This past Fourth of July weekend was a good one because we spent it in Austin, TX! Austin is a measly 2 1/2 hours from Houston and yet I rarely think to go there for vacation. Well that has now changed since our little stay at South Congress Hotel! Thought I’d put together a little Austin Weekend Guide from the time we spent on SoCo! I (and the rest of the world I’m sure) have an affinity for boutique hotels. South Congress was almost too big to consider it a boutique hotel, but it definitely had the feel with great customer service, hipster rooms, and tons of amenities. We arrived with a pup and though there was a pet fee, Mitch got a complimentary dog bed, a free toy, and a lot of poop bags (concierge also can arrange pet sitting & grooming)!
HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY! In completely un-american fashion (just kidding, spent the whole weekend with my family at the lake), we’re going to talk about EUROPE! Let’s get through Edinburgh, shall we? Enjoy the end to our Edinburgh City Guide… lets go!
(If you didn’t read Part One, click here!)
Our second day in Edinburgh was our first full-on rainy day (those above photos are a bit misleading), but we trudged on with our rain coats and umbrellas to continue to enjoy all the city had to offer. Our first stop was Hula Juice Cafe & Gallery for breakfast. I spotted this place on our first day and was determined to come back and enjoy it because it’s truly the cutest. It’s right off grassmarket and has yummy healthy juices, good eats, and a great people-watching window.
After our breakfast, we trekked uphill to Edinburgh Castle. The castle is giant from the outside, but also giant on the inside. We grabbed some audio guides (although I ended up tossing mine halfway through) and began our tour. There’s lots to see and you can easily spend hours wandering around. We enjoyed the pet cemetery (sad, but sweet), the scotch tastings (burned me), and touring the dungeons.
After touring the castle, we headed down past Princes Street Gardens (they line the castle on the North side and are just gorgeous) to the Scotland National Gallery! Unluckily a lot of it was under construction, but we did see some gorgeous paintings that were def worth the free admission. 😉 We got lunch at Bella Italia, which I’m pretty sure is just a little chain restaurant but it sure hit the spot after walking all morning. I popped into Oliver Bonas a few shops down and my mom had to drag me out.
If you follow me on instagram, then you know that I was in Scotland all last week! My mom and I took ourselves on a lil euro trip and had the best time. We saw a number of castles, incredible beaches and mountains, and looottss more! Thought I would tell you guys about Edinburgh because it’s where we spent most of our time and save the rest for later! So lets get into this Edinburgh City Guide!
If you want the best view in Edinburgh, stay where we did at the Apex Grassmarket Hotel. Can you even believe that view of the castle? That was our balcony! When I woke up each morning, the castle is what I saw. Not to mention the location was amazing, a block or two off of the Royal Mile (a mile long of shopping, restaurants, etc and ends right at Edinburgh Castle), and across the street from a bunch of cute lil’ restaurants and bars. T’was the perfect location for two Americans who were kind of winging this Scottish trip.
We only had 2 1/2 days in Edinburgh so we planned accordingly. We got in on Friday afternoon and settled into our amazing hotel before going out to scout some dinner and walk a bit around Grassmarket to get our bearings. I dragged my mom over to Greyfriar’s Kirkyard, where Lord Voldemort is buried along with McGonagall (cuz we’re harry potter nerds). It’s a beautiful church and graveyard and we ended up going back again on Saturday coincidentally! Bobby, the most famous dog in Scotland is buried there and people leave him balls and sticks on his grave. Rumor has it that he was a watchman’s dog and when the officer passed away, Bobby would go sit by his grave for years which earned a lot of love from the locals. And now we all love Bobby. We then ate pizza across the street from the hotel and drank some good red wine. The people watching at Grassmarket is amazing — tons of guys in kilts and pups galore.