Institute for Study Abroad - Butler University

Are you wearing the Invisibility Cloak? I went to your town but couldn't find you. Next time I'm taking the Marauder's Map of Edinburgh.
Mary Doman

I took my bag (as in, single backpack for the whole trip) with me to my 2-4 class on Tuesday, and met up with Claire and Becca at the bus stop right afterwards. Then we just hopped on Platform 9 3/4...

6 hours and 3 train transfers later, we made it to Scotland! It was cold, dark, and rainy.
But we trekked up the huge hill to the castle with good spirits anyways. On the trip we met up with another girl from Davidson, Patty. She's a lot of fun. So anyways we stayed at a really nice hostel. Perhaps the best one I've stayed in so far, though I still hold a special place in my heart for the first one I stayed in (in Madrid, where I slept under a greasy old Italian man for two nights) for some reason. Our hostel was snuggled right to the side of the castle, tucked in a little alley. Thank goodness its sign was lit up or else we probably never would have found it. It was called "Castle Rock Hostel," and was decorated with a billion different types of art and fake plants and knights in armor. Our bedroom was the "Lord of the Rings" room, and I slept in the Gimli bed. I'm not sure the heat was really working, though, so- just like my 'homestay' a few weeks ago, I ended up sleeping in every clothing article I'd packed.

Oh! I had this amazing dream in the hostel, though. I was ON STAGE with John Mayer, and we sang Daughters as a duet. It was incredible.

Anyways, back to reality. The next day we started bright and early. And very hungry! So we passed up the free breakfast (bread and water) and wandered down the Scottish streets looking for food. Of course, in Europe, barely anything opens before noon. After a long walk, we found one little cafe with open doors. Some warm tea and food really perked us up, and the Beatles music playing and our American waitress really topped off the morning! Ha.

So then we did what, like, EVERY tourist has to do: visit the Edinburgh castle. So. Claire and I went all out and even bought the headsets! I wish I could share all the fun facts I learned on our tour, but there's just too much history to really absorb (I mean, the thing's been there since the 9th century BC, I think?!). Basically there were like a million attempts to destroy/restore/destroy/restore by all these different rulers and stuff. I feel like my passion for history is really coming clear in this blog post. Well, okay, what I remember the most is St.Margaret's chapel, a little chapel built by King David in honor of his mom. I just thought it was really sweet. Also we saw the HONOURS OF SCOTLAND (drummmmrroooollllllllllll!!) This is the crown of Scotland, a fancy sword, and a staff. The crown jewels, from what I gathered, were stolen/recovered/stolen/recovered about a million times and now they're resting saftely. Also there's a cemetery for dogs that lived in the castle. Bristish people LOVE dogs. Even more than Americans, I'm sure.

What I liked about the castle was that every different room was like its own mini-museum. And all the museums were really dated and tacky and great! I felt like I was going to a kids museum; there were life-size plastic statues of people and sound clips and murals. Every event was turned into a simple story, and my headsets played bagpipe music in the background the whole time. How Scottish!

So anyways, after a long (and cold) three hours or so at the castle, we went for some traditional Scottish pub food, which included warm beer-but not, unfortunately, butterbeer- and haggis. Haggis = sheep intestines. Delicious!

Then we did what, like, EVERY completely sane and practical person has to do: hunt for JK Rowling! We went to two cafes where she wrote Harry Potter (unfortunately, one is now a Chinese buffet...haha), and the high school that inspired Hogwarts, but no luck. We went to a joke shop too, but couldn't even find the Weasley brothers. There were a lot of Scottish men with white beards, though, so one of them was bound to be Dumbledore. Well this paragraph has been embarrassing enough, so let's move on.

The rest of the day was spent walking down the Royal Mile, seeing the parliament buliding (weirdest architecture ever!), strolling through the University of Edinburgh, looking through locked gates at the Edinburgh Palace, and searching for a plaid scarf under 10 pounds.

I never found a cheap scarf, and have concluded that John Mayer and JK Rowling are wearing them somewhere in Edinburgh, singing a Daughters duet. I'll get them next time!

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