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| Public Profile |
|Name:||Mark Southgate |
|City: ||Edinburgh |
|Region/State: ||Scotland - Lothian, Borders and Edinburgh |
|Postal Code (ZIP): ||EH3 5HT |
|Country: ||United Kingdom |
|Date of Birth:||27.1.0||Gender: ||Male |
|Travels and interests|
|Languages spoken: ||English, trying to learn French (not much success yet!)|
|Hobbies, Interests: ||I enjoy being in the great outdoors - hill walking, sea kayaking, snowshoeing, etc and would also love to travel more. Good sense of humour. Politically centre/left of centre (certainly not right wing anyway!)and enjoy a good discussion. Enjoy meeting
people from other countries and learning more about them and where they are from. |
|Organizations I am a member of: ||Couchsurfing.com ; Adventurers (walking, hiking, and other outdoor stuff - join us if you are in Edinburgh area!)
http://www.OutdoorsEdinburgh.com ; Slow Food. WWOOF. John Muir Trust. HelpX.net (Help Exchange, like WWOOF) |
|Travel experience: ||Southern Africa, Western Europe. is all :( |
|Planned trips, where & when (you can also post your plans in the Forum): ||Hope to visit Italy, Spain, France, Poland (Krakow & Tatras), Latvia, Estonia,Finland, Lithuania, Slovenia, Moldova, Antartica (yes really!) and many more...when time and money allows......and if kind people will host me....hmmmmmm :)|
|Anything else about myself: ||Quite fond of cheese.|
|Help and advice|
|I can offer:||Accommodation:yes ||show around town - have someone over for dinner - other:meet for coffee/ beer/ wine|
|Best times for me to help someone:||Anytime.|
|Nearby public transport: ||1 minutes walk to local bus stops, 30 minutes walk from main Edinburgh coach (bus) station and rail station (Edinburgh, Waverley) or short bus ride. |
|Nearby bigger cities, distance: |
|Interesting things to see and do where I live, my tips (please also add this to the||Welcome to Edinburgh!
For couchsurfing events/meetings, parties, etc in Edinburgh see the CS Edinburgh group: couchsurfing.com/group.html?gid=1251
More events in Edinburgh and Scotland:
November / December 2008 events in Edinburgh:
St Andrews Day: www.scotland.org/standrewsday/around-scotland/edinburgh.html
+ FREE entry to Edinburgh Castle on 29 and 30 November.
Winter Festival: www.edinburghschristmas.com/events
Ice-skating below Edinburgh castle, hot mulled wine, Ferris wheel, German Xmas market and more...
4 days and nights of events, including the New Years Eve (December 31st) street party (tickets are £10) - bands playing live include the wonderful Glasvegas and the fantastic Peatbog Faeries.
Tickets are best bought in advance.
Also recommended is the torchlit procession on December 29th (Free to watch, small fee [which goes to charity] for a torch): www.edinburghshogmanay.org/whats-on/torchlight-procession
What's On in Edinburgh Listings:
Want to see what else is on in Edinburgh? Try the List magazine (you
can search/browse events listings online for free):
Food Glorious Food!
Places to eat: Good cafes and restaurants in Edinburgh:
A good street for something to eat is West Nicolson street - at the Pear Tree Pub end there is the Mosque Kitchen (£5 for a large portion of vegetarian or meat curries: lunchtimes only) and at the opposite end is the excellent Bonsai (Japanese) and Sadivino (Italian cafe: lunch only).
In Tollcross there is Mezbaan (South Indian food) which recently got a rave review in the Independent:
www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/reviews/korma-blimey-mezbaan-tollcross-edinburgh-897330.html Inspired by this review I recently ordered a takeaway and can confirm that the food is excellent, particularly the vegetarian South Indian specialities. Try the idli (steamed rice cakes) and the Masala Dosa - yum! For those who eat meat the Gosht Khaas Bemisal Chaman is quite a mouthful to pronounce but a tasty mouthful to eat. :-) www.mezbaan.co.uk
Also recommended is Kampong Ah Lee (Malaysian) on South Clerk Street.
Tasty Kurdish food (kebabs!) can be found at Hanam's who have recently moved from Tollcross to a bigger place on Johnston Terrace near the Castle:
Great vegetarian restaurant in Edinburgh? Try David Banns, St Marys Street, Old Town: www.davidbann.co.uk/images/food.pdf ; good
seafood restaurant in Edinburgh: try Fishers in the City, Thistle Street,New Town;
Other good restaurants: Barioja Tapas bar on Jeffrey Street
(next to Iggs): www.restaurant-guide.com/barioja-tapas-bar.htm
; Urban Angel on Hanover Street (organic, local, fairtrade); Martin
Wishart, Leith (2 Michelin star so ££££££££ but lunch is good value):
http://www.martin-wishart.co.uk/main.html ; 'Chop Chop' excellent
Chinese restaurant on Morrison Street; La Garrigue, (French) 31
Jeffrey Street: www.lagarrigue.co.uk/ ; Bella Mbriana, bottom
of Broughton Street, Bonsai (Japanese/Sushi) West Richmond Street, The Dogs, Hanover Street (new bistro with bargain prices
for Edinburgh, try the wild mushroom and pearl barley risotto -
yum!). More good Edinburgh restaurant, cafe, food shop and coffee bar
BURP! Oops, pardon me!
