Blogposts structure of 2019

Hi readers,

2019 is already a month on the go and the past month I thought about starting the new year with some new changes / adjustments / improvements . An improved blogstructure!

I bought a lovely calendar of Dutch’s most famous quotes brand: Loesje.
And I bought a agenda from the same series as well. In the calendar I organise my blogposts and make some extra notes about all my ideas. The agenda is just a agenda for the personal life and to have a good overview of all the different appointments in my life this year. Of course stuff like deadlines and presentations for study, days I’ll be working as a student software tester, days to spend with friends and family and free time for some events, blogging, sports, household and selfstudying/preparations for everything thats coming up.

The new structure I thought of kind looks like this:

  • Monday #Book review
  • Tuesday #Top Ten / Interesting Ten
  • Wednesday #Series review
  • Thursday #Travel
  • Friday #Film review
  • Saturday’s #Healthy & Saturday’s #Tech
  • Sunday’s #YouTube

Writing a blog post for every day is quite a big challenge and it takes some big effort to investigate and write down everything I have gathered since the beginning of this blog in March 2015. But I am looking forward to this challenge…

How my life in 2019 (probably) looks like?

  • Studying Computer Science / Software Engineering with a particular interest in Data Engineering.
  • Working a couple of days per week as a Junior Software Tester
  • Writing, creating and redesigning this blog
  • Reading for The Bored to Death bookclub in Rotterdam
  • Working on some smaller (tech) projects
  • Socializing with friends and family
  • Somewhere sports… yeah still have to figure out how exactly. Having a warmth-allergy doesn’t make it easy to start something and go recklessly for it without proper guidance. 
  • Travel bits because I want to keep exploring the world, start small and in a couple of years more far away travels.
  • Blogging… writing and designing and communicating

Meanwhie I am also studying, working on some (tech)projects, reading for The Bored to Death bookclub, working as a Junior Tester and developing myself furthermore in (programming) languages.

I am still so curious and feel challenged by improving my languages the next couple of years. Such as:

  • Dutch (literature e.g.: style, words, sentences)
  • English (more fluent, better descriptions of emotions)
  • German (basic)
  • French (basic)
  • Italian (basic)
  • A Scandinavian language (Norwegian or Swedish)
  • A Celtic language (Scottish Gaelic or Irish)
  • Latin (basic), it is an ancient language but interesting for it’s use in history.
  • Greek (basic) and there is old-Greek new-Greek. I’ve had classes about old-Greek, still interesting with all the history and mythology and stuff.

And of course as an IT student I am also interesting in improving in my programming languages and architecture designs.

And I’ll try to use the new WordPress block editor, which looks at first nice because you can embed a lot of stuff.

So this is the ‘Blogposts structure of 2019’ update.

Have you used the new WordPress block editor already?

And what do you think of it?

And what do you think of my new ‘Blogposts structure of 2019’?

Greetings by Sophie

Blog · Challenge · Events

Life of an IT student | October 2018

Hello readers,

The month October was a very busy month full with study, city trips and short travels related to study and an amazing magazine project where I had the opportunity to interview ambitious women in the tech world.

I’ve had several jubilee activities and festivities from the company I work at. Loved it! Teambuilding, the things we achieved so far, milestones, as a big team working together… life lessons you learn. It’s always a challenge and therefore always fun!

Halfway the month I traveled a lot. To Utrecht, The Hague and the High Tech Campus at Eindhoven for the magazine CURIOUS / IT. I had the opportunity to interview together with colleague Melanie Lopes Andrade the ambitious women:

CURIOUS / IT Magazine

Thanks to the CURIOUS / IT magazine project I had the chance to interview several ambitious women about their experience in IT and their advice for young girls and other women. What was it an amazing journey! The magazine is published on October 29th, 2018

My LinkedIn post about it in Dutch, the translation of the text to English:

CURIOUS / IT! The magazine where I, together with a great team, in the past five weeks, worked extremely hard for to achieve this amazing result.


Thanks to the entire team and the support for this super experience! Together with Melanie Lopes Andrade I’ve had four nice interviews with inspiring women and seen the tech behind the scenes of several companies.


“The magazine of Hogeschool Rotterdam / Institute for Communication, Media and Information Technology to make girls enthusiastic about the IT world. Read or download it via the link below! ”


Curious/IT download –> below the article is a PDF version, all in Dutch.

