Our flight from Dublin left at 6am and landed us in Edinburgh around 7am. When we arrived at the city center everything felt very dream like. Edinburgh looks like you just stepped into a fairy tale. Walking down to cobblestone streets you see ancient architecture on every corner, bagpipes whistling in the air, and the almighty highlands rolling in the distance. Our first stop was the Edinburgh castle. We toured the grounds and learned a lot about the history of Edinburgh, glanced at the crown jewels, and admired the city from high up. As we left the castle we passed by St. Giles Cathedral and decided to peak inside. Our timing could not have been more perfect for when we walked inside the choir had just begun to practice. We sat in the pews in awe of the sound and of the cathedral.
We were getting hungry at this point so we went in search of the famous Elephant cafe, home of Harry Potter. This cafe is where JK Rowling actually sat and wrote many of the Harry Potter books. Harry Potter was a huge part of my childhood, so seeing where it all started was quite a treat. In the bathroom people from all over the world have written messages to JK Rowling thanking her for her magical novels. It is touching to me that so many people from so many different parts of the world can come together and bond over one thing.
We continued our Harry Potter tour by visiting Greyfriars Kirkyard, a graveyard behind the cafe. In this graveyard stands the headstone where JK Rowling got the inspiration for the name Tom Riddle. We searched the graveyard and eventually found it, and sure enough it read,"To the memory of Thomas Riddell". Once again, it was a very cool moment for my inner thirteen year old. We left the graveyard and explored the city some more and eventually stumbled upon a Barbour store. If you are unfamiliar with the brand they are a high quality ready to wear fashion brand based in the UK. They are know for their durable jackets and timeless designs.
I have wanted a Barbour jacket for quite some time now, and where a better place to buy it than in UK? I bit the bullet and purchased a beautiful navy quilted jacket with tartan lining. It was perfect timing too because the wind had begin to pick up at this point and I needed something warmer for our next stop.
Nina and I decided when in Scotland you must see some rolling hills, so we braved the chilling winds and climbed to the top of Aurther's Seat. The view was unbelievably breath taking and well worth the hike. From where we stood we could see the entire city, the coast, and a bit of the highlands. I sat on one of the rocks and simply marveled at all of the beauty before me.
when we hiked back down it was around four so we headed to our hotel to check in. Once we were in the room we immediately passed out on the bed. I checked my phone and it read that we had walked a total of eighteen miles that day, so a nap was well deserved. When we woke we got dressed and went out to discover the historic Dean Village. It was such a charming part of town with its many quaint cottages. we walked through the village a bit then decided it was time for dinner.
We walked to a quieter part of town and found a pub filled with locals, all over sixty. We had so many pounds left we decided to splurge on dinner. That night we enjoyed a four course meal including haggis and the best beer i've ever had, Belhaven Best. Once our stomachs were full and our pockets were empty we decided we needed something to commemorate the weekend. So after we paid we hid our pint glasses in our jackets, and casually left the pub. We laughed all the way home so proud of our new souvenirs. The next morning we hailed a cab to the airport, and the drive there was beautiful. The sun was just beginning to rise as we past fields of flowing grass and grazing sheep. I will always have a special place in my heart for Scotland and Ireland. I hope to return again some day, but until then I suppose my memories will have to do.