One Week In

Good morning from Edinburgh! I woke up this morning thinking about the fact that I’ve been gone exactly one week today, and a new “normal” is setting in. I’m increasingly used to the nightly unpack/repack routine; used to introducing myself to new roommates several times over two or three days, used to being lost and asking random people for directions, and used to literally walking miles and miles every day, until I can’t take another step.

I love Edinburgh. I think if you took Milwaukee, aged it about 600 years, and added a few more cathedrals, Milwaukee would be about the same as Edinburgh. A small city, inexpensive, and pretty friendly as well. I got in on Wednesday night, and I am staying in the loveliest hostel I have ever seen. It’s crazy-like living in a well run yoga studio. Smells a little like sage and incense, soft music playing in all common areas,requires everyone to exchange shoes for slippers at the door, provides free breakfast, and is off the beaten track so that the street is quiet, but still close to the city center. A really excellent choice.

Edinburgh has been similarly lovely over the last few days. The first night I walked around and had a giant bowl of ramen for dinner at Wagamama. This was Wednesday, which started with pouring rain in London, prompting me to pretty much hunker down at Kings Cross station until my train at 2. What sounded boring turned out to be completely great. Things I saw/did at Kings Cross:

  • Watched an eagle hunting pigeons
  • Visited platform 9 3/4
  • Saw a Good Samaritan help a total stranger who was having a seizure (he was fine and walking, ultimately)
  • Browsed multiple bookstores and Harry Potter shops without spending ANY money
  • Ate more Worcestershire flavored potato chips than is healthy, probably.

And so is boarded my train. The last time I took this journey, it was really dark since I left late after class, so it was cool to see more of the countryside and catch passing glimpses of Doncaster, York, and Newcastle. I could see the ocean also for most of the trip, and many sheep. I did fall asleep at one point, which almost caused me to jump off at the wrong station (a little disoriented when the train stopped at Berwick). But it was an easy and pleasant 4 hours.

Yesterday was my big day here. Cold, gloomy, and windy, but I didn’t let that stop me from:

  • Climbing the extinct volcano up to Edinburgh Castle and seeing the Scottish Crown Jewels
  • Visiting the National War Museum (seriously, this Great War stuff has me in tears every, single time.).
  • Walking on the Royal Mile
  • Eating potato leek soup and caramel shortbread at Southern Cross
  • Watching some really terrible street performers
  • Getting coffee at the Elephant House (birthplace of Harry Potter!)
  • Visiting Greyfriars Kirkyard and getting locked in the cathedral, needing rescue from a security guard (oops)
  • Going on a free Ghost Tour (more historical than scary, but I like learning)
  • Sharing some pints and singing along with Scottish folk music at the White Hart.

So I’m fitting a lot in. Today I will try to visit a few more exhibits and eat lunch. I get on the bus to Glasgow at 6, which will mark the end of “revisiting old haunts” and the beginning of “unexplored lands”. I’m still having a blast though, and can’t wait to see what happened next!

No way was I going to pass this up. Even to asking a random to take the picture-wasn't going to pay the £9.50 in the shop.

No way was I going to pass this up. Even to asking a random to take the picture-wasn’t going to pay the £9.50 in the shop.

Roof at Kings Cross

Roof at Kings Cross

Chili ramen with chicken-yummm

Chili ramen with chicken-yummm

Standing on the mountaintop. Don't judge the face-the wind was nuts!

Standing on the mountaintop. Don’t judge the face-the wind was nuts!

Birthplace of Harry Potter!

Birthplace of Harry Potter!

Looking down the Royal Mile to the Firth of Forth. This is what reminded me of Milwaukee, I think.

Looking down the Royal Mile to the Firth of Forth. This is what reminded me of Milwaukee, I think.

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