Good mornin’ lad!
I must say, I love the accents here in the United Kingdom. British has always been one of my favorites, but I do enjoy the Scottish accent as well (even though it is quite a bit harder to imitate. Believe me, I tried.). We had our last day in Scotland today, and it was busy like the rest of our days here. Edinburgh is quite a bit different than London, but has been surprisingly busy. I love the feel of the city- there is a University here so there are students around my age around constantly especially as you wander off the Royal Mile. It’s fascinating to see the blend of old and historic mixed with the more contemporary feel of the people and culture. Edinburgh is progressive overall, at least from the people I interacted with. It also was interesting to be here right now in lieu of the political situation of the United States. I won’t go into my opinion on the matter, but I will say that people here did look and interact with us differently and based it on our opinions. Also, the front page of their newspapers and much of their news was based on what was happening in the United States. We got to see protests and a march in the streets of Edinburgh as well regarding President Trump. It was a fascinating time to be here right now after the inauguration to experience how another country reacts to US politics.
Enough on that, back to the fun stuff! I completed two major things I wanted to accomplish in Scotland: having a scotch and eating Haggis. Our hotel had Haggis in the breakfast, which was perfect because to be honest I wasn’t too confident about ordering it on its own. Surprisingly, I actually quite enjoyed it. If you are not sure what is in Haggis, go ahead and google it but I will say it has some interesting ingredients. Perhaps one of the most fun nights of the trip was Kate and I going to a couple pubs in Edinburgh last night. We went to Deacon Brodie’s Tavern. This was exactly what I pictured for a pub in Scotland and was a lot of fun to sit and enjoy a scotch. The next one we went to was one up the street. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the name, but they had live music, which was a lot of fun to listen and dance to.
Crossed another item off of the bucket list today: visiting the birthplace of Harry Potter. Nerdy, I know. There is more to it though. One of my favorite memories of childhood was my mom reading the books to me. How special for me then, to be here with my mom and getting to go to The Elephant House Café. I can see why she chose this place to come. It has good food, a great view of the Edinburgh Castle and a cool atmosphere. Adorned post-Harry Potter, the bathroom is also quite a sight (see the pictures below). This was a great last breakfast experience in Edinburgh. We also snapped a quick picture of Victoria Street, inspiration for Diagon Alley in the movies.
After breakfast, we headed to Edinburgh Castle. Like the Tower of London, this was one of my favorite places because of its history. Not only that, there were also great views overlooking Edinburgh. One interesting part that tour actually connected back to Westminster Abbey. In the Abbey, there is the coronation chair that the newly crowned King or Queen sits on during the ceremony. We found out in Edinburgh that this chair was specifically made for that chair after the joining of Scotland and English monarchs. Therefore, whenever there is a coronation of an English ruler, the stone is brought from the Edinburgh Castle to London and placed in the chair. This was an interesting connection back to London. I could go into more history, but if you want to learn more check out Edinburgh Castle.
We walked around and did some shopping when we were done with the castle. There are many tourist shops selling traditional Scottish items along the Royal Mile. Our favorites were looking at all of the different plaid wool and cashmere scarves. We ate at a chicken place called Nandos, which was very good. Then we went down and saw the Holyrood Palace, where the British Royal family stays when they are in Edinburgh. Like every other royal palace or place of residence, it was grand and someplace I would not complain about staying at. Since this was our last day, we walked around enjoying the sunshine before our train left. We had a moment of panic when we got to the train station because our train was canceled due to a double fatality earlier in the day. Fortunately, we were able to get on a train that left 30 minutes later than the one we were going to go on.
Some other sights from around Edinburgh:
Alas, that is all for Scotland (for now). It was sad to leave, but I have a feeling I will be back here someday.