Some good cafes and coffee shops in Edinburgh:
Top 3: Sadivino ; Peter's Yard ; Spoon
(more on all these below)
Elephant House (self-proclaimed 'birthplace of Harry Potter', food is average (and a bit pricey for what it is) but you go for a nice view of the
castle from the tables at the back; Herbies on Circus Place Stockbridge (great food); Starbucks on
Princes Street has average coffee but great views of the Castle (it's
up the stairs next to the herbal remedies place!); Urban Angel (great
place for breakfast/brunch/snack or just a coffee):
www.urban-angel.co.uk/www/menus/ ; Sprio, St Stephens Street,
Stockbridge - new place run by people from Milan so you know you will
get a decent cup of coffee (which is not easy to do in Edinburgh!);
Spoon (Blackfriars Street off the Royal Mile) and the nearby Scottish
Storytelling Centre Cafe which is run by the same people as Spoon
(both only open during the day). Fruitmarket Gallery Cafe (Market
Street, next to Waverley Station) also has a decent cafe with great
coffee (Green Mountain) and good cakes as does the cafe in the
National Portrait Gallery on Queen Street - interesting building and
good for afternoon tea and scones.
Cheap and cheerful:
Monster Mash on Forrest road (opposite Sandy Bells
the folk pub) does bangers (sausages) and mash, steak pie, fish and
chips and McSweens Haggis - not much for vegetarians though unless you
go for the vegetarian haggis! Not tried Monster Mash myself but have
heard that their sausages (from Crombies) and mash are the thing to go
for and avoid the puddings (mostly stuff from tins, apparently!) and
it's one of the cheaper evening opening restuarants/cafes in the city
centre. Suzie's Diner (vegetarian) on West Nicolson Street is another budget option as is Bonsai at the opposite end of the same street. Bonsai 'Japanese Bar Bistro' has a £4.95 lunch special or order a la carte - the ika geso (battered squid with lemon and sea salt) and the agenazu (aubergine with a hot chilli miso dressing) are both highly recommended as is the spicy tuna temaki-zushi and the prawn tempura. Yum!
For a budget eat-in meal during the day I would go for Spoon, Bonsai or Kalpna (indian vegetarian restaurant) or the wonderful Sadivino on
West Richmond Street (Italian/Spanish). Falko bakery (see below) has 2 tables, so you might be lucky, otherwise just buy a slice of cake and come back to the flat to enjoy it :-) (5 minutes walk).
Live music pubs and bars:
Some good night time places (pubs with live music):
Jazz Bar on Chambers Street (live music every night and weekend
afternoons): www.thejazzbar.co.uk/Gallery.php ; Hendersons Wine Bar on
Hanover Street (free live music every night, vegetarian food):
www.hendersonsofedinburgh.co.uk/winelist.html ; Antiquary Pub
on St Stephen Street, Stockbridge (informal folk music session every
Thursday night 9pm until midnightish):
Live music in Edinburgh? See the Edinburgh gig guide at:
www.gigguide.co.uk/edinburgh.htm (and see also recommended places
above: eg: Jazz bar; Hendersons; Antiquary; etc). Other good venues:
Cabaret Voltaire; Liquid Rooms; The Caves (all have websites).
Other Pubs and Bars:
Other good pubs and bars: 99 Hanover Street (that's the address and
the name - it's opposite Hendersons Wine bar); Bramble (Queen Street);
Blue Blazer (Tollcross); Cloisters (Tollcross); Guildford Arms and
Cafe Royal (next to each other on West Register Street, which is
behind Bugger King at the Waverley Station end of Princes Street);
Stockbridge Tap; Hector's and Avoca (all near me in
"More than 70 new small brewers have opened in the past year, according to 2009 Camra Good Beer Guide. Such is the proliferation that the UK now has 550 breweries – more than at any point since 1945". That is great - so support them - please DON'T order that crap chemical swill produced by massive corporations. Yuck. Try a local beer from a small brewery, it's an adventure it's fun and it will taste nicer. Some good Scottish breweries: Orkney Brewery (Try Northern Light); Black Isle Brewery (based near Inverness, organic beer, they sell at Edinburgh Farmers Market, try Yellowhammer or Red Kite); Cairngorm Brewery (try Trade Winds); William Brothers, Alloa (try Grozner or Fraoch); Harviestoun (try Bitter and Twisted or Schiehallion); Isle of Skye Brewery (try Red Cuillin); The Highland Brewing Company (from Orkney despite the name - try Scapa Special - Champion Beer of Scotland 2008!) and last but not least, Edinburgh's own Stewart Brewery (try Edinburgh Gold) - there are many more good Scottish breweries and some great English ones too. Bottled beers from most of these breweries can be purchased in Edinburgh - try Peckhams (Bruntsfield or Stockbridge); Oddbins; Cornelius Beer & Wine on Easter Road or Peter Green in Marchmont.
