Monday, February 4, 2013

A Scottish Sunrise

Hello guys and gals! It's been a little while, but no worries, I have many a photo for you. This past weekend I visited Edinburgh (Edin- Burrow) Scotland which, so far, is my favorite city! I know I say that each time I write, but I really loved it there! Not only did I go on an underground ghost tour but I visited the birth place of Harry Potter and I got to hike for the first time in a very very long time. The shopping wasn't bad either. So sit back, cross your kilted legs and enjoy a Scottish journey.
To your left will see an artsy tilted photo of The Royal Mile. It is a road, that runs from the top of the hill at Edinburgh Castle all the way down the hill to Holyrood Palace which is where the Queen stays when she visits Scotland. The Royal Mile, believe it or not, isn't actually a's longer. along this more-than-a-mile, there are shops and churches and statues of famous Scottish people. It was a lovely place.
 Again, to the left is a picture of a street sign of the royal mile. High Street is the street at the top of the Royal Mile where a lot of very wealthy people lived. It's said that, the closer to the castle you lived, the richer you were. Makes sense. We walked all of the mile and shopped and saw a lot of kilts and tartan, which is the pattern of the Scots. It's basically plaid.

 Down the hill near Holyrood, is where Scottish Parliament is. This wall outside Parliament was visually interesting and confusing. We couldn't figure out what was carved into it, but every few feet or so there was a quote from a scottish person.

The most exciting stop of Friday night was The Elephant House! This is the cafe that J.K. Rowling started writing Harry Potter. As you can see by the picture, they are quite proud of they should be! The food was great and the decor was filled with elephants! It was a perfect place to be inspired.

In the loo (bathroom) the walls are FILLED with notes to J.K. Rowling, thanking her for all her work. To your left you will see my contribution. I had to sit on the floor to write this and it took forever because my pen kept dying but I love the idea that my note is on the wall and will stay there forever. It just gives me a reason to go back :)

Above you will see my lovely meal from The Elephant House. The sauce in the bowl next to the bread was pesto and olive oil, you could say I was a very happy girl that night.

To your left you'll see a sign. In order explain what it is, I have to tell a story. So here goes. A long long time ago, back in the medieval ages the population of Edinburgh was growing rapidly. When the people could no longer build out, past the city walls, they started digging. They dug far into the ground creating very very narrow streets between the buildings along The Royal Mile. Each of these streets was called a 'close'. The streets are now underground because in the 1800's the Scottish chamber of something really important decided to build on top and close the streets off to the sky. Now, they run haunted ghost tours through the underground streets of the city and share stories of the plague victims and intentionally scare you with rubber mice. My friend claims she felt pressure on her neck while we were in a supposedly haunted room. I claimed her crazy. The Close we toured was Mary King's Close which is famous one because it was named after a woman which means that she was a wealthy business person in her day.

This is the spectacular view from Arthur's Seat,  the highest point in Edinburgh right before sunrise. Though it's only 830 ft up it's a tough climb, in the dark, in the wind and in the cold with people who have never hiked before. The mountain-- to those from the 303 it's a hill-- is steep and icy, which is what made it hard to climb... in the dark. However, the view was so worth it. Looking over the city on to the North Sea was one of the greatest instances of my life. The sunrise from here was definitely worth the 5am wake up call.

Though the photo does not do it justice, the sunrise from Arthur's Seat was an experience I have yet to find words for. It was as though every action and every moment in my life was all for one purpose, so that I could be here for this sunrise. It was an ultimate, supreme, defining moment that I will always have with me. It made me feel alive. I was aware of every muscle in my body and the pattern of my breathing, the smell of the wind and the cold rock I was sitting on. But I didn't notice how sore I was from scaling an icy mountain and I didn't feel the wind cut against my cheeks and the cold rock under me didn't seem to matter. It was all perfect.

 After a well deserved nap, my friends and I decided to spend the day shopping on Princes St. On our way, we casually ran into a man in the full Scottish bagpipe get up, complete with the feathered hat. We snapped some photos, gave him a vague amount of change and continued on to the Scots Memorial!

The Scots Memorial was so beautiful! This is the top of the memorial against the sky. The intricate details on the stone were phenomenally done and to see it in person was quite the privilege.

 Before shopping for Haut Couture that none of us could afford, we decided to get some grub. We couldn't find any grub so we had to settle for a delicious panini with a nice small glass of wine..... to ease our sore muscles of course.

In a cooking shop we found lots and lots of chocolate! Here, the lovely Jackie shows off a giant Lindor chocolate ball. We couldn't stay long because I was afraid I was just going to buy the whole store. After Jenner's department store, which is where this picture was taken, we walked along Princes street and I purchased a satchel and a cute dress from a scottish shop. I picked up some gifts for the family and was satisfied.

On our way from shop to shop we saw some homeless people begging for money. This one man, was sitting up against the wall playing the guitar and in front of him was his dog, holding a hat in is mouth! I passed him, started crying, walked back toward them, gave the dog 40pence and an pet, FORGOT TO TAKE A PICTURE, and continued on. I regret not taking the picture because it was probably the most adorable thing in the world!

 Across from the shops on Princes St. you can see the Edinburgh Castle shown here in all of its glory.
This is a random picture of a gate we walked through in a park at the bottom of a cliff. I thought the rust was pretty and I really liked the shape of it all.

Above, to the left and below you will see all the wonders of the roman fort we visited at Hadrian's wall. Begun in 122AD, under the rule of emperor Hadrian, it was the first military fort built across Great Britain. It was cold and windy and miserable, but I managed to snap some photos of the very exciting moss on the rocks for your viewing pleasure.

I did get a picture of some sheep though! I found them to be adorable. If I had any good sheep puns I'd use one but they're all baaaaaad. Haha, there you go.

 For Those of you who know me, you know that I LOVE cupcakes. So you can understand that when we visited the architecturally beautiful city of Durhan, the only thing I was interested in was Red Velvet and cream cheese!

 This brings me to a sad goodbye to Scotland. It's a lovely country with many proud citizens and lovely sites to see. So, feel free to shimmy out of your kilts, I'm sure they're itchy. Enjoy the Super Bowl everyone!!

Cheers! :)