At the end of the month I’ve been in Gouda to a theatre college talk given by Joris Luyendijk: “Het zijn net mensen 2.0″. It gave me a lot of media insight, a view on journalism and how small things can turn into big stories and how big things can turn into small stories. To summarize it, my opinion: The world is a matter of each individuals’ perception. It is all just a matter of perception.

How has been your month of October?

Greetings by Sophie

Blog · Computer Science · Travel

Life of an IT student | May 2018

Hello readers,

The month of May was quite a month of opposites. From the daily work at the internship and traveling a few hours a day, to several travel days, day trips and events. Lots of little different things came by this month.

For the internship my final few weeks of work started since December 2017. It feels good to have a little break in the work rhythm right now, but all the stuff I have learned at the company feels even better. It was an incredible journey and my first real external internship for more than half a year as a student Software Engineering. I am still writing my final report on it and will finish the whole subject completely at the end of the month of June.

The month of May also started with a visit to the famous ‘Keukenhof’ or also known as the ‘Tulips Garden’. I have photographed a lot on this beautiful sunny day and this year the ‘Tulipa Denmark’ is my favorite. It was a lovely sunny day in spring.

Halfway the month I visited the city ‘s’Hertogenbosch’ in the province of Noord-Brabant. Except for a stop at the train station I had never been there before. A lovely town for shopping, some drinks, food and cultural events. Every Sunday around noon is a concert in the local theatre and the cathedral of this city is wonderful! When I was walking around as a  ‘tourist-for-a-day’, people were enjoying the sunshine on the terrace and at every pub and restaurant where little festivities going on. It felt like I was walking to a little town with it’s own close but lovely community.

At the end of the month of May I had a few day off from work and went to the Belgian Ardennes. Stunning view of colors, depths, a river and the natural stalagmites and stalactites artwork inside the caves of a mountain. To a castle and hiking to the heights of the Ardennes from the sunshine in the valley to the top and a bit of thunder when climbing down again. It has been an amazing and exciting experience for a few days a nice mini holiday.

How has been your month of May?

Greetings by Sophie

Blog · Events · Travel

Blog Anniversary 2018!

Happy Blog Anniversary 2018!

Today is the 1st of March 2018 and this means that this month is my blog anniversary month!

Three years ago, back in 2015, I started with this more structural blogging. The history of my blogging experience is written in the blog series named: ‘The Blogging Experience’ that consists of five blog posts, with an explanation about what I am using now and last but not least some tips on blogging.

The list of ‘The Blogging Experience’ series.

The top three blog posts of the past 365 days are:

  1. The 72 Cutest Animals
    Just a series review of a small cute series I watched on Netflix.
  2. Essay | Leprosy in the 12th and 21st century | Conclusion
    This is the last blog post of a series about leprosy. For a course, at the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, named ‘History of Health Care’ I wrote this essay as part of a final assignment. The subject, general knowledge and impact of leprosy is underestimated. I have learned a lot about it by writing this essay.
  3. Happy New Year 2018!
    A very recent blog post, just two months old. My New Year’s wishes to you all, accompanied by a compilation video of the fireworks I have seen that night. Just shot with my iPhone 7 and edited with Quick.

The past year I have been combining the study work load and the blog feeling to write, a bit better than last year. Especially writing about my holiday in Edinburgh is a part I am really proud of because I am happy I could share through this way my holiday experience and provide you with some recommendations or just the way how I managed it all. And for me personally, writing it all as an overview, was also my guideline when I was telling people about my travel and experiences. I am a student on a student budget and that’s the fun challenge. How to get the best out of it with enjoying the most out of it.


I am looking forward to write even more blog posts about what I am experiencing, visiting, travel to, plan to do and so on… So excited! This month will also be a bit of a recap of the past year. A few blog posts that are drafts will be finished and they will be more in-depth of my big and smaller travels.

“Blogging is a thing I am passionate about.” – Sophie van den Akker, March 1st 2018

Where are you passionate about?

Happy wishes and greetings by Sophie

Blog · Culture · Travel

July 2017 | Life of an IT Student

Hello readers!

This evening a recap of my life in the month of July! The month beheld the last weeks of study before the summer break and it beheld the first days of my holiday in Edinburgh.

As I have written in the previous recap of the month of June 2017, the first weeks of July were pretty stressful. The last exams of the year, the last weeks of a semester project of the year and I called it in short: the last chances of whatever-needed-to-be-finished of the year.

This month – except for my holiday – I have not visited a lot of events. Just let go the stress, enjoy the piece and sunshine in the few days between the last days of study of the year and my holiday.