To try the cask versions visit a pub! Cloisters or Blue Blazer in Tollcross; Bow Bar on Victoria Street; Cumberland Bar in the New Town; Halfway House (Fleshmarket Close, Old Town near Waverley Station) or the Guildford Arms; The Stockbridge Tap (amongst others)....
If you are really keen try the Real Ale Trail: www.scotlandsrealaletrail.com/
Hic! Burp! Ooops, sorry pardon me!
Shopping in Edinburgh:
(mostly food shops coz that's the only kind of shopping I like)
Some good Edinburgh shops and delis (I like to support small local
shops rather than the supermarkets where possible):
Herbies Deli, Raeburn Place, Stockbridge:
www.herbieofedinburgh.co.uk/ (best brie in Edinburgh, plus fab
pesto, cold roast beef, bread etc); 'One World' Fairtrade shop St
Johns Church, West End of Princes Street:
www.oneworldshop.co.uk/ ; Mad Jacks [handmade crafts and gifts]
on Elm Row (top of Leith Walk); Valvonna & Crolla Deli also on Elm
Row: www.valvonacrolla.co.uk/ ; Edinburgh Farmers Market (every
Saturday morning; Castle Terrace):
www.edinburghcc.com/farm_market.htm ; Real Food on Broughton
Street, Broughton and Brougham Street, Tollcross: www.nurseryandschoolguide.co.uk/id77.html ; Ian Mellis
cheese shops (Stockbridge, Morningside and Victoria Street, Old Town); Demijohn
(wonderful olive oils, vinegars and much more) Victoria Street; Stoats porridge vans
(Meadows; St James, Farmers Market, or @ Juice Almighty on Castle
Street): www.stoatsporridgebars.co.uk/ [try the Belgian white
chocolate and roasted hazelnut porridge - yum!] Falko Konditormeister
baker - 7 Bruntsfield Place, Marchmont (great bread and amazing cakes!):
www.FoodwithLust.com/ ; Peter's Yard: Middle Meadow Walk (great pastries, cakes [try the parsnip cake - much yummier than it sounds!), bread and their own homemade Swedish Ice-cream: www.petersyard.com/img/32/petersyard_sundayheraldreview.jpg ; Eddies Seafood Market in
Marchmont/Bruntsfield (Edinburghs best fishmonger); The greengrocers (fruit and veg shops) on Argyle Place in Bruntsfield (there are 2 or 3 of them); The Manna House, on Easter Road (excellent local baker, great bread):
www.manna-house-edinburgh.co.uk/ Earthy - new local food market on Ratcliffe Terrace: www.earthy.co.uk; Clarkes on Bruntsfield Place (excellent cheeses, fruit and veg direct from Paris, good bread, unsalted butter, free-range eggs,), Peter Green, Warrender Park Road, Marchmont - good selection of wines and beer.
Favourite places in Edinburgh:
Arthurs Seat (watch the sunset/sunrise or just go for the view on a clear day) head to the Sheeps Heid (oldest pub in Edinburgh) for a post walk pint.
Water of Leith walk: www.waterofleith.org.uk/river/river.shtm
(One of the best bits is near the centre: Stockbridge colonies to Dean Village and the gallery of modern art)
Royal Botanical Gardens:
http://www.rbge.org.uk/rbge/web/visiting/ebg.jsp (Why not buy some food and wine in Herbies or Peckhams and go for a picnic in the gardens - watch out for the cheeky wee squirrels!) [Lothian bus #23 will take you from almost outside my flat to the entrance of the gardens]
Stockbridge - 10 mins walk downhill from Princes Street near the Botanic Gardens - a 'village' in the city with riverside walks and some of the best cafes (Herbies, Maxies, Red Tea) delis (Herbies, The Store, Ian Mellis cheesemonger) and pubs in Edinburgh (Hectors, Avoca, Antiquary, Cozi) (+lots of other good small, independent shops, Oxfam (2nd hand) book and music shops, wine shops and a 24 hour co-op). With the little river and the Botanical gardens nearby it's a good place just to wander around: some great photos (not mine!) of Stockbridge here:
Edinburgh Farmers Market:
Castle Terrace, Saturdays from 8:30 am to 2pm ish.
(The earlier you go the better the choice!)
River Almond walk and Cramond village.
Hermitage of Braid.
Spiegel Garden (Bristo Square, from 27 July to 31 Aug 08) and Spiegeltent (at the Book Festival; Charlotte Square, bar and free live music every night)
during the August festivals.
Some ideas for things to do in and around Edinburgh:
> Spend a sunny afternoon walking around the Botanic Gardens, take a picnic lunch - and some peanuts to feed the friendly squirrels. :)
> Walk up Arthurs Seat, Salisbury Crags, Calton Hill or Blackford Hill to watch the sunset or sunrise.
> Spend a rainy afternoon exploring the National Museum of Scotland (it's free) If the sun comes out you get great views of Edinburgh from the roof terrace.
