Saturday, January 5, 2013


Today all the international students had the chance to go to Edinburgh, have a guided bus tour through the city, then have a free afternoon to explore. This was all put on by the amazing international student support system for the very reasonable price of £10. We left Glasgow at 10 this morning and arrived about 30-45 minutes later.The first part of the trip was a guided bus tour through the city. An Edinburgh resident boarded our bus and told us all about the historic buildings that take up the majority of the city. This is because in Edinburgh you're not allowed to knock down any buildings, but rather you have to renovate and re-purpose them. We drove through the two main streets, Princes street which has a lot of shopping, and the Royal Mile, which is comprised of tons of historic buildings, all leading up to Edinburgh Castle. After about an hour tour we were dropped off and set free to roam about as we pleased. 

View from the hill
Becca and I went off by ourselves with the purpose of finding The Elephant House, the highly publicised birthplace of Harry Potter (actually she only wrote a couple of chapters there but I'll get to that later). Becca and I wandered for a bit in an attempt to find it, but instead we ended up at Edinburgh Castle which has beautiful views of the city. We didn't go in it this time since we were limited on time but we took pictures of the city and of the entrance to the castle.

In front of Edinburgh Castle

Walking back down the hill from the castle a street performer was just about to start his show and Becca loves magicians so we stopped to watch. He was extremely funny and ended his show by escaping from a straight jacket while also being wrapped in chains. After his show as we were giving him some change he started talking to us and him and his friend told us about some must see places around the city and gave us some directions. We had told them that we wanted to go to The Elephant House and they told us that it was rubbish. The prices were super high and J.K. had only written there a little, but there was another cafe called Spoon that she wrote in every day but has no cashed in on that fact. They also told us where to find Greyfriars Cemetery which is where J.K got some of the inspirations for the characters' names in Harry Potter (there is a McGonagall and a Tom Riddle buried there) and its also supposed to be one of the most haunted cemeteries. Unfortunately the cemetery was closed so we couldn't look around. We also didn't find Spoon on this trip but there will definitely be another one. 

Becca and Dolly
We ended the day by spending time in the National Museum of Scotland (free admission) which had a lot of cool things like Dolly the sheep (the first cloned animal) and a good selection of animals. We didn't have a lot of time left and we wanted to make sure we got back to the bus in time so we couldn't spend too much time in the museum. After seeing some cool things we headed out and found our way back to the buses. We had some time to spare so we went into the cemetery that was next to our buses. It was pretty dark so we couldn't read the names but it made the atmosphere really fun. After about a five minute walk we boarded the bus again and headed home. We were supposed to go out with some girls that we had met but we decided we were pooped and stayed in instead. All in all it was an amazing day with many beautiful sights. There will most certainly be another adventure to Edinburgh in our midst. 
Watch tower at Old Calton Cemetery

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