Now and then I walked to the Cruise Terminal area, Hotel New York and the little park at the point of the pier. Watched the Queen Elizabeth cruiseship leaving the city. Twice this month in fact haha. The first time I just made a bunch of photos also because of the beautiful sunset. I was way too early before the ship left so had a drink from Hotel New York at the pier and waited, just enjoyed the quietness and the breeze at the point. The second time this cruiseship was visiting the city for a day and was leaving again, I made a little video. How lovely to see how many people, families, acquaintances or just interested people wave goodbyes to all the persons on board. With a ‘See you soon again!’ accompanied of course.

Halfway the month I received bookmail as well and reviewed it shortly afterwards. The book is written by Max Rippe and this is the third novel in a series but you can read it as a standalone book too. You can read the full review here –> A Deadly Run-Off – Max Rippe. Have you read this book? What do you think of the story?

Only one week left before my study break would finally start and a little less than two weeks left before I went on holiday. Ooh now the study stress was turning into a holiday excitement.

Right before I went on holiday to Edinburgh, I had to visit the zoo again. Walking through the park and discover the wonderful habits of the animals. On this day I posted on Instagram a film of the littlest of the elephants who started to practice his trumpet skills and played with water on a brightful sunny day.

A few days later I went on holiday to Edinburgh, Scotland. About my experience there you can read in my special blog series about this travel:

How has been your month of July?

Greetings by Sophie

Animals · Culture · Travel

Edinburgh Thursday

This blog post is a sequel to the series ‘The Recap of the Day – Edinburgh 2017’.
How my first day – Friday – has been, you can read about it here –> Edinburgh Travel.
How my second day – Saturday – has been, you can read about it here -> Edinburgh Saturday
How my third day – Sunday – has been, you can read about it here -> Edinburgh Sunday
How my fourth day – Monday – has been, you can read about it here -> Edinburgh Monday
How my fifth day – Tuesday – has been, you can read about it here -> Edinburgh Tuesday
How my sixth day – Wednesday – has been, you can read about it here -> Edinburgh Wednesday

The morning

On Thursday my last full day in Edinburgh started. I had several options left about what to do. Such as visiting the Writer’s Museum which would be really interesting, go to the Surgeon’s Hall museum as well which would be a unique visit I guess. I have never seen a Surgeon’s museum in a European city before. But after an early comprehensive Scottish breakfast – finally! – I decided to go to North Queensferry and visit the ‘Deep Sea World’. The Oceanium part of my complete zoo-visit in and around Edinburgh.

After breakfast I headed to the Waverly train station and bought my retour ticket to North Queensferry. The journey by train would take around twenty minutes and the stations I passed by were Haymarket, South Gyle and Dalmeny before crossing the famous red bridge and arrive in North Queensferry. I headed to the last platform, platform 20, and stepped into the train. It felt luxurious compared to the Dutch second class seats in the trains. Just a local train but it gave me a luxurious feeling. Good seats, a table and nice broad windows for a good view on the beautiful landscape of Scotland.

Departure 10:19 Platform 20 train to Cowdenbeath Copyright photo by Sophie van den Akker

At the end of the morning I arrived at North Queensferry train station. Just two platforms, a bridge to cross the railroad and a nice mosaic mural. I continued my journey by foot to the Deep Sea World. This aquarium zoo is located somewhere down the hill. North Queensferry is quite a steep little village with nice walking routes towards the water and the bottom of the bridges.


The afternoon

Right before the afternoon started, I arrived at the Deep Sea World and bought my ticket. Throughout the day there are several activities such as feeding of the fish and sea lions, talks about the animals and so on. It really is an educational addition to your – or children’s – life. Because this is a major visit I will write a special blog post about the Deep Sea World. At the end of my tour I discovered they also offer tours to have a little look behind the scenes and how this little oceanium zoo works.

The Lion’s Fish, yes this one is just chillin’ upside down in its aquarium. Copyright photo by Sophie van den Akker

The tour would start later on the day so I had some free time meanwhile. I decided to walk through the little village and have a lovely little lunch of raisins bread with jam and a cup of hot chocolate – despite the warm weather I just love that – at ‘Café Renkins Deli’. A lovely local café and pâtissier.


After finishing my little lunch I headed to the little pier and lighthouse. What a nice and beautiful view! And I think I was lucky that I walked around there while the sun was shining. I am grateful for that. When I stopped halfway the pier and sat for a while, a small family – a grandmother and her son and daughter – arrived with a little bouquet of flowers. They were having a remembrance ceremony, by giving the flowers to the open water, to someone they loved and was not among them anymore – the grandfather. They stood there in silence, while the wind was howling and increasing in power, paying their respect. By having a little chat and not making any photographs nor video nor any mobile phone stuff, I paid my respect with them during the remembrance ceremony.