> Go for a few beers and see some live jazz at the Jazz Bar (Chambers Street).
> Go for afternoon tea and cakes (yum!) at the National Portrait Gallery cafe (Queen Street).
> Go for lunch at Sadivino or Spoon. (yum! yum!)
> Walk the water of Leith footpath from Stockbridge to the Gallery of Modern Art where you can enjoy tea and cake or wine, cheese and oatcakes in their tearoom/cafe with sunny garden.
> Take a 25 minute bus ride out to the Pentland Hills on Mcewans bus 100/101/102 (from St Andrew Square bus station or from the bus stop round the corner from my flat, £1.45 return), walk the hills and valleys and then enjoy a pint of local beer and some chips in the Flotterstone Inn. Burp!
> Take the train out to North Berwick (30 minutes from Edinburgh, £5.30 day return) for walks along the coast to Tantallon Castle and Seacliff Beach.
> Take the badger bus (First Bus 124 or X5 from St. Andrew Square) out to Aberlady or Gullane for walks along the sandy beaches with views across the sea to Edinburgh, to Dirleton Castle and gardens and Aberlady Bay Nature Reserve followed by lunch or afternoon coffee and cakes in the fantastic Falko bakery/coffee shop in Gullane (or their gorgeous homemade ice-cream in summer!) Yum! (closed on Mondays).
> Take the bus to Roslin (Lothian Bus #15, 40 mins, £1.10 each way) for the chapel, a ruined castle and woodland walks along the River Esk.
>A wander around the Edinburgh Farmers Market on a Saturday and then back to the flat for lunch in the garden with fresh local bread, cheeses, strawberries or whatever else looks good in the market.
> Take the bus or train to South Queensferry and then the 'Maid of the Forth' boat out to Inchcolm Island with it's 12th century abbey.
If you are driving there don't forget to stop at the wonderful Craigies farm shop, deli and cafe on the way back for a bite to eat and to stock up on tasty local
produce - including Scottish soft fruit in summer (strawberries,
raspberries, etc). www.craigies.co.uk/delicafe.htm
By the way, if you are going across to Glasgow for a day trip (or longer) check out Calista's fabulous list of great cafes in Glasgow:
Thanks Calista! That is great!
Some ideas if you want to do something different in Edinburgh:
Discover the secret underground badger vaults of Edinburgh:
< www.mercattours.com/the-vaults-tour.asp >
Explore Mary Kings Close:
< www.realmarykingsclose.com/experience.htm >
< en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_King\'s_Close >
(Expensive though at almost Â£10!)
or take a trip down into the spooky South Bridge vaults:
< www.mercattours.com/scheduled-tours.asp >
Go on a ghost walk (Murder & Mystery Tour):
Stay in a real Scottish Highlands Castle for only Â£16 per night:
http://carbisdale.org/ (SYHA hostel)
Free Walking Tours of Edinburgh:
There is also a 'Free' guided walking tour of Edinburgh which leaves
everyday at 11am from in front of the Starbucks by the Tron Kirk on
the High Street (they ask for tips at the end, as it's aimed at budget
backpackers around £2 or £3 seems the average although you can give
more or less) - more info at: www.newedinburghtours.com
They do a pub crawl too but it's £10, I might give you a free one for
the price of a pint or 2 if you ask nicely ;) hint hint - or you could
post a message in the CS Edinburgh group and see who is up for some
Favourite outdoors places near Edinburgh:
Pentlands (30 mins bus ride); East Neuk fishing villages, Fife; Sea
Cliff beach and Tantallon castle near North Berwick (which is a 30
minute train ride from Edinburgh); Roslin Glen (30 mins by bus or 20
minute drive, woodlands, river gorge, ruined castle and some kind of a
chapel or something). Speaking of which, Rosslyn Chapel is a 40 minute
bus ride from Edinburgh on the number 15 bus from St Andrews Square -
there is one every half hour during the day. More info here:
Favourite outdoors places in Scotland:
Glen Nevis valley
Isle of Mull
Cuillins and Quirang / Trotternish (both on the Isle of Skye)
Isle of Arran (north part around Lochranza)
Favourite mountains and hills in Scotland:
Bidean nam Bian. (munro) via the Lost Valley of Glencoe.
The Cobbler (Ben Arthur):
Ladhar Bheinn. (Knoydart)
Buachaille Etive Mor (Glencoe).
Tarmachan Ridge (Near Killin).
Stac Pollaidh: (Inverpolly, north of Ullapool)
Ben An (wee hill in the Trossachs with great views!)
Favourite places in England:
(that neighbouring country)
Lake District (Cumbria)
York (the city of)
Cornwall. (especially St Ives and Porthcurno beach)
Isles of Scilly.
