What's not to love about Edinburgh? I became enraptured by Auld Reekie's gothic fairytale the moment I set foot in the so-called "Athens of the North", contemplating the wonders of this stunner of a city. Everything looked haunted, eerie and magical - hands down the most beautiful city I've ever visited in the UK, just as I expected. Centuries of History and heritage are only challenged by a contemporary cultural scene and a modern sense of Art paired with bold architecture. Edinburgh seen by my eyes is a dreamy, atmospheric and darkly romantic place that will certainly have me back whenever I have another opportunity to visit its beauty and charm. A plethora of pubs away from the swarm of selfie-sticker tourists await in the most unexpected corners, where you can actually meet a few storyteller locals up for a chat over a neat Glenmorangie.
Stone and brick, whisky and Irn Bru, haggis (give it a go; it's like a cousin of black pudding in texture, only better) and smoked salmon, the medieval Old Town and the georgian New Town... Yes, I've tried the infamous deep-fried Mars bar. Don't ask me how my liver managed to process that grease trap because I honestly don't know.
Regarding the weather, don't even bother grabbing a brolly because the Winter winds will destroy whatever structure you might be holding. Don't let the weather be a deal-breaker though. You can always go for a tavern crawl, sit by the fireplace or enjoy a craft cider in Cabaret Voltaire. I've found myself countless times strolling around Victorian cemeteries for the usual tombstone spotting (in one of them I spotted a lot of rats instead!), before or after an endless walk through the cobbled, narrow (and dangerously wet) streets and vertiginous alleys. It's all rather labyrinthic so feel free to get lost. That's the best way to explore your surroundings anyway.
Edinburgh's best kept secret would be the scenic Water of Leith and its pedestrian path to the Botanical Gardens. Me and Emilee went for a morning walk down the canal and it felt like we were away from the city - no crowds, no noise, flakes of snow falling upon our gaze, soothing humming of water flowing calmly, curious dogs approaching us in the historic, quaintly picturesque Dean Village. Oh, the tranquility! Coming across such gems adds more meaning to the experience. For those who have visited Edinburgh, I'm pretty sure you all fell in love with the magnificent panoramic view from Calton Hill, the breath-taking dark-toned skyline, the exquisite 18th century buildings, the allure beyond the bagpipes and the tourist traps. For those who haven't, I hope you do have the opportunity to do so in a very near future, not only to enjoy the iconic sights but also to absorb this Scottish wonderland, with or without the clichés. Un-fucking-missable.