The pier, partly stone and later on half so small covered with seaweed. Copyright photo by Sophie van den Akker

Afterwards we wished each other a happy and good day and all the best. How wonderful to meet lovely people at a sensitive moment in a small place where you rarely stumble upon such things. Really wonderful and maybe it was a once in a lifetime thing that occurred to me as a tourist, being able to watch and a little bit participate with the remembrance ceremony of locals.


The second part of the pier, on my lovely Floris van Bommel, walked on them already 70+ km. Copyright photo by Sophie van den Akker

The famous Forth Bridge Copyright photo by Sophie van den Akker

After my wow-moments at the pier, the remembrance ceremony, the stunning view, the sunshine that lets you smile, the Forth Bridge… I headed back to the Deep Sea World and was ready for the behind the scenes tour. Of course this will be written in the special blog post, but after the whole thing I also visited a special exhibition about the wild life of Scotland. European animals but also some animals you would not expect or did know of and lovely photographs. There was one photograph that amazed me so much: the huge Bass Rock! I had heard that Bass Rock is big, but thát huge? Wow!

Time to head back to Edinburgh after all the wow’s of this little trip and overthinking during my journey by train back to Waverly Station.

 The evening

At the end of the afternoon and right before the evening started, I headed back home from Waverly station; switched my clothes and handbag and headed to the city center again for dinner. There was one place I had not been yet and I would love to try, though it is not that local, the Edinburgh Hard Rock Café. It was my last night so I treated myself with a ‘Magic Mystery Mojito’ cocktail, for dinner a portion of ‘Southwest Spring Rolls’ and the ‘Hickory Barbeque Bacon Burger’, served with seasoned fries and for dessert a ‘Fresh Apple Cobbler’. After all this food and finishing my lovely cocktail, it was really time to go home and pack my stuff.


The Southwest Spring rolls in Hard Rock Café Edinburgh and the Mojito Copyright photo by Sophie van den Akker

The last Friday

The day after, on Fridays, I was heading back to The Netherlands and had my flight in the morning around eleven. I was a bit late I thought because I arrived an hour before my flight at the airport and kind of underestimated the rows and bunch of people that were waiting for the security check. And as calm the airport was in the early morning when I arrived one week earlier, how busy it was one week and a few hours later. As if the airport is growing out of its jacket. I arrived safely back at Schiphol Airport, The Netherlands, where my lovely family waited for me and picked me up. Heading really back home. Family weekend it was with sharing lots of stories of our holidays this summer.

Where have you been on holiday this summer?

Goodnight folks!

Oidhche, mhath.

Greetings by Sophie

Animals · Culture · Travel

Edinburgh Wednesday

This blog post is a sequel to the series ‘The Recap of the Day – Edinburgh 2017’.
How my first day – Friday – has been, you can read about it here –> Edinburgh Travel.
How my second day – Saturday – has been, you can read about it here -> Edinburgh Saturday
How my third day – Sunday – has been, you can read about it here -> Edinburgh Sunday
How my fourth day – Monday – has been, you can read about it here -> Edinburgh Monday
How my fifth day – Tuesday – has been, you can read about it here -> Edinburgh Tuesday

The morning

The weather predictions were not too good for Wednesday but I started my morning early because there was just one major thing planned for today: the Edinburgh Zoo! Oh I was already looking forward to this moment for days! It plays in fact a big part in the choice of city for my summerholiday citytrip this year. Together with a digital camera, a Manfrotto monopod, a selfiestick, a couple of fully loaded batteries yes when you travel on your own now and then you have to capture yourself in a photo right? And a selfiestick is a nice and safe way to avoid dropping your phone accidently when you are hiking or taking a photograph above deep waters.

I had bought my ticket for the zoo already a few days in advance and had booked a timeslot to visit the Giant Panda’s! Yes it is a timeslot and as a huge Giant Panda fan I do understand why there is a timeslot because space for the zoo visitors to visit their living area is not huge. I prefer of course a Giant Panda visit without a timeslot but it is manageble this way. Every fifteen minutes a talk about the panda’s start as well and you can ask question to the zookeepers or another member of the whole team. 

