4) Nominate five to eleven bloggers and post eleven questions for your nominees.
5)  Publish the full post on your blog.
6) And finally, notify your nominees by posting on their blog.


Lynn’s Questions

1) What’s the best thing you’ve eaten abroad?

Ok, Madie may remember because I feel like I bring up this dish a lot. But we were at this random restaurant in China, I don’t even remember the city. We were at these massive round tables with giant lazy-susans in the middle that had a bunch of different dishes on them. This one dish was tofu cut into little squares, and they were super soft and squishy. They were kind of spicy? And I just remember thinking it was the most amazing thing I’ve ever eaten. I love tofu now (I’m a vegetarian now and I wasn’t at the time), so I feel like it was kind of my introduction to good tofu haha.

2) What’s your go-to for travel inspiration?

I love looking at fellow bloggers for travel inspiration. A few of my favourites on instagram are: @helloemilie, @gypsea_lust, @doyoutravel, @amberfillerup

3) The most interesting person you’ve met while traveling?

When I was traveling alone in Europe, I frequently ate alone. I was at the Elephant House cafe in Edinburg, Scotland eating at this sad large circular table where the wait staff were putting all the lone travellers. The man across from me looked about in his 50’s-60’s and was writing in a book with papers scattered all around him. I was eating soup and avoiding my water that had dirt flakes in it (I assumed they did this on purpose because a lot of Europe does not like serving you water) and writing in my travel journal. The man complimented my journal and the fact that I was documenting my travels in that way. We ended up talking for the rest of the meal. He was a Scottish man, living in Boston, USA and was back for the 20 year reunion of his University in Edinburgh. He was apart of a Scottish folk band in Boston and I kept thinking he looked like Uncle Monty from A Series of Unfortunate Events the movie. I learnt that he was never married and had no children. He ended up offering me dessert and at the end of the meal paid for my entire tab. Oh, and part way through he noticed my aversion to my water and when I told him shyly about the dirt flakes he looked at it and winced, and ordered “two clean waters” the next time the wait staff came. They may have looked down on a 20-year-old girl with messy hair and mismatched clothes, but they respected a posh man with grey hair and I ended up getting the clean water.

Note: Billy Connolly, the actor from Series of Unfortunate Events also moved to Boston and joined a Scottish Folk band, just saying.

4) Your favourite cheesy road trip sing-along song?

I can’t say I really have a specific “cheesy” road trip. My favourite artist to listen to on the road is Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. Some favourites of theirs are “40 Day Dream”, “Janglin”, “”Man on Fire”and “Home”. They’re just a fun band to belt out to and let yourself get lost in.

5) When you started blogging, what were your goals?

I don’t think I really had any haha. I just started blogging as a way to get my thoughts out, kind of like an online diary. I didn’t ever think anyone would read it. I just had fun putting it together and writing little posts.

6) How have those goals changed over time?

I’ve definitely written posts that are less about me and maybe things that apply more to others. A lot of my posts are still very (*cough* egotistic *cough*) much about my life, but  I have definitely branched out what I choose to write about. I guess my goals have just changed from being a diary to something people can relate to more.

7) What’s your favourite way to blog? [Videos, written, photojournal, etc.]

I’d say just written. My blog posts are normally equivalent to word vomit haha. When I’m specifically blogging about traveling I like to include photos, as a big part of traveling for me is capturing moments.

8) What’s one time you’ve gone off the beaten path?

While in Switzerland I let myself get lost a lot. Whether it was in my own town or while I was visiting others. I’d just wander through the streets, down back alleys and into the furthest corners of the city. I never really had a plan of where I was going, I’d just start walking and stop when I found something worth stopping for. I think I’ve carried over this perspective into a lot of my future travels, the idea of getting lost.

9) What’s the next place you plan on traveling to?

I think I’d really like to go to India, or maybe back pack a load in South America. Both are pretty big trips in comparison to anything I’ve done before so it would take a lot more preparation, so we’ll see!

10) What’s the first trip you remember taking?

I travelled quite a bit with my parents when I was little. The first trip I actually remember taking was to Mexico with my family when I was about 14 (?) not sure if that is the actual age.