Note/tip: When in Scotland never refer to Scotland as 'England' - it upsets the locals! :)
The famous Scottish weather:
Current Weather forecast for Edinburgh (for today and the next 5
days): < www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/uk/dg/edinburgh_forecast_weather.html
And yes sometimes it is even warm and sunny in Scotland! :)
Warm and sunny!? Yes indeedy...quick find yourself a beer garden or other outside drinking space, try these: The Hub (near the Castle) or Castle Arms across the road (outside space at the back overlooking Victoria Street); Pear Tree (near Edinburgh uni); Dalriada (pub by the beach at Portobello, live folk music at weekends); Cumberland Bar (New Town, good beer and a beer garden with a willow tree); Pleasance courtyard and Spiegelgarden (during August festival only).
Coming to Edinburgh for the famous festival/s? Check out the Edinburgh
fringe festival shows, book tickets (and read the reviews when it
starts) at: www.edfringe.com/ There is also a Book Festival (great!);
Jazz and Blues Festival; Art Festival; the International Festival; Edge Festival (music); Mela and
Politics Festival (all in August, except Jazz and Blues which is end
of July). Also Edinburgh Science Festival (April) Film Festival (June)
and 'Winter Festival' - 27 to 31 December, especially Hogmanay (New Years Eve).
August Festivals: dates for 2009:
#Edinburgh International Jazz & Blues Festival
# Edinburgh Military Tattoo
# Edinburgh Festival Fringe - 7th August - 31st August
2009 (previews: 5th & 6th of August.)
# Edinburgh International Book Festival
# Edinburgh International Festival
# Edinburgh Festival Fireworks (45 minute display to music) - Sunday 31 August 2008 at 9.00pm
Other annual Edinburgh events: -
Historic Scotland free weekend: (late April) free entry to all
Historic Scotland properties (Edinburgh Castle, Stirling Castle and
Beltane Fire Festival: (30th April) -
St Andrews Day: (Nov 30) Another chance to get free entry to Edinburgh
Castle and Holyrood Palace plus usually a free ceilidh on Royal Mile
or in Princes Street Gardens. Woohoo!
And of course check out the fantabulous Couchsurfing Edinburgh group
http://www.couchsurfing.com/group.html?gid=1251 to see if there are
any fun and friendly CS meetings, parties, pub nights, ceilidhs, or
other events going on during your stay in Edinburgh! Great!
Recommended walks in and near Edinburgh:
Water of Leith riverside walk; Arthurs Seat (great views); River
Almond from Cramond (and Cramond Island if the tide is out!);
Blackford Hill and Hermitage of Braid; Pentlands Hills (30/40 mins by
bus from city centre); Roslin Glen (40 mins by bus from city centre);
North Berwick coastal walk to Tantallon Castle and Sea Cliff Beach (30
minutes train ride to North Berwick, trains every hour from Waverley).
Voted by readers as their 'Favourite UK City' every single year for
the past eight years in the annual 'Guardian, Observer and Guardian
Unlimited Travel Awards', when you visit the beautiful Scottish
capital (that's Edinburgh!) you get 2 cities for the price of 1: The
medieval Old Town and the Georgian New Town, (both UNESCO World
Heritage sites) and each with very different architecture. The best
way to explore them is on foot......
City centre walks in Edinburgh: take a self guided walk around the Old
Town; New Town or Royal Mile by printing out these pages:
Edinburgh New Town: www.edinburgh-tattoo.co.uk/edinburgh/newtown.html
Edinburgh Old Town: www.edinburgh-tattoo.co.uk/edinburgh/oldtown.html
Edinburgh Royal Mile: www.edinburgh-tattoo.co.uk/edinburgh/royalmile.html
Guardian Edinburgh Travel Guide:
Travel Awards: www.guardian.co.uk/travel/2007/nov/04/escape?page=all
More ideas and tips for walks in and near Edinburgh:
Walking too slow for you? Hire some wheels! (2 not 4, it's more green)
Peter is the bike hire guy with great advice on where to go and what
to see: www.cyclescotland.co.uk/1rentals.htm
Remember you can usually take a bike on the train so go forth and explore!
Had enough walking and cycling? Get on the water - no not swimming (brrrrrrrrrr!) - take a boat trip: get the train or bus to South Queensferry (15 mins
from Edinburgh) and take a trip out to Inchcolm Island to see the abbey. Great views of the Forth rail bridge; Pentland Hills and
towards Edinburgh. www.maidoftheforth.co.uk
Here is a recent article/ guide to Edinburgh with some tips and info:
Want to see some great photos of Scotland? Try the Flickr Scotland
photo blog: flickr-scotland.blogspot.com/
Some more good tips on best places to go in Scotland, (most of which I
agree with): photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=00CwBv
Not just Haggis: Some good Scottish food & drink to
Langoustines, diver caught West Coast scallops, raspberries, shortbread (homemade or 'Shortbread House
of Edinburgh' brand, available from Jenners on Princes Street),
Hebridean lamb, Highland beef, single malt whisky (Highland Park and
Talisker are good), Fraoch Heather Ale, (apparently it's "probably the
oldest style of ale still produced in the world"), Lanark Blue cheese,
Stovies, Heather honey, Porridge (Oats/Oatmeal) Breakfast of
Champions!, Cairn O' Mhor Scottish fruit wines and Orkney fruit wines,
Cullen Skink (a tasty fish soup made from smoked haddock and potatoes)
Other good Scottish experiences/ things to try:
Go to a Ceilidh (pronounced Caylee): www.couchsurfing.com/meetings.html?mid=7560
(a social event, typically with Scottish music and dancing - great fun!)