The afternoon

Right before the afternoon I took the bus to the Edinburgh Zoo. A nice ride of around 30 minutes. The weather was a bit grey cloudy and now and then some raindrops. But as a Dutchie used to periods that contains of ‘raining-all-day’ days, I was content with the situation. Just cloudy with a nice temperature. I will of course write a separate special blog post about the zoo with its 30 ha and over 180 species. They also have something very special beside the Gian’t Pandas I have never seen in other zoos before. Every zoo has it’s own kind of special signature thing.

 The evening

It had rained for half the afternoon but that did not stop me from walking through the zoo. Around closing time I left the zoo and it took some time before I got home. A bit tired of the previous strenuous days and visiting a zoo located on a hill, with a lovely view on Edinburgh when you climb to the top. When I reached home I sat for half an hour, already writing my notes for my blog posts, and changed clothes. The evening had started and I went on my way to the city center. I wanted to try a bar at the Victoria Street and was looking for a different kind of bar. I ended up in an Irish pub version. The Finnegan’s Wake. It was a spacious bar with several sport screens so while having a drink watching a sports game – football. It was a nice way to spend the rest of the early evening. A duo – guitarist and pianist – performed after the match with covers from different pop songs and more locally known songs. When the sunset was complete I had another walk through town back home and the preparations for The Fringe Festival were quite developing so now and then you stumble upon a funny decoration in the city or just beautiful city lights.

This recap has been a short one because the major part was the zoo and I will write a special blog post about that.

Goodnight folks!

Oidhche, mhath.

Greetings by Sophie

Culture · Travel

Edinburgh Tuesday

This blog post is a sequel to the series ‘The Recap of the Day – Edinburgh 2017’.
How my first day – Friday – has been, you can read about it here –> Edinburgh Travel.
How my second day – Saturday – has been, you can read about it here -> Edinburgh Saturday
How my third day – Sunday – has been, you can read about it here -> Edinburgh Sunday
How my fourth day – Monday – has been, you can read about it here -> Edinburgh Monday

The morning

On Tuesday morning I woke up early to write for my blog and have a little morning walk. The planning of today: visiting The Royal Yacht Britannia. The ship I have seen in the Netflix series ‘The Crown’. The ship is famous for serving the British Royal Family for decades and has sailed thousands of miles around the world. The morning was not that interesting, just my morning habits before I leave the house.

The afternoon

The afternoon started with the ‘Majestic Bus Tour’ that has a stop at the Ocean Terminal where The Royal Yacht Britannia is docked. The bus tour gave me a nice view of the neighbourhoods next to the harbour. And after I left the bus, I ate my lunch on a bench in front of the Ocean Terminal. I had brought another meal deal with me, a tuna sandwich, a bottle of water and a little bag of apple slices. After lunch I entered the Ocean Terminal which is also a shopping mall. Lovely decorated in a dinosaur theme for kids and it gives some color to the big white venue. On the right part of the site at the second floor, you could enter The Royal Yacht Britannia area. An area that included a big souvenir shop – with really nice stuff for – such as – little presents or stuff for your household. It also included, after entering the entrance by passing a guard and the ticket area, a nice exhibition about the history of the yacht, the royal family and all that they have experienced between 1953 and 1997. Yes, the yacht has served for 44 years! That’s a long time for a royal ship. The exhibition gave you the general knowledge about its history and by entering the ship and visiting all three floors, you had a clear view of how the family and crew lived days, weeks or months on the ship. Incredible. More specifications of course in a special blog post about this royal yacht!

Halfway the afternoon I stepped into the Majestic Tour again for another part of a city tour and I stepped off at the stop at The Palace of Holyroodhouse. This is the palace H.M.S. The Queen Elizabeth II always visits in the first week of July for the famous Garden Party. This is a special occasion where ~600 important Scots are invited to this festivity. I walked through the palace, the adjacent abbey of which sadly only the ruins are left. But beautiful ruins! You can even see it from different directions. From left gate in front of the palace, from Holyrood Park which is next to and behind The Palace of Holyroodhouse, and of course from the royal gardens itself. A wonderful and vision with a little bit of spirit from history attached to the venue. There was also a little special photographic exhibition of the royal family and one of the grand children of H.M.S. The Queen Elizabeth II that married in 2011. Princes Zara Anne Elizabeth Tindall (Philips) married Mike Tindall back in 2011 and they are married here in Edinburgh at Canongate Kirk. At the end of the exhibition it was time for an afternoon cup of tea. The typical English cup of tea. I went to the tea room of The Palace of Holyroodhouse and had a ‘Twinings English Breakfast Tea‘ together with a piece of fruitcake – yes that one they make for the Christmas Cake as well – and a piece of The Palace of Holyroodhouse shortbread. Not that healthy but very local and delicious! At the tea room they sell only local products from all over Scotland.