11) Do you have any secret budget travel tips to share with the world?

Literally none at all. The reason I probably don’t travel more is how horrible I am at finances and budgeting haha. In high school all the spare change, birthday money, etc. went to travelling. I went to China and Switzerland while in highschool, which were both pretty expensive trips for a 16-year-old’s income haha. But basically, my motto is just spend all your money on traveling to the point of bankruptcy (probably not the best advice).


Nominated: I don’t know any one who may particularly like to do this, but if you want to do it, post this to your blog and say that I nominated you hah!

Love always,
Kate

New York City

Hello Folks,

So I’ve been meaning to write this blog post for a long time, but due to laziness and procrastination, I kept putting it off. With going back to school this new year, I’ve been trying really hard to cross off everything on my to-do list.

This September one of my oldest friends, who I commonly refer to as my big sissy, Martina, messaged me about a seat sale with Porter Airlines. It was a couple days after my 21st birthday and I just thought “why not”. Before I knew it, we had booked our flight for a week in New York City (which neither of us had ever been to).

Before I knew it, a month had went by and it was time for our trip!

*Disclaimer: a lot of this trip is eating and walking around

Wednesday

  • We left for New York on Wednesday, October 26th (yes this post is very late)
  • While waiting in line for security in Ottawa I warned Martina “I always getting stopped for these”, she said she does too and we laughed about it, until about 3 minutes later when the women checked my ticket and told me that I had been chosen “at random” to be searched
  • They checked Martina too because she was traveling with me, but after patting down my body, checking the bottom of my feet, going through my whole suitcase (including my underwear – thank you airport security man for fondling those) and ruining the packing job I had spent an hour doing perfectly, we were set to go
  • Of course until we got to our transfer in Toronto and instead of going to the lounge to wait for our connecting flight like all the other passengers on our flight, I was brought specially upstairs to go through security AGAIN, where they found nothing, AGAIN (*sigh*)
  • Our flight arrived in New Jersey in the evening and we spent the rest of the night just trekking to Brooklyn (where we were staying in an airbnb)

Thursday

  • We started the morning by exploring Chelsea Market, doing a bit of shopping and getting breakfast
  • We walked a lot of High Line Park, even though it was a bit chilly haha
  • We tried some People Pop’s
  • We decided to do Madame Tussaud’s and after making it to the end we were sure we missed something because it felt way too short, to which one of their employees responded “Ya a lot of people say that”… moral of the story, don’t waste your money on the Madame Tussaud’s in NYC haha
  • We stopped at Carlo’s Bakery to enjoy some (not so) deserved treats
  • We explored Times Square, ate typical tourist food (i.e. pretzels and hot dogs)
  • And lastly, we saw Chicago the musical!

Friday 

  • Friday was rainy, which kind of sucked so we did a lot of indoor activities today
  • We started our day by going to Sarah Beth’s for brunch after seeing tons of glowing reviews online
  • The place was more on the expensive side, but I can say that I hands down had the best Eggs Benedict I’ve ever had in my life
  • We then went to the Museum of Natural History
  • And then we went to the Museum of Modern Art, which ended up being one of my favourite parts of the trip
  • P.S. Most of these museums are “pay what you wish” and yes, they’ll give you dirty looks if you pay $5 for two people when the recommended price is like $15-20 each, but they’ll still let you in hahahahaha
  • We ended our night by going to Junior’s for cheesecake (after a recommendation from our friend Karen) and then headed back to Brooklyn!

