Well, folks, I’m back in Austria.1 The United Kingdom was a lot of fun, though, and I managed to squeeze in a trip up to Scotland at the end.2 And let me tell you, folks, I am very glad I did – only got a day and two nights up there, but it was definitely enough time for me to absolutely fall in love with the city.
It’s a couple different things, really – thanks to Rebecca and her family, I’ve had a deep love of the Scottish accent for quite a while.3 And secondly, Edinburgh specific, is the fact that it’s an old city in a very different way than any of the other European cities I’ve seen this semester. Vienna has a very distinct architectural style, and as long as you stay in the first district you’ll only see, like, four buildings that don’t match that. Prague’s specific style is enforced by the World Heritage Organization. And I don’t really approve of that – it makes for a nice tourism industry, yeah, but living there, you can get bored of it all pretty quickly.
Edinburgh didn’t have that problem – yes, it’s easy to tell that it’s old and a lot of the stuff has been there for a while, but there’s a sense of freedom to the architecture, and the way it varies, that I just didn’t get from anywhere else. I loved it.4
But hey, time to share the love, and that means pictures.
One of the first things I saw, arriving in the city, was this spire – it’s a few blocks away from the train station, and it’s just exactly my architectural aesthetic, so I snapped a picture.5
We actually arrived in the city rather late in the day, grabbed dinner, and then headed over to the place we were spending the night.6 The next morning, we were up7 and headed into the city.
Crossing the bridge, we headed up the hill towards the castle…
… which commands some rather nice views of the city as a whole.
Down at the bottom of that hill is the Queen’s Scottish residence, and the Scottish parliament. It’s a great example of that sort of mixed style that the city has – the Parliament, a stunning piece of modernist architecture, is basically across the street from a castle that’s probably older than the USA.8
After that, we split up, and Chase and I spent the next, like, seven hours wandering around the city. First, we headed up the other hill in the city to see some fancy… ruin-y… stuff?
The downside to not having a tour guide is not really knowing what anything is, but hey, I can still appreciate pretty views.
Because, seriously, just look at that.
From that hill, we decided to head over to the mountains that make up Holyrood Park. Got a bit lost – Google Maps doesn’t hold up too well against tightly-packed bunches of streets, and Apple Maps just kinda sobbed incoherently when we tried. Fortunately, the old-fashioned method of “aim for the tall thing and keep walking that way” worked pretty well.
The park is beautiful, by the way.
Midway up, there’s a nice bit of ruins – an old church.9
Getting up to the peak takes a good bit of effort,10 but again, totally worth it.
Edinburgh is beautiful, and I’m absolutely willing to bet that the rest of Scotland is just as beautiful. I so very want to go back.
- I was going to write stuff on the plane but, y’know, planes. ↩
- By “managed to squeeze in” I mean “threw money at my airline tickets until they became a flight home from Edinburgh airport instead of London Heathrow.” I’m afraid to look at my budget spreadsheet right now. ↩
- It’s beautiful, and if you haven’t listened to any of Becca’s music you really should because she’s incredible. ↩
- To the point that I may or may not have started asking around about how hard it is to get UK citizenship. ↩
- Chase doesn’t approve of my laissez-faire style of “see a thing I want a picture of, take twenty pictures, assume one will be good” photography – he’s a “see a thing he wants a picture of, spend twenty minutes framing the perfect shot and getting the camera settings exactly right, and then snap three photos for luck” kind of guy. ↩
- Shoutout to Cailyn, who let us crash in her apartment and made the whole trip possible and not prohibitively expensive for us broke college kids, you rock! ↩
- Well, at like 10, but still ↩
- I kinda assume most things in Europe are older than the USA, we’re a wee little babby country. ↩
Cute Moment: a mom playing hide-and-seek with her daughter. When the girl finished counting, she goes “ready or not, here I come! I don’t care if you’re not ready!”
I dunno, I guess it’s a “you had to be there” thing, but the fact that the second part was also in rhythm really entertained me. ↩
- Unless you take the easy way up that we didn’t find out about until we were already at the top. And also ignored for the way down. ↩