 The evening

The afternoon came to an end and the tea room was nearly closing. I left the venue and walked on the Royal Mile. Yesterday I visited Edinburgh Castle, located at the other end of the Royal Mile. So today I started at the lowest point of it. Climbing uphill, enjoying the sight of shops and pubs and I get bothered by the little drops of rain. Which quickly turned into a rain shower that lasted for an hour or so. Along my way I passed the Scottish Veterans Residences – they support already for 107 years! Which I highly respect. I was walking wandering around in the Canongate area, walked through a little alley, passed a parking lot and stumbled upon the mural of the backyard of Canongate Kirk. Yes I was at first looking for a shortcut walk to Calton Hill – yes a hill, high, photographic view, just a few paths, have to know how to get there – and I didn’t know nor found a path from my route to the top of Calton Hill. So I turned sort of around and walked back to Canongate. I visited the graveyard at Canongate Kirk and what an impressive view those huge gravestones have. Nearly every important family have/had it’s own ‘tomb’ space on the graveyard.

After the visit to the graveyard I went back to South Bridge where I had been before by bus – Google Map it I would advice because it is an well known bus stop and centrally located. At the corner of the street they have a royal blue cute looking bookshop named ‘Blackwell’s‘. From the inside it is a great bookshop and even see how big it really is when you walk around at the first floor. They have every imaginable category of books and most of them related to study subject as well. And they have, when you step inside and walk to the left area, a complete corner filled with Scottish history, literature, travel, authors, fiction, language, cooking and so on. And yes they sell books for learning the Gaelic language as well. I was amazed by the numerous books they sell. I just discovered – after Google’in – that I maybe can buy ‘The Folk Tales of Scotland: The Well at the World’s End and Other Stories‘ (Hardback) and ship it to The Netherlands – flight kg’s limited and stuff – because the other famous bookshop named ‘Waterstones’ does not sell it online nor ship it. Wow, is it such a limited copy book? I photographed several books I would love to buy and read. But first things first. I have only bought three little study books from publisher O’Reilly about software engineering. My three little kind of dictionaries in those particular languages.

The evening had started and I had nothing special for dinner except the haggis kind of sausage roll. I headed back home, changed my clothes into a bit more casual classy formal and headed back to South Bridge. Because nearby is a famous – you don’t say by looking at the entrance – hidden Jazz bar. Thé Jazz Bar of Edinburgh with free open jam sessions on Tuesday Night. It was lovely! And it is a bar you should visit for at least a drink and listening to live music.

Goodnight folks! Oidhche, mhath.

Greetings by Sophie

Culture · Travel

Edinburgh Monday

This blog post is a sequel to the series ‘The Recap of the Day – Edinburgh 2017’.
How my first day – Friday – has been, you can read here –> Edinburgh Travel.
How my second day – Saturday – has been, you can read here -> Edinburgh Saturday
How my thrird day – Sunday – has been, you can read here -> Edinburgh Sunday

The morning

The weekend was on planning and deciding what to do a bit chaotic but the monday and tuesday were already set. On Monday I bought a mealdeal breakfast: a sandwich, a little juice and a little bag of fruit – for just £3. After breakfast I went to the city center, a little walk on foot to Jenners shopping mall. But before I entered Jenners, I had to activate my ‘Royal Edinburgh’ ticket that includes: entrance tickets to the three major venues: Edinburgh Castle, Royal Yacht Brittannia and The Palace of Holyroodhouse, and a 48hr busticket for three different kinds of city sightseeing busses who ride their routes through and around the citycenter. I activated it at the little cute busstation hut at the entrance of Princes Street Gardens.

The afternoon

After activating my tickets it was time to plan my days and have an English cup of tea. At Jenner’s shopping mall is located on the 2nd floor a Valvona & Crolla delicatessen café. With a cup of tea and a piece of delicious carrotcake on the table, I grabbed my little notebook and made a global planning for the next couple of days. What is possible to visit? Until which time are the venues visitable and how can I combine everything I – probably – want to visit in the upcoming hours and days.

This Monday I started my cultural and historic tour with a visit to the Edinburgh Castle. I entered the castle through the stadium (Emplanada) and from up there, on the walls of the castle alongside the canons, you have a stunning view above Edinburgh! The castleground is placed on a volcano top. The venue does not only contain of a castle, but from the Esplanade you walk through the first Gatehouse. From there on you walk through the smaller Portcullis Gate and then you have really entered the castle. What the venue all contains, such as several little museums, barracks, the impressive national war monument and so on…will be written in a special blog post about the Edinburgh Castle.