Saturday

  • We hoped to spend Saturday in Central Park, but yet again it was raining so we made some last minute changes to our plans
  • We started our day with bottomless mimosas at Poco’s (after they just squeezed us in without a reservation)
  • We went to Grand Central Station
  • We ate (more) food at Magnolia’s Bakery
  • At this point I was drunk and essentially falling asleep in Grand Central Station, so we decided to head back to Brooklyn for a little siesta haha
  • After our much needed nap, we decided to go to the Guggenheim (or as the person behind us referred to it as the “Guggen-line) because it was the “free” night, I don’t think either of us were really that phased by the exhibits and decided to leave to, you probably guessed it, get more food haha
  • With an amazing recommendation from our friends Norma and Miller, we decided to check out Roberta’s (back in Brooklyn haha), we waited a while because yet again we had no reservations, but it was worth it because I truly think it was some of the best pizza I’ve ever had, and the place is super cute as well

Sunday

  • Finally some sun!
  • We started our day walking through Prospect Park, which wasn’t too far from our Airbnb
  • We went to Smorgasbord, which is like an outside food market, for lunch and ended up eating like a 5 course meal. Martina made some sacrifices only eating vegetarian food so we could split everything
  • From there we checked out Dumbo, which wasn’t at all what we thought it was going to be, but a lot of people were getting wedding photos taken there and it did have a beautiful view
  • Then we took a short(ish) walk to the Brooklyn Bridge and then walked the length of that
  • After that we took a ferry to Staten Island so we could see the Statue of Liberty (p.s. this is a nice free way of seeing the Statue of Liberty, it’s not the best view, but if you were just looking at crossing it off your NYC bucket list and didn’t want to spend a ton of money, this may be for you)
  • Since we were kind of, not really near by, we decided to do Canal Street/China town
  • After a quick google/pinterest search we ended up at a restaurant called Nom Wah Tea Parlour for dinner, and I know I’ve said this like 5 times already, but honestly the best chinese food I’ve ever had
  • We got in no problem without reservations (I’m only making note of this incase anyone may be planning their own trip)
  • After that we walked through Little Italy and a bit of SOHO before heading back to Brooklyn

Monday

  • Monday was our last day in NYC and we thankfully got some sun!
  • We started our day at the Bagel Store where I got to try the Rainbow Bagel with the funfetti cream cheese (probably a little bit too much sugar for the morning haha)
  • We did the Met
  • Walked through Central Park
  • Took (probably way too many) photos at Belvedere Castle where Martina told me to “stop holding her hand” in the photos *sigh* I was just trying to be cute
  • We went through Strawberry Fields and stopped at the “Imagine” mural
  • After being convinced by a rickshaw driver to take a tour, and thanks to Martina for being a good barterer, we did the little bike tour of Central Park
  • The driver brought us to Bethesda Fountain (or the fountain from “Friends”) and we took a jumping photo. Since we were both wearing dresses I was hesitant in the first place, but with some convincing from our driver we decided to try anyways. Martina’s dress ended up going up and she may have kind of flashed our driver, but it made for a good laugh and an even better photo haha

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  • We hit up all the classic stops in Central Park, and I actually highly recommend one of these little tours cause the drivers know so much information about the Park, and you get to find out all the weird things like the celebrities that live near by and how much they pay for rent haha
  • We ended up going to a Mac and Cheese place for dinner and while we were there we were brainstorming on what we should do for the rest of the night, I don’t know how we came upon seeing a comedy show but thats what we ended up doing
  • We went to a comedy club, which I unfortunately don’t remember the name of (re: Martina says it was called the Comedy Cellar), and got our name put on a waiting list (because yet again we didn’t make reservations haha)
  • When it was time for the show, the bouncer called people’s names out in order on the waitlist and people cheered as people made it into the show
  • Martina and I ended up being the last two people allowed off the wait list before the club was at capacity and they stopped letting people in. Talk about good luck.
  • The show ended up being hilarious, probably because most of the comedians were writers for TV shows and what not, but it was definitely one of my favourite impromptu decisions from our trip
  • From there we headed back to Brooklyn and got ready to head home the following morning

Tuesday

We returned to Ottawa

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I honestly had the best time, and although my photos are few and far between (although it seems like there’s a lot here) I spent a lot of the trip just enjoying my time with my big sissy and best friend. So long live spontaneous trips, blurry iPhone photos and eating way past full.

Love always,
Kate

Passenger & One Direction

Hello Folks,

So I mentioned a couple weeks ago I would write a blog post about the concert I went to, and surprise surprise I never did it hahaha. Since then I have actually gone to two more concerts, so I thought I’d just do a little summary instead.

