My Heart Belongs to Scotland!

My Heart Belongs to Scotland!

My lovely readers: I have some pretty sad news. After spending two days in Edinburgh this past weekend, I have returned to London -- without my heart. It is officially the property of Scotland. My trip there was, without a doubt, the highlight of my Intern Abroad experience thus far. I am already trying to plan a return trip as soon as possible! It is full of tradition, cobblestone streets, friendly Scots with spectacular brogues, and more history than you could imagine.

 

 

I certainly never expected to enjoy Scotland as much as I did; although it is part of the U.K., the Scots and the English have a pretty heated relationship. In 2014, there will be a vote regarding whether Scotland should declare its independance from the United Kingdom, and it isn't hard to see why. Scottish culture is completely different than English culture, and there was a noticable different when I was there this past weekend. English culture is, in my experience, more formal. Scots seems warmer, informal, and welcoming (this might have something to do with the fact that most start drinking around 11 a.m. -- but hey, to each his own)! The rich history and traditions that I have been having difficulty finding in London abound in Scotland, and although it's touristy, I couldn't get enough of men in kilts, bagpipe players, and haggis (just kidding, I stayed as far away from that as possible).



We took a train very early on Saturday morning from London King's Cross Station, and we pulled into the station in Edinburgh in about four and a half hours. We had to leave our flat at 6 a.m. to catch our 7 a.m. train, so although I did enjoy watching the gorgeous English countryside roll by my window for part of the trip, a lot of it was spent sleeping. Once we got to Scotland, we checked into our hostel and started to explore the city. It was a miserable day weather-wise, and we had to make an emergency stop for rainboots. We first stopped in The Elephant House, which is the restaurant where JK Rowling first started writing Harry Potter -- on napkins! After our late lunch, we walked around the Royal Mile, which is a mile of shops leading up to Edinburgh Castle. Although much of it was touristy, we were able to find a warehouse connected to a kilt-maker and weaver, and I bought a tartan blanket made from 100 percent Scottish wool. I am already looking forward to spending winter in the U.S., snuggled up in my blanket!

 

 

The following day, we spent time exploring the city and taking a trip to Edinburgh Castle. The castle sits high up on a hill above the rest of the city, and is visible from almost anywhere. Although the castle definitely seemed imposing at times, I think that I would have appreciated its presence if I was living there during the Medieval times, knowing that there were always people watching for impending attacks. The actual view from the castle was extraordinary -- you could see clearly for miles and miles. The castle is home to recreated Royal Apartments as they would have been when Mary Queen of Scots served as queen from 1542-1567, the Royal Jewels of Scotland, the Scottish War Memorial, and a Prisoners of War/Castle Prison exhibit, among other things. It was an exceptional experience. Before I left, I made sure to get a Scottish flag to hang up in my room when I get home. That way, I'll never lose sight of my goal to eventually return.

 

I am now back in London for three days, and will be flying out to Nice, France on Wednesday night. I'm going to spend five days there on the Cote d'Azur, and soak up some sunshine and heat before returning to London for my last week here. It is crazy how fast it has gone -- stay tuned for more updates in my last two weeks! Cheers!

 

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