The evening

A few hours and lots of information later I left the Edinburgh Castle. It was closing time and I wanted to do some other cultural history things as well. I walked downhill on the famous Royal Mile – which is not a single street but a couple of streets named together as the Royal Mile because you can walk from the Edinburgh Castle all the way straightforward downhill to the Palace of Holyroodhouse. The Royal Mile is really nice for an afternoon or evening walk, accompanied by lots of little shops, now and then a bar, museum, cultural site and so on.

Halfway the Royal Mile is located the St. Giles Cathedral. I decided to visit this cathedral after the Edinburgh Castle because you can visit it until 19:00. So time enough for wandering around, looking at the beautiful glasses, sculptures, graves and so on. The funny thing I discovered: pay £2 for a photography license – a sticker so you are allowed to take photographs and in that way fund the organisation. A really good idea! The story about the St. Giles Cathedral will be written of course to in another special blog post.

The last cultural visit of this day was to the National Library of Scotland. This is located near the St. Giles Cathedral and therefore was close by. Soon after I entered the library I discovered a little café. Time to have a simple dinner. It was a ‘Seeded Roll Sandwich‘ accompanied by a cheese scone – yes I could not resist a scone if I stumbled upon one – and the ‘IRNBRU’ local soda drink. After dinner I have been to a very impressive exhibition at the National Library of Scotland. It was a photography exhibition by Hurley about ‘Life of the Expedition on the Drifting Sea‘. A real life story that took place in 1915 about a jammed ship in ice and it’s crew, the situation and lives captured in photographs.

My visit to the National Library of Scotland was at an end and I decided to walk the Royal Mile again uphill, back towards the Edinburgh Castle. In front of it at the Emplanada were several groups of soldiers and marines practicing for the Royal Military Tattoo that takes place there every year in August. I would love to see a real show of them once, but no idea yet when. Maybe in another year at another holiday.

For an hour a listened to the music and had seen a little of the practice. Meanwhile I had a chitchat with a Swiss family who knew some of the people that will be participating in the Royal Tattoo. I just stumbled upon it by the music I heard when I was walking on the Royal Mile, they knew every evening there will be a rehearsal until the start of The Fringe Festival in Edinburgh. After an hour when the guards where moving the fences more away from the castle, it was time to go home because you could see less and it was getting late. The sunset had started.

My evening walk was from the Edinburgh Castle entrance at the Royal Mile towards the Mound, the middle of the Princes Street Gardens where the National Scottish Gallery site is located. I had a wonderful view on the sunset and the formed as a layer just above the sun. One of the most rare and most beautiful views I have seen.
Tomorrow part two of my Royal Edinburgh ticket tour.

Goodnight folks! Oidhche, mhath.

Chan eil aon chànan gu leòr!

Greetings by Sophie

Culture · Travel

Edinburgh Sunday

This blog post is a sequel to the series ‘The Recap of the Day – Edinburgh 2017’.
How my first day – friday – has been, you can read here –> Edinburgh Travel.
How my second day – saturday – has been, you can read here -> Edinburgh Saturday

The morning


Panorama view of the middle section of the main hall on the first floor. Very architecturial, little bit botanic garden feeling. Behind and left and right of me are the exhibitions. Photo copyright belongs to Sophie van den Akker, photographed on July 30th 2017, not for use without written permission through a correct correspondence.

After a very late and a bit tired of all the impressions within one day, Sunday arrived. This Sunday I chose to start easy and slowly with my day. Waking up and after the morning ritual pack some stuff and go on the road for a little breakfast outdoors. This breakfast was just a normal one for me: a sandwich accompanied with a fresh juice and some fruit. No, I have not had the Scottish breakfast yet, I save that for another day. While I was having breakfast I was figuring out what to do today, what to do the next couple of days and how to combine all the stuff. The focus was only on today though, the rest of my ideas of what to visit was just labeled as ‘later sometime’. After a while the decision was made: The National Museum of Scotland!

The afternoon


Photo copyright belongs to Sophie van den Akker, not for use without written permission through a correct correspondence.

