"Yet in my heart of hearts I long to be buried among the good scots clods. I will say it fairly...there are no stars as lovely as Edinburgh street lamps."
-R. Louis Stevenson
I can't say that I necessarily want to be buried in Scotland, but I did thoroughly enjoy spending my first weekend in the UK amongst the men in kilts. I promise I am in the middle of the most academically rigorous two months of my life, but our program decided to treat us to a spectacular kick-off weekend.
We left on Wednesday and stopped in Richmond, England.
view from the castle
a quick break from the rain
After an excruciatingly long bus ride, we made it to the scottish border, where of course everything started looking plaid :)
I spent the next two days exploring Edinburgh. Sidenote: I was still in my broken foot boot at this point, and it rains incessantly in Scotland, which made for some interesting, highly acrobatic falls.
First, I stopped at the Edinburgh castle, which, it is important to note, was the inspiration for Hogwarts. I loved the Mary Queens of Scots exhibit and the War Memorial.
I learned about many famous Scots through the Writers Museum and the monuments including Sir Walter Scott, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Robert Burns. Oh, and I can't forget Adam Smith who we (the econ nerds) made proud with a little supply and demand :)
I took an insiders tour of parliament and got to see the actual debating chambers as well as some of the committee rooms.
I climbed to the highest point in Edinburgh (Arthur's Seat) for sunset, but of course didn't have my camera and thus took a picture from afar the next day.
I went to the Dan Brown's inspiration for DaVinci Code, the Rosslyn Chapel (which doesn't even mean rose line and is not at all how the book depicts it). But it was one of the most ornate and unique churches I have seen.
Finally, I did something completely out of character and went on a Ghost tour. Edinburgh is notorious for its dark, gruesome past and its perpetual hauntings. We clambered through the damp cellars of bridges where thousands of people were burned alive and crammed into the chambers of the first concentration camp in Europe. I nearly peed my pants... multiple times. Needless to say, I slept with the light on that night!
And then we said goodbye to the beautiful city of Edinburgh.
BUT...on the way hoe we received a delightful surprise when we stopped for lunch at Fountains Abbey. The oldest abbey ruins in the world, these have been standing since 1132!