One Direction, Ottawa
I went to One Direction in Ottawa at the Canadian Tire Centre at the beginning of September and it was actually so amazing! Yes I am 20 years old and enjoy 1D, sue me. I went with a friend from school and when we got there we were surprised to find out our tickets were actually ridiculously close to the front! For those of you who don’t know, the Canadian Tire Centre also doubles as a hockey arena so the rows are steep and never ending. When we were trying to locate our seats we just kept walking closer and closer to the front saying “noo way!”. Icona Pop opened for them, which truthfully I think was an awful choice. Although they sing one of my favourite songs of all time (I Love It), they were really sexual and it was just awkward to watch when you have children under 10 years old on either side of you. Once the concert started I don’t think I stopped smiling and melting over all the cute things they’d do. FYI: If you plan on seeing a One Direction concert in the future and plan to see a spectacle, don’t go. Truthfully, all they do is walk around, dance a little and sing. It’s not really a “show” with back up dancers or anything like that. I enjoyed it whole heartedly, but it’s not for everyone.

The best part of the concert by far was the little girl beside me. She was probably five years old and part way through the show I noticed that there was no way she could see over the people in front of us. There was a perfect gap between people in front of me that would allow her to see the cat walk, so I asked her if she wanted to just stand in front of me and she did. She started watching my friend and I dancing and she copied a few of our moves, it was the cutest thing ever. Me and her ended up dancing together and I was twirling her and she was singing the words perfectly to me. At one point I got on my knees so we were the same height and she was singing to me and holding my hand, she even gave me a couple hugs through out the night. She was just there with her mum who thanked me on multiple occasions for involving her daughter. I love children so much so the whole thing just melted my heart and made my night.

Another awesome thing about the concert was part way through they asked everyone if they could put away their signs because they wanted to do some filming for their upcoming music video! At the end of one of their songs they set of streamers and it was just really fun to be apart of.

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Passenger, Ottawa
Every year Ottawa holds a Folk Fest and this year it was held at Landsdowne which is actually not that far from my new apartment. One of my favourite artists Passenger was going to be there on the Sunday, but I wasn’t really interested in seeing anyone else. A day pass was $50, but when I went to purchase the ticket there was $13 in fees! I was planning on going with my best friend Madie, but once we saw the fees we decided it just wasn’t worth it since we had already bought tickets to see Passenger in Montreal like two days later. We decided to go to Landsdowne and see if we could just hear the concert from outside the gates. Once we got there we saw the ticket booths and thought that we should just check out the ticket prices to see if there was any last minute deals. Apparently it was our day because tickets were only $30 as apart of some sort of student rush deal! Neither Madie or I had our student cards on us (mine is expired anyways haha) but the lady let us get them anyways, bless her soul. So the concert started and we were surrounded by people who had no idea who Mike was, other than the singer of “Let Her Go” but it didn’t matter cause we sung our hearts out and danced ’til our feet hurt. The show was so good, and he did a new medley thing where he blends a bunch of his songs together and it was SO beautiful. My phone was dead at the time so I don’t have any photos from that night, but it was so lovely to just be in the moment so I don’t really mind.

Passenger, Montreal
On Tuesday Madie, Chase (her boyfriend) and I headed to Montreal nice and early! We spent the day relaxing around Montreal before heading to the concert about half an hour before the doors opened. Last year Madie and I waited almost 8 hours on the sidewalk outside the theatre to try and get close to the stage, it paid off and we ended up with from row centre (!!!), you can see my blog post from last year for more details, but this year we decided it wasn’t worth it as we had just seen his two days earlier and has the most amazing experience last year, plus we had a boyfriend with us this time so it just wasn’t the best idea. The theatre was so crowded and I spent most of the show being pushed around, butted by tall people, and trying to see between these two guys heads, but it still some how ended up being wonderful. The backdrop that was clearly a new addition was absolutely stunning. Last year there was just lights that switched from red to blue, and although that was wonderful, this stunning backdrop of a moon coming over some mountains just seemed to suit Mike and his performance so beautifully.