Go wild camping in the Highlands & Islands:
Stay in a bothy (it's free): www.mountainbothies.org.uk/
Go to a folk music session in the pub (In Edinburgh try Antiquary, St
Stephen Street on a Thursday or Royal Oak and Sandy Bells most nights)
Go to one of the smaller (less commercial) music festivals in
Scotland: (Wickerman, Connect, Outsider, Hebridean Celtic Festival,
Isle of Rum Festival, Isle of Skye festival).
Go and see Fingals Cave on Staffa and walk amongst the puffins on
Lunga in June/July: www.turusmara.com/puffins.html
Go to a remote Scottish island (Rum) and stay in a castle (hostel) or
for free in a remote beautiful bothy on a beach:
Or go to another remote Scottish island (Harris) for the beautiful
white sand beaches and craggy hills:
Visit Skara Brae on Orkney: < en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skara_Brae >
Things to avoid in Scotland:
Deep fried Mars bars: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep-fried_Mars_bar
(yuck) or deep fried pizzas (double yuck!); Neds; Tennents lager; The
Daily Mail; tartan tat; people with excessive flatulence; midges.
Some other useful links:
Visit Scotland: (official tourist board smurf site): www.visitscotland.com/
Adventure Scotland: Outdoor fun ( Adventure sports in Scotland ):
Scotrail (trains): www.firstgroup.com/scotrail/index.php
Citylink (coach/bus): www.citylink.co.uk/
Megabus/Megatrain (cheap bus / train, from Â£1): www.megabus.com/uk/
Caledonian MacBrayne: (ferries) www.calmac.co.uk/
If you are travelling around Scotland there is a Citylink Explorer
(coach) Pass which also gives you 50% off Caledonian MacBrayne ferry
tickets and free SYHA membership.
Scotrail (trains) also does a Travelpass and Rover tickets:
For tips on finding cheap train tickets see:
If you are leaving/arriving via Glasgow Prestwick Airport then Scotrail offer 50% off travel to Glasgow Prestwick airport from any station in Scotland. Presenting your flight documents at the station desk will entitle you to 50% off. This offer is not available online. Just be careful with booking early morning or late evening flights as the bus and train service can finish before the last flights arrive!
Highland and Island Hostels:
(as there are not so many couchsurfing hosts in the Highlands
Independent hostels: www.hostel-scotland.co.uk/
SYHA hostels: www.syha.org.uk/SYHA/web/site/home/home.asp
Hmmmmmmmmmmm, what else, insert random words here: plop, bunny,
silverfish, eeyore, ineptitude, bounce, skippy, fart.
Aah yes, the famous haggis: The wild haggis (Latin name Haggis Scotia)
is a small furry creature, with the unique adaptation to mountain life
of having shorter legs on one side of its body than the other. This
enables it to run around mountains whilst neither descending or
ascending. Of course, it can only do this in one direction. Whilst
this is enough to escape from most natural predators, human hunters
soon learned to simply run around the mountain in the opposite
Also, both ends of the haggis look identical, which makes it
impossible for a predator to know which way the haggis is going to
start to run. Unfortunately, whilst this confuses the predator, it
sometimes confuses the haggis and they have been known to sit on their
own faces and suffocate themselves. Mind you, if your face looked like
your arse, ... :)
Still reading this bumph? Blimey, you win the special 'bronze badger'
award for stamina! You must be really bored today to plought through
all this malarkey!
So, as you have probably had enough reading by now; then if you are
wired for sound here's a free Edinburgh Guide audio podcast for your
ipod /mp3 player of choice - from Visit Scotland:
Sorry some of the links are not 'clickable' (is that a word?) Anyway,
just cut and paste them if you want.
Need more info on any of the above? Google is your friend. :) (or just
ask me) Wikipedia Edinburgh page has some good info on the city too,
check it out:
< en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edinburgh >
Breakfast of Champions!
All about Porridge:
Learn the lingo:
Scottish Words Illustrated:
Always wash your hands after chopping chillies!
Never pee on an electric fence!
Banging two pistachio nut shells together gives the impression that a very small horse is approaching.
Save money at Christmas by returning last year's cards to the sender with the simple inscription "Same to you".
Kiedy nas odwiedzisz?
Remember you're a womble.
Why do bunnny rabbits have floppy ears?
P.S. I am not a Scottish, so if you are expecting me to greet you in a
Scottish accent wearing a kilt and offer you haggis for supper - you
will be dissapointed. :) Oche aye!
Hey! Coughsurfing was featured in a recent article in the Observer (UK
national Sunday newspaper) Check it:
"Pay for our holidays? You have to be joking!"
