Edinburgh’s 3 Best Hikes

 
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ICYMI, I spent some of June and July in Edinburgh with this sweetheart: Rudi! And as a self proclaimed boxer-obsessed-human, this was obviously one of my favorite housesits!

Aaaand what’s the one thing we know that boxers need a lot of? Play.

So… as Edinburgh is extremely dog-friendly, I took Rudi with me nearly everywhere as I explored. And instead of doing the same routine everyday, I used my time with Rudi to go on as many unique walks as possible. To be honest, I loved almost all of my walks around the city, but there were a few that I kept going back to…

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The Royal Observatory and Blackford Pond

Despite the fact that this hike was the closest in location to my housesit, it was truly and honestly my favorite! I’d compare it as a better option to Arthur’s Peak. It has the same type of panoramic view of the city, but it’s less crowded, an easier hike, AND it has more variety within the area as far as landscape and points of interest. It’s the best place for a sunrise or a sunset in Edinburgh.

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Pentland Hills

This place I wouldn’t have had the chance to visit if it wasn’t for a friend wanting to do this hike! Pentland Hills is a lot of what I imagined the Scotland Highlands being like – except it’s super close to Edinburgh. It’s just southwest of the city and it makes for a great day trip. The area has so much variety within it’s 20 miles and it has a restroom! Huge bonus if you are hiking in the wilderness.

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Arthurs Seat

I had extremely high expectations fro Arthur’s Seat after all the hype…and it didn’t live up to the expectations. It’s super steep, crowded, and there isn’t much to see at the top except for the view – which you can easily see at the Royal Observatory as well and it’s a much better overall hike.

Note: My cousin, Shelley, who joined me for the first half of the trip actually decided to go back and do a sunrise hike with Rudi when it was much less crowded – and cooler!

 
 

Oma

My Oma, (grandmother in German), is hands-down one of my best friends. I'll forever be grateful that my parents chose to have her as an essential part of my upbringing, which she has been from the time I was born prematurely to now as an adult. I could go on and on about her, but that's for another time.  

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In West Philadelphia...

Every city I visit, I have a preconceived notion of what I think the vibe will be–it turns out most of the time I am wrong. Philly was no exception to this. We last minute decided to make a roadtrip to Philadelphia since my sister would be there for the weekend and it was quite the delightful surprise.

My major *this is an amazing city* moment came from how close everything is–or at least everything that we went to was. We never had to drive over 2.5 miles to get anywhere. I'm not sure why I felt like everything was going to be so far and something like New York but it thankfully wasn't.  

 

MUST VISITS: 

 
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1. PHILADELPHIA'S MAGIC GARDENS

My favorite place we visited! It was absolutely magical–because really that's the only word that does it justice. When I say it is aptly named.. I mean it. What is it, you ask? It's around a half city block of drenched in mosaic tiles. They say Isaiah Zagar began tiling in the sixties and, well, it doesn't look like he's done much since. 

2. FUNCTION COFFEE LABS

If you know anything about me, you know I love coffee. I am absolutely one of those humans who wakes up and NEEDS it–one of those people who can't function without it. Maybe that's where they got the name Function Coffee Labs? Anyway, I was so impressed with this place. Not only was the atmosphere great; inside and outside seating.. lots of open windows; but the barista was so friendly and welcoming. I am so not about those pretentious coffee people and I was delighted with this aspect of Function for sure. 

3. INDEPENDENCE MALL

 

For obvious reasons, it's essential to visit the history in Philadelphia as it's quintessential America. Even if you don't find yourself particularly fond of history, it's worth it to at least walk by. The Liberty Bell is easy breezy to walk in and see, but it's crucial to grab your tickets to Independence Hall beforehand–it will most likely already be sold out if you try to buy day of.

 

4. GRAFFITI PIER 

Graffiti Pier is an Instagram dream-of-dreams. The former pier was abandoned in 1991, and has since been taken over by art and Mother Nature. Make sure to go early enough that it doesn't get dark on you–it's a bit sketchy.

5. SPRUCE STREET HARBOR PARK

I think that Spruce Street Harbor Park might be the type of park every city imagines having. It's clean, full of art, people, music, and genuine fun. The rainbow hammocks, vibrant lights, and of course the craft beer area were the personal favorites of mine.

The Seven Magic Mountains

Bright–beautiful– and yes, actually pretty magic. The Seven Magic Mountains are a must see if you visit Vegas. It's a nice little drive south of The Strip and it's also far enough out that you can really be engulfed by the desert and away from all the chaos. 

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That being said, this is such a photo-worthy place and people know it! You unquestionably need to go as close to sunrise as possible if you want to get any good photos. We actually passed by the area around noon a few days before we were planning to go and it was unbelievable how crowded it was. We ended up going around 7 AM on a weekday and it was ideal. Not a soul but us, and we were able to get some really great shots. See for yourself below.

 

How to: Hike Horseshoe Bend

Before we went to Page, I had quite the time finding solid reviews of what the hike to see Horseshoe Bend was like. I read a few saying it was extremely hard and slippery, whereas others said it was easy breezy. Here are some tips and tricks firsthand to get the best experience at Horseshoe Bend.

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1. GO EARLY 

The biggest issue with the area is the people and the heat. Which is an issue because the Horseshoe Bend Overlook doesn't have any railings –and being that high up can be extremely disorienting. The closer that you can go to sunrise, the better. We pulled in around 7 AM and it was already getting a bit busy annnnd hot

2. WEAR GOOD SHOES

The actual walk to the overlook isn't long at all, just under a mile, and is pretty easy walk–it's not really a hike. You definitely need good shoes, though, for when you get to the actual overlook. The Overlook is full of fragile rocks that you can try to balance on but they break frequently so it's best to look from a distance. 

3. IF YOU GET DIZZY EASILY.. 

If you get dizzy easily–be cautious! This is an extremely disorienting lookout and isn't very safe. Keep your distance from the edge and take small steps. 

The Florida Keys

Finally, I got to drive down the Florida Keys! Any opportunity I've had to drive to Florida has been echoed with "that's too far" when the idea of driving down to Miami or The Keys has presented itself. Low and behold, the chance to actually drive down to the USA's Southernmost point finally came and we took it!

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