Monday, August 31, 2015

I’ve talked about my study abroad experience in London a lot on my blog and I thought I would start a small series where I talk about all the other places I was able to travel to. I’m going to start at the beginning and slowly make my way down the list. My first adventure was a trip to the lovely city of Edinburgh, Scotland.
We went to Edinburgh for a long weekend in February so it was pretty cold out at the time. We arrived Thursday afternoon and first tried to find our hostel. This was the first experience any of us have had with staying at a hostel and it was a pretty good experience. The four of us had a private room with an ensuite, if you haven’t had any experiences with hostels you usually share a room with a bunch of random people you don’t know and share a bathroom with the whole floor so we were very lucky to get this room.

We spent the rest of the first day wondering around the shops on Princes Street, which was near our hostel, and we went up to see the Edinburgh Castle. Once it was starting to get dark out we headed back to our Hostel to get ready for the night.

We thought that because Thursdays are big nights to go out in London and America there would be a lot of people out so we went to a piano bar by our Hostel and I don’t know if it was the bar we chose or people just don’t go out on Thursdays in Edinburgh but the place was almost empty. We didn’t end up staying long and went to bed earlier because we wanted to wake up early.

Friday we got up early to have breakfast at the Elephant House, which is where J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter. The restaurant was so cool and the bathroom was filled with messages to J.K. Rowling from Harry Potter fans. The coffee was amazing and I had eggs and smoked salon which were good but you could probably get it just as good somewhere else.

After breakfast we wanted to do one of the free walking tours of Edinburgh and it was so much fun! We learned so much about the history of the city and fun little facts. We also learned a lot about J.K. Rowling and the places she based Harry Potter off of. We visited a graveyard (yeah I know it sounds sketchy) where we found the tomb stones of Tom Riddle and McGonagall. I think free tours are a great way to see a city and learn the history behind everything instead of blindly taking picture of what you think might be important, and they have these in a lot of different cities. After the tour we were told the company also has a pub crawl they do for 12£ and we signed up to do that night. After the tour ended we went to Calton Hill  which has great views of both the city and Arthur’s seat. It was starting to get late and we had to be at the pub crawl at 8:30 and we had to eat and get ready so we headed back to our hostel.

The pub crawl was so much fun! we met so many other young travelers. Its a great way to meet other people around your age and you get to see a variety of what the cities night-life is about. Also, pub crawls are great deals. We paid 12£ and got a free shot and discounted drinks at every bar and we didn’t have to pay covers. During the pub crawl we met a guy who we made plans with to climb Arthur’s Seat in the morning. If you don’t know what Arthur’s Seat is it’s a volcano that is situated right outside of the city and only a mile away from the Castle that has amazing views of the city and is a great place to hike.

When we were planning what to do in Edinburgh before we came we knew we wanted to go to the top of Arthur’s Seat but we misjudged how difficult it would be and didn’t exactly bring the right attire. I was in leggings and riding boots that have absolutely no traction and because we had no idea what we were doing we ended up going up the steepest and hardest path to get to the top on a day that was freezing and there was a lot of ice. It was a great experience and I would totally do it again but if you know you want to go to Arthur’s Seat bring hiking boots or at least some good sneakers with traction to them. After we got back down the volcano (the easy way this time) we were exhausted. We only had a few hours of sleep and just did some major exercise.

This was our last day and we already saw a lot of what we wanted to see so we wandered around a little bit and went into The National Museum of Scotland but then headed back to the Hostel for a nap before finding one last place to eat before turning in for bed. We had to get up at 4:30 for our flight so our night consisted of hanging out in the hostel and packing before bed.
Edinburgh is an amazing city and is so under-rated. We were there for 3 days and 3 nights and were able to see basically everything we wanted to see. It was one of my favorite cities I visited during my time abroad and I would go back again in a heartbeat. If you have the opportunity to go to Scotland I don’t think you would regret it.
Have you gone to Edinburgh? What was your favorite part of your trip?
See you soon!
x Emily

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