"From couchsurfing to house-sitting, bagging a cheap trip has never
been easier. "
Free wifi in Edinburgh - a useful list of pubs and cafes in Edinburgh with free wi-fi (great if you have a laptop with you when you travel):
We want more, We want more.....
For loads more Edinburgh info check out the wikiTravel Edinburgh guide here: wikitravel.org/en/Edinburgh
P.P.S. I lied. I don't speak a word of Yupik. Sorry.|
|I live with:||alone|
|Sleeping place I can offer:||space on the floor - mattress - sofa - bed - separate room - other:spare room|
|Please bring: ||camping mattress - sleeping bag|
|Maximum number of guests: ||4||Maximum length of stay: ||3 nights|
|Notification - visitors: ||should notify 1 days in advance, must notify 0 days in advance, can call on arrival and are asked to call between and .|
|Gender of guest:||doesn't matter||Smoking: ||outside only|
|Requirements and Restrictions:||no drugs - pay for phone calls|
|Profile Summary: ||Hola, Salut, Hello, Ciao, Cześć !!!! Welcome to Edinburgh. Woohoo!
So, the couch info:
Note: Recently moved to a new flat in Stockbridge (a nice central area of Edinburgh just north of the city centre, 20 to 25 minutes walk [or short bus ride] to the city centre), so you would be sharing the lounge floor/couch with a lot of boxes etc, hope that is okay :)
The flat is in a lovely area called Stockbridge (often described as having a village atmosphere), which is only 20/25 minutes walk from the city centre - uphill on the way into town but downhill all the way back. :) The flat is in a pleasant and very quiet area (the Stockbridge Colonies) with a wooden bridge and a little river at the end of the cobbled street (Water of Leith, with wooded riverside walks north to Leith and South to Dean Village, Roseburn, Colinton Dell and the Pentlands) but just 5 or 6 minutes walk from the main street of Stockbridge where there are lots of great shops, pubs, delis, cafes etc. Small garden at the front of the flat to enjoy when it's sunny. The beautiful Botanical Gardens is just 10 minutes walk from here along the riverside path and has squirrels to feed, a cafe and great views of the Edinburgh skyline. (Open until 4pm during the winter, free entry).
The nearest bus stop is 5 minutes walk away and bus number 23 or 27 will take you into the city centre (New Town, Princes Street, Old Town, University) and onto the south of the city (Bruntsfield, Morningside). There is also a bus service to the trendy Shore area in Leith with it's bars and waterside restaurants.
More about Stockbridge here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stockbridge,_Edinburgh
The flat is 5 minutes walk from at least 5 good pubs (Stockbridge Tap, Hectors, Avoca, Antiquary, Baillie etc) and lots of great shops literally a few minutes walk away including Ian Mellis (famous Edinburgh cheese shop), Herbies Deli and Cafe (2 branches, great bread and deli products), Stockbridge also has a good butcher (George Bower's); a fishmonger (Armstrong's), a farm shop selling fresh vegetables, meat and dairy products (The Store), 2 good independent wine shops, several charity shops for bargain books, cd's and clothes and loads of great cafes, restaurants and takeaways. There is also a vegan raw food cafe (Red Sugar) and a 24 hour grocery store (Co-op) as well as a late opening deli and cafe (Peckhams, open until midnight).
To prove that you have read all of this bumph the magic phrase is 'barmy badgers' - maybe you will win a prize, but in any case I will be impressed that you have read this far. :) he he he
Non-smoking flat (but you can smoke outside), no drugs allowed. Lots of blankets available and thermarest camping mattress, plus a comfy single airbed (thanks to Stef with an F!).
You are welcome to use the lounge, washing machine and kitchen anytime, help yourself to burp tea, coffee, etc whenever and if not going out and have time I may cook you a dinner if you like (local, seasonal and often organic) - just let me know what you do and don't like to eat! :) I have many guidebooks (Edinburgh; Highlands & Islands; Walking in Scotland etc) which you are welcome to borrow, but please return them! Badgers!
I usually work from home and my 'office' is in the lounge so please show some consideration and don't sleep in until lunchtime on weekdays :-) or use the internet for hours and hours and hours on end - anyway, surely you didn't visit Edinburgh to sleep all day or spend hours using the internet - you can do those things at home, no? Get out and explore this fantastic city!
As I am self-employed/freelance I am quite flexible about being able to spend time with guests although sometimes I am quite busy other times not. Night owl and don't like getting up too early although I don't mind if you do as long as you're quiet like a mouse. :) I usually go to sleep around 1 or 2am and wake up at 9 or 10am. Maximum stay of 3 nights please, at least until we see how well we get on. I actually prefer fairly last minute couchsmurfing requests as I don't always want to commit too far ahead. Badgers!
I enjoy a drink but I am more of 'bottle of wine with a nice meal', and/or 'few beers at a good pub where you can sit and talk' or 'going to see some live folk, jazz or acoustic guitar music' kind of person rather than a 'go to a loud, overcrowded bar, stand up all night and shout to make yourself heard' kind of person. My favourite places for the above are the Antiquary, Stockbridge Tap and Hectors in Stockbridge, Cumberland Bar in the New Town and the Jazz Bar in town. One of the local pubs (Antiquary) has a great folk night (traditional music session) from 9pm every Thursday night, free wifi and a log fire in winter.