After the show Chase went back to his friends house and Madie and I waited to see if we could meet Mike again. We waited almost two hours although it went by much faster this time as it wasn’t cold and raining haha. During the concert I tried to think of what I would say this time if I got to meet him again. Last year I asked for a kiss on the cheek which basically made my whole life when he said yes. I thought about how I changed my profile picture last summer to the picture of me kissing his cheek and how my grandmother saw the photo and thought that I had got a new boyfriend. I had to explain it to her that he was actually famous and was a British musician. My grandma thought he was awfully handsome and being British herself, I think she secretly hoped I was actually dating him. When I got the chance to meet him this year, I told him that I had a favour to ask, and that last year I asked to kiss him on the cheek (to which he replied that he didn’t have cheeks this year) and that my grandma saw the photo and thought I was dating him and how I wanted to step up my game this year and get a “coupley” photo to continue the running joke with my grandma. He said he thought it was a little cruel to lie to my grandmother but continued to take the photos anyways. In one of the photos he gave a thumbs up and said “Happy One Year Anniversary” and I could feel my heart melt to goo. Oh! I also told him how she was happy that I was dating a handsome British man (this was before I told her he was famous and sadly not my boyfriend) because she’s British too, and he asked where she was from and I said Kent and he was his grandmother was from Kent too! Such an odd coincidence.

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Anyways, those are all the concerts I’ve been to lately. I absolutely love going to them, especially Passenger, who I hope to see every year as a sort of tradition. Perhaps to keep our anniversary’s going until they turn into real anniversaries 😉 hahah, a girl can dream.

Love always,
Kate

Next stop: Netherlands

Hello Folks,

The last country I had the pleasure of visiting before looping back to the UK was the Netherlands. I can’t say enough how much I enjoyed the drive from Paris to Amsterdam. Yes 9 hours was long, but with a book in my lap and Belgium and Netherlands countryside out my window, it made for a good drive. I wish I had more time for everything, but especially Amsterdam and the Netherlands. It was a last minute decision to go at all, with me booking my bus the night before and my hostel the morning of. If I can offer a piece of advice for anyone planning to visit Amsterdam, DON’T GO ON A WEEKEND. I myself am eighty at heart and not much of a party person and it ended up costing me so much more to stay in the city because it was a weekend. If I would have had more time to plan I would have visited at a different time, but unfortunately I had to loop back to England soon as my flight was a round trip, so it was a sort of “now or never” decision, and although I got completely ripped off with hostel prices, it was still completely worth it.

Cities Visited
1. Amsterdam

Highlights
1. The Anne Frank Museum
2. Having Emilee (a girl I met in Paris) to explore with
3. Seeing Alan Rickman in a museum
4. Constantly having something beautiful to look at (including the people – what’s in the water here?!)

Downsides
1. It rained morning to night my last day in the city
2. My hostel cost me a fortune

Favourite Shots


Canal and buildings (Amsterdam, Netherlands)

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Cute shop (Amsterdam, Netherlands)


Dusk (Amsterdam, Netherlands)


Rijksmuseum (Amsterdam, Netherlands)

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Unedited canal (Amsterdam, Netherlands)

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Alan Rickman ? (Amsterdam, Netherlands)

Love always,
Kate

Next Stop: France

Hello Folks,

After just under a week in Dublin visiting Emma and being a tourist, I headed to the Dublin airport on route to Lyon! Once at the Lyon airport, after a tram ride, multiple train change overs and walking around aimlessly for hours, I finally made it to the hostel. The staff was super friendly, but the hostel itself was inside a parking garage and had no sort of security system. The bedrooms had no locking system as well, so essentially anyone off the street could walk into the hostel and more importantly into our rooms where we sleep, but that’s just a minor detail I wanted to rant about. The city itself was colourful and lively, while maintaining a low-key type of feeling. I think this was because it didn’t have the same hustle and bustle as all the other tourist-type cities I’d been visiting. I spent only a couple of nights in Lyon before heading to Paris. I stayed in Paris for just under a week (are you noticing a pattern?), but I wish it could have been more. The city was absolutely beautiful and there was so much to do but alas, at the end of the week I had to pack up my bag and move on to the next country: the Netherlands.

