Sunday, September 25, 2011

Field trip to Scotland? Count me in

On Wednesday, my fellow study abroaders and I went to Edinburgh, Scotland, for three days. I had never been to Scotland but now I can’t wait until I have a chance to go back. Edinburgh was beautiful - full of medieval buildings, greenery, and open spaces that were so refreshing to see after living in a crowded city.
The first thing we did, after our four and a half hour train ride, was go up to Edinburgh Castle. The castle itself was pretty cool - we got to see the room where Mary, Queen of Scots, gave birth to James IV of Scotland / James I of England, complete with the original painted ceiling - but it was the view that was really stunning. I fell in love with Edinburgh from my first glance and could happily have skipped the audio tour (I know, who am I?) and just taken in the view forever.

We ate dinner at the hostel and had chicken wrapped in bacon and stuffed with wild rice. Well, I'm 90% sure it was wild rice but more and more people are saying it was haggis so if it was, then haggis is actually pretty good.

Thursday morning we went to the Scottish Parliament and got to sit in on part of a debate. It was on the Common Fisheries Policy and what was awesome was that I could follow the debate thanks to my EU Econ class. Hollerrr, I love political science. Only problem was, the panels on the outside of Parliament looked like guns - anyone else see this? Definitely off-putting, and surely not an accident.

After that, we went to the National Museum of Scotland. It was a mishmash of things from dinosaurs to Scottish history, but the prehistoric exhibit was really well presented. Isn’t this a great way of showing jewelry?

We had lunch at The Elephant Cafe aka the birthplace of Harry Potter, and then some of us hiked to the top of Arthur’s Seat. Or at least tried to - we might not have been on the right path and it was partially blocked off, but we got a nice, short, uphill hike in and some great views so I think that counts.

Are you tired of skyline photos yet?

Then I went to tea with some of the girls at an adorable tea shop, where we got shortbread and Scottish Breakfast tea. If my Gramma had a tea shop it would look like that one, and I wish we had places like it in the US. That evening we went to dinner and then drinks and had some really great conversations and bonding time. That was the beauty of this trip - we all grew closer as a group.
Friday we climbed Calton Hill, where there are numerous monuments including the National Monument, modeled after the Parthenon, and a monument to Admiral Lord Nelson of the Battle at Trafalgar. Only 170 steps to the top, and well worth it.

The National Monument

Our train ride home was just as beautiful as on the way there - the first half was along the coast, and the second half looked like the drive from Portland to Eugene. It was a great trip and I def recommend that everyone visit Edinburgh. I’ll come with you! xo

From the train

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