I really enjoy spending time with my guests, even if only in the evenings - sharing a meal and some wine and/or going into town or to a local pub. If you want to do your own thing during the day, hey that's fine too, although if I have time I will be happy to show you some of Edinburgh or go for a walk up Arthurs Seat or Blackford Hill or in the Botanic Gardens or even a day hike in the Pentlands, Roslin Glen or along the coast if the weather is nice. But only if you want me too - I don't want to be in the way or make you change your plans. Can also give you ideas of things to see and do in and around Edinburgh along with guidebooks, maps, bus/rail timetables, weather forecasts and tips.
Just to add, if you are basically sending identical hosting request emails to dozens of people and are only interested in freeloading a free place to stay then please take me off your list. No cut and paste mass emails please. I think HC is about more than just a free place to stay*, if you think so too then you are welcome here - but if the host just feels like they are providing a free hotel service with free meals then they might wonder why they are doing it, no?
To quote Rachel from New York "If reading profiles is too much of a hassle for you, if you're just looking for a place to crash, that's not what CS/HC is about. It's about learning, sharing, feeling like you've put something good into the world. All people ask in return is that you read the info they took the time to put up and respect their wishes."
I agree with her :-) Badgers!
P.S. You are more likely to get a positive response IF you have taken the time to read at least some of this profile (ie: like this first section, I don't expect anyone to read ALL the bumph below jeje!) and have also taken the time to fill in some info about yourself on yours. People who send a one line email which only says "Can you host me?" and nothing more are unlikely to get a positive response. Yes, I have a couch available but that does not mean I am obliged to host you!
I would suggest also writing to a few other people as well (after reading their profiles too and sending them a personalised message not just a copy and paste). If you contact just one person at a time and wait for a response, you might run out of time. Also give a chance to newer hosts and those further down the search results list, as well as those who have recently joined and not hosted yet (if their profile appeals) as they are likely to get less requests.
Edinburgh hostels: If you still cannot find a couch try Bus Station Backpackers Hostel (very small and cozy hostel in a New Town flat - only 20 beds though so often
full. ); Castle Rock Hostel (very big, so almost always has space) or Smart City Hostel, all are central and they are clean and friendly, from what I have heard. Otherwise SYHA has their funky new hostel on Leith walk (Edinburgh Central hostel) which has small dorms and some twins/doubles and singles, the SYHA Cowgate hostel (Edinburgh Metro) is in student accommodation (summer only) so has single rooms and very central but noisy area!
This site has pictures and reviews of Edinburgh hostels:
http://www.hostelbookers.com/hostels/scotland/edinburgh/ and more here: http://www.hostelbookers.com/hostels/scotland/edinburgh/
I would avoid any on Cowgate if you want to get any sleep - it's a street full of pubs, clubs and drunk people!
It's OK if you contact several hosts to "increase your chances" but please don't spam everyone in a particular city.
Sorry but requests from empty profiles, requests that do not begin with my name, and requests that are a cut and paste of a bulk email will not likely receive a positive response. Please, if you would like to stay with me, let me know you've read at least a wee bit of my profile and that you'd like to stay with me. If you mention badgers, wombles and smurfs in your couch request I will know that you have at least read this bit. :) And extra bonus points if you include the phrase "cheeky chipmunks" :)))))))))))
NB: Due to recent problems with people not turning up - Please confirm your stay a day or two before you are due to arrive so that I know you are definately coming. If you do not do this I will assume you have made other arrangements and the couch may be offered to someone else. I don't see why I should wait in all night for someone who doesn't arrive or cancel plans to go out just in case they turn up. Please also provide an approximate time of arrival and have the courtesy to let me know if you are running late.
Thank you! Chipmunks! Badgers! Squirrels! Wombles! Smurfs!
* What part of town do you live in? Stockbridge, about a mile north of the city centre
* How many people live with you? 1
* What is your couch/floor/bed like? comfy
* Do you have pets? no, but sometimes the fat cat from next door comes to visit! :-)
* Do you smoke? no
* What fun things to do are there around where you live? plenty (see below)
Nearest bus stop: 5 minutes walk
Nearest pub: 5 minutes walk
Nearest shops: 5 or 6 minutes walk
Botanic Gardens: 10 minutes walk
City Centre: 20 minutes walk (Princes Street)
30 minutes walk (Old Town)
Edinburgh Waverley Train Station: 25 minutes walk.
St Andrews Square Bus Station: 20 minutes walk.
* Public transportation? yes
We are near the following bus routes:
Lothian Buses: 23, 27, 36:
* Can you show people around? Or, are you busy working? sometimes
* Do you prefer to go to bed early or late? late
* Best times that you can host? Weekdays? Weekends? any
* Do you have blankets? many
Summary keywords: food, outdoors, hiking, squirrels, badgers, pub, wine, food, cook, eat, yummminess, chocolate, mountains, smurf.||