My apologies for my absence recently. Believe it or not, I actually had work to do. Four essays currently loom over my head and maniacally mock me when I least expect it. This week, the only destination to which I shall travel is the kitchen to make tea and then back to my desk to continue procrastinating writing. But enough of my scholastic woes, let’s move on to the exciting bit. I recently set out on a journey to Edinburgh, Scotland! Ah, yes, the land of tartans, heavy accents, and Braveheart. I would kilt to go back.
On my first day in Scotland, the weather was only somewhat freezing. By Scottish standards, that meant it was a beautiful day. I capitalized on the weather by taking a hike up Arthur’s Seat, the highest point in Edinburgh, described by Robert Louis Stevenson as “a hill for magnitude, a mountain in virtue of its bold design.” After hiking up the entire mountain in the blistering cold wearing the best possible hiking attire (see: riding boots, a button-up shirt, sweater, and pearls), I can certainly attest to its magnitude.
After a grueling hike, some refueling was in order. Cue the Elephant House, the cafe in which J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter!
As I sat inside sipping my Yorkshire tea, I could imagine J.K. Rowling sitting by the window, dreaming up the world that would become such a big part of my childhood. The most meaningful part of the Elephant Cafe was actually the loo. Yes, you heard me correctly. The loo. Why, might you ask? Well, because Harry Potter aficionados have left thousands of graffiti messages addressed to J.K. Rowling thanking her for the books and the great impact they have had on their lives. I admittedly spent more than my allotted amount of time in the loo reading the book quotes and sentimental messages on the walls.
To culminate my first day in Scotland, a friend suggested walking through the graveyard, which provided J.K. Rowling with name inspiration for a variety of her characters. As I sit writing this now, going into a muddy graveyard late at night without a flashlight does not seem like the best idea, but Janelle of a week ago did not seem to have the same qualms about it, so she acquiesced.
It took a long time to find the tombstones we sought in the dark, but we eventually succeeded.
Finally, a nighttime walk to Edinburgh Castle was in order.
On my second day in Edinburgh, I discovered a piece by my favorite Scottish artist at the National Gallery of Scotland.
By this point in time, my dear reader probably knows that the only element of culture I enjoy more than art, architecture, and museums is the edible kind: food, glorious food. Hence, while in Edinburgh, I had to try the classic Scottish fare known as haggis. Do not ask what is in it.
I desired to attain one souvenir in Scotland: a traditional Royal Stewart Tartan scarf. In my illustrious quest for a scarf from the Royal Mile, a historical street in Edinburgh, I spotted a number of gentlemen wearing kilts to celebrate the Six Nations Rugby Match, which occurred later that day.
We watched the Scotland vs. England rugby match at a pub in the afternoon, and let’s just say there were some rather morose Scots by the end of it.
All in all, Scotland proved herself to be an exceedingly charming host for a weekend, and I would be happy to return any time. In particular, the people I met there were wonderfully gregarious and possessed the “gift of gab” (in other words, they are happy to share their entire life story with you). I shall leave you with one last image of Scotland…
Haste ye back now (Scottish for “farewell”)!