Scotland (4/12-4/15)

I realized I never wrote about Scotland, so here’s a short summary!

We arrived at 7 a.m. on Friday and had the time of our lives! I went with my roommate Kathleen & good friend Olivia. We had a nice little trek to our hostel, the Lighthouse Hostel, and absolutely LOVED it! We immediately made our way to The Elephant House Cafe. This is where J.K. Rowling wrote the 2nd-4th Harry Potter books! It was surprisingly cheap, and the food was very tasty! The bathroom in this place was amazing! There were notes to JK all over the place, thanking her for changing their lives! We spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around the city. This has been by far my favorite city to get lost in! The entire place is beautiful, with a castle on a cliff over looking it all. Perfection. We made it back to the hostel around 4:00 and crashed. I guess waking up at 3 a.m. had finally taken its toll. We woke up at 11:00 to eat and hydrate. The hostel had a kitchen stocked with free pasta and tea. (Now you know what we are all weekend!!) White we were eating we met a few friendly people. The most interesting being Yalchin, from Turkey, who were ending up spending a lot of the weekend with.

This was definitely a relaxing trip. We weren’t in any rush to get up, so we slept in then had free breakfast. It was nice and sunny today so we started to wander around. We passed the school the JK used as inspiration for Hogwarts and decided to explore. It looked identical, especially on the inside. Every but was mesmerizing. We walked up and down the Royal Mile, the architecture here is truly amazing. We saw our fair share of Scotsman playing the bagpipes. Then we joined a free walking tour around the city. It took about 3 hours, and I now feel like I know every detail of Scotland! The type ended at the castle, but we didn’t go in. It cost 15 Euro that I did not have! On the tour we also learned the story of Bobby. He was the dog of a watchman over the cemetery. When the man died Bobby stayed by his grave for 12 years. He stayed there right up until the day he died himself! It was a fascinating story, and is Edinburgh ‘s claim to fame. We went for supper at a place called the Fiddlers Arm in the grassmarket. I had my first taste of haggis! The taste isn’t bad, it’s the texture I can’t get past!

Today we climbed Arthur’s Seat, and we picked the worst day to do it! It was overcast, windy, and rainy.¬† We all had a blast anyways! Yalchin went with us and practically had to push me to the top, then hold on to me one we got there. I have never felt wind this string. I genuinely thought I may blow away! The view from the top was worth it though! On one side you saw the sea, and the other the city! Definitely worth the hike in the wind!! The highlight of my day was the Harry Potter your we took next. JK got some much inspiration from her surroundings the I practically felt like I was in the books! I even for to see Voldemort’s grave, aka Thomas Riddle! The best part of the tour was carrying around wands as we walked through the streets! For dinner Yalchin cooked us a traditional Turkish meal at the hostel. I could not tell you what it was besides good! We shared with the entire hostel, Yalchin took plates door to door! We wrapped up the night and the trip by watching a movie in the common room together. We thought it was only appropriate to watch a Scotish movie, so we chose Rob Roy.

Up at 4:00 a.m. for the flight back to Dublin! Learning the hard way to stop planning early morning flights!!


Celtic Tour: April 6

Today we got a tour of Old Ireland. I wasn’t sure what to expect. Most of our day consisted of grave sites & churches, so now when I think of Ireland that is all I can think of.

We went to Fourknocks first. It was a big mound of grass with a tomb under it. It had passages leading to the North, East & South. After being creeped out by practical jokes I didn’t want to stay much longer. Or next visit was to a cemetery where I saw 500 more Celtic Crosses. One of my new favorite hobbies is trying to depict the meanings on each one.

Next came my favorite part of the day. We went to Hill of Slane & Hill of Tara, which is where St. Patrick first brought Christianity to Ireland. It’s an amazing legend that you should look up if you have the time! Both places were beautiful especially since the sun was shining. At Hill of Slane there was a graveyard with castle ruins beside it. What do all the Americans do? Climb the castle. We were there for at least an hour attempting to find new and higher places to climb. I think mostly we were trying to get as high as possible to bask in the sun. At Hill of Tara one in the group was cursed. It was said if you steal a stone from the ¬†tomb at Fourknock or walk through the entry at Tara you would grow horns & a tail. Megan did both, surprisingly she woke up without horns or a tail the next morning.

We ended the day with ice cream, cream soda & a bumpy bus ride home!