In the transition from the morning hours to the afternoon hours I walked to the National Museum of Scotland. Uphill, downhill, left and right…I walked criss-crossing through the streets of Old Town. The museum is at first glance a nice old classic Roman looking building with a modern extension next to it. The entrance and facilities are far from old, it is really modern and good facilitated! Only I did not know one thing that I had better should have known in advance: the museum counts eight! floors. The exhibition on the floors are now and then as small as one floor or as big as two, three, four, or even five floors! Depends on in which area you are walking. More details and explanation and tips and tricks for this museum will be written in a special blog post.

The National Museum of Scotland is not only about the Scottish, the Scotsmen were world explorers! And therefore inspired people and got inspired by other cultures as well. Yes, inspiring, not taking over cultures. At the museum a nice guard explained me about a royal exhibition and that I could join and leave the guided tour when I want to. One hour later at another exhibition I ran into the same guard again, those guards at all the museums switch places throughout the day, kind of rotating system of the guards. Therefore they know lots about all kinds of subjects. So I had for half an hour a nice chitchat about the Scottish people, the culture, the exhibition we were at, the Royal history and how they are all connected to each other and the Brexit. Yes the Royal history is in my opinion extremely complex. From Stuarts, Tudors, Jacobites, Oranges and so on and the many battles that were fought with – the help of – the Scottish the past couple of centuries. What also had a lot to do, in fact is, Royal history as well, is the history of Bonnie St. Charlie and the Jacobites. This is also the name of a temporary exhibition now at the museum and it is really wonderful! Learned a lot and slowly bits and pieces are becoming a vague picture of the Royal family, the battles and the history of the crown!

When you are visiting Edinburgh and this exhibition is still at display, definitely worth a visit because it explains a lot special – non photography permitted – items are at display! Jacobites Jacobites…I had read it already several times throughout the city but who the were, are, and so on….will be written in a special blog post about this exhibition!

The evening


Photo copyright belongs to Sophie van den Akker, not for use without written permission through a correct correspondence.

After I left the museum at closing time, I decided to have an early dinner for I could walk to and through Holyrood Park which was my idea for spending the evening. Nearby the museum I stumbled upon a nice bar named ‘Biblos’. A spacious bar / restaurant / café where I had fresh Fish ‘n Chips from the menu. When you are in the United Kingdom, you have to try that too. Though I believe it is not typical Scottish. But anyways it was delicious and accompanied with Italian Bruchetta, I had fuel enough to walk an approximately 5 miles (around 8km). The walk was again criss-crossing through a lovely neighbourhood, entering Holyrood Park on a side path that ended into a not-official grass path. Astonishing views already from the ground across the deeper valley to the hills. Two major hills at front of which the highest one is the ‘Arthur’s Seat’.

This is also a point where I have to admit I was confronted with traveling on my own. Thinking about: is it too late at the day – because of the daylight – to hike through a enormous park on your own? Who will watch my back? – nobody of course except maybe a passerby. Will the weather stay the same all the time I am hiking / climbing? – guessed not because the wind was changing in strength a lot. Is there a clear route map? Or sign? –> apparently not as well. It really is nature as it is! Lovely but therefore take care, don’t get lost! I decided to just walk a path that did not look too steep and not climbing the stone stairs to ‘Arthurs Seat’. Was already quite a bit afraid of height by seeing those people high on the hill, or mountain to say as a Dutchie living in a flat land. Everywhere near the edge of the hills we had to be aware of falling rocks. Meanwhile I made lots and lots of photos of the incredible view and shared a few with friends and family so they know a bit where I am, how it is and in a kinda way this feels also a bit more safe. Being connected and kind of ‘being watched your back‘ by sharing an update now and then during the walk.

Well, after walking and walking, photo’s, drops of rain, sunshine, runners passing by, dogs playing around and so on…it was time to go home. I crossed the Holyrood Park on a nice path and from there it took me another 3/4 hours before I reached home by foot. Nearby were several bus stops but the busses on that route particular were redirected due to road works. I don’t mind walking when you miss you bus, or two or three bus stops. This gave me the nice and mandatory opportunity to walk through another neighborhood and discover nice cute houses, gardens, churches, pubs and just being in a completely different environment again. This city Edinburgh has so many kinds of different neighbourhoods, areas, parks, churches, every little bit makes you feel your are completely somewhere else again.

Tomorrow or really late tomorrow, my story of Monday will be online, that consists of lots and lots of venues and exhibitions. It has been a busy and long day but I immensely love this kind of holiday. Again a little 1200 words on…Oh I keep on talking – eh writing – ….

Goodnight folks! Oidhche, mhath.

Chan eil aon chànan gu leòr!

Greetings by Sophie