Cities Visited
1. Lyon
2. Paris

Highlights
1. The relaxing atmosphere in Lyon
2. Seeing the Eiffel tower sparkle
3. The nice weather – for once!
4. Seeing the Love Lock Bridge before it was removed
5. The tubes and easy navigation in Paris

Downsides
1. My hostel in Lyon was in a parking garage with no security what-so-ever
2. The smell of urine in various parts of Paris

Favourite Shots

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Colourful little cacti (Lyon, France)


 
Little cacti (Lyon, France)


Flowers for sale (Lyon, France)

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Panorama of the canal (Lyon, France)


Sacre-Coeur (Paris, France) 

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The horrendous hanging tennis ball (Paris, France) 

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Park beside Shakespeare and Company (Paris, France)

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Obstructed view (Paris, France)

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Panorama of The Louvre (Paris, France)

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View from the top (Paris, France) 

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Unedited view from The Arch De Triomphe (Paris, France)

Love always,
Kate

Next Stop: Ireland

Hello Folks,

After an early wake up and a quick packing of my bag, I headed to the Edinburgh airport on route to Dublin! A short flight later I found myself waiting for my shuttle bus outside the Dublin airport. I made my way to my friend Emma’s house and settled in until she came home from work. Emma is from Alberta and we’ve been visiting each other various summers for years now. Last summer she visited me in Ottawa and came to Osheaga with my sister and I in Montreal. Recently she had relocated to Dublin, and I couldn’t think of a better opportunity to get my summer visit in! I ended up spending just under a week in Dublin before heading to Lyon.

Cities Visited
1. Dublin
2. Galway

Highlights
1. The Cliffs of Moher
2. Seeing my lovely friend Emma
3. The accents (voted most attractive in the world I may add)
4. Finding out I had a day more than I thought!
5. The picturesque views

Downsides
1. The temperamental weather

Favourite Shots


Myself at the Cliffs of Moher (Ireland) 


Cliffs of Moher (Ireland)


Cliffs of Moher (Ireland)


Cliffs of Moher (Ireland)


Street Performer (Dublin, Ireland)


Park (Dublin, Ireland)


Street Gallery (Dublin, Ireland)

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Temple Bar (Dublin, Ireland) 

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Costumed Men (Dublin, Ireland)

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Street Performer (Dublin, Ireland)

Love always,
Kate

Next Stop: Scotland

Hello Folks,

After leaving Syd in Leicester, I caught a train to Edinburgh! I spent four nights there, which in hindsight ended up being a tad bit too long and I wish I would have explored more of Scotland. I had heard such good things about Edinburgh and how much there was to see so I wanted to make sure I had enough time for everything. Not to mention re-packing a backpack every day or two is a huge pain in the butt and I’m clearly much too lazy for that haha.

Cities Visited
1. Edinburgh

Highlights
1. Climbing Arthur’s Seat
2. Ice cream from Mary’s Milk Bar
3. My hostel (https://kickasshostels.co.uk)
4. The free walking tour of the city
5. All the cute little independent shops
6. Beautiful museums

Downsides
1. Spent too much time in one place
2. Some bitchy waitress at The Elephant House gave me dirty water

Favourite Shots


First night (Edinburgh, Scotland)


Bagpipes (Edinburgh, Scotland) 


Museum of Scotland (Edinburgh, Scotland)


Arthur’s Seat (Edinburgh, Scotland)


Mary’s Milk Bar (Edinburgh, Scotland)


Lovely view (Edinburgh, Scotland) 

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Castle and shops (Edinburgh, Scotland)

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Panorama of Arthur’s Seat #1 (Edinburgh, Scotland)

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Panorama of Arthur’s Seat #2 ft. Arthur (Edinburgh, Scotland) 

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Panorama of Arthur’s Seat #3 (Edinburgh, Scotland)

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The Elephant House (Edinburgh, Scotland)

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Proof of my dirty water haha (Edinburgh, Scotland)

Love always,
Kate