There is something so peaceful about taking the train—and no, I don’t mean taking the tube during rush hour (that might most accurately be described as hell on earth), I mean the joy of taking a long train journey to somewhere new. I think in this day and age of fast travel, cheap flights, small plastic bags for toiletries and popping ears, taking a train can almost like a meditative form of transport. And aside from the personal benefits of travelling by train (not having to get up at 5am for a 9:30 departure being one of them), it is so much better for our environment - a train to Edinburgh is 25.8kg of CO2 vs 134.7kg by plane according to the Trainline. So the plane to Edinburgh produces almost 5 times as much CO2 as the train. After learning that fact I would only be able to travel to Scotland by plane if it was necessary for work (because the time difference it pretty massive also - just over an hour by plane vs 5.5 hours by train), and in that case, I would have to offset my plane emissions.
When visiting anywhere Rory and I are the sort of people who spend more on accommodation than might be necessary. This is both because when we travel we like to be fancy about it, and because, we’re definitely not the sort of people who spend the entire time exploring (brunch is where our day usually starts). This extra nice accommodation turned out to be extremely necessary for this trip – I started my period and was feeling very fatigued (potentially TMI, but why are we so scared to even mention periods? A topic for another day!), and Rory was ill most of the time, so we often went back to our flat to rest during the day. Our Airbnb was absolutely stunning, and right in the Old Town which made me feel like I was in Harry Potter—I’m definitely seeing where JK Rowling got some of her inspiration from. Side note: I might be the only person alive who hasn’t actually read any Harry Potter books - despite my mum’s best effort (she bought me the first 3 books, so sure was she that I would love them…and I never even got past the first page) but I love the movies if that's any consolation. We had an amazing view from our front window onto the New Town, and the back faced out onto a gorgeous courtyard.
The weather, however, was not on our side; nonstop rain, and wind so strong you couldn’t use an umbrella. It meant that we couldn’t do too many touristy things, but that was fine with us. I think people often feel like they need to hit every tourist spot they can think of when they visit somewhere new, and that is often extremely exhausting.
The weather also meant that I wasn’t able to capture as many photos as I would have liked. Taking my Mamiya out, metering the light, focusing etc was very difficult with all the rain and wind. But it was easy to take a quick video with our phones, so if you’d like to see what we got up to (and see the gorgeous views from our airbnb) – check out my vlog below.
All photos and videos by Akua
Originally Published March 2020