A Visit to Edinburgh

Rolling hills, green grass
Hiking up and climbing down 
On top of the world 

The University of Glasgow has been partnering with Student Tours Scotland to provide us visiting students tours of this beautiful country. Destinations include Loch Lomond, the highlands (and the Harry Potter bridge), and the Trossachs Waterfall. I didn’t get to sign up for any of them by the time they were all sold out, but I quickly found out from my flatmates and friends that there have been at least a dozen empty seats on each tour from students who didn’t follow through with their plans. So, after three of my flatmates and a friend convinced me to try my luck at snagging a spot on the Edinburgh tour, I made the decision to wake up at 6:00am after two and a half hours of sleep.

Before I get started, I’m going to take this moment right now to sincerely express my gratitude to the eighteen students who partied too hard at the “white t-shirt” & “s***e” parties the previous night. If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t have had such an incredible opportunity to tour the beautiful capital of this beautiful country.

The city

Having only been on two and a half hours of sleep, unfortunately a lot of the things the tour guide said early in the morning went straight over my head. I tried to make up for it in the pictures I took. Check them out here at my Flickr page!

Arthur’s Seat

Arthur’s Seat is the main peak of the group of mountains in Edinburgh, United Kingdom which form most of Holyrood Park, described by Robert Louis Stevenson as “a hill for magnitude, a mountain in virtue of its bold design.” It is situated in the centre of the city of Edinburgh, about 1 mile (1.6 km) to the east of Edinburgh Castle. The hill rises above the city to a height of 250.5 m (822 ft), provides excellent panoramic views of the city, is relatively easy to climb, and is popular for hillwalking.(Source: Wikipedia)

DSC_0755.JPG
We approached Arthur’s Seat from the base near the Scottish Parliament.

Note to self: It’s worth it to wear rubber shoes everywhere when abroad. I had incorrectly assumed that a trip to Edinburgh meant only touring the city, so I elected to go for my cuter Dune boots as opposed to rubber shoes. (Even if my assumption was correct, rubber shoes still would have been the much, much smarter option.)

DSC_0766.JPG
My flatmate Annaliese (bottom left) estimated it took us about an hour to reach the top.

We took a break to take a breather, and also to snap some photos of each other.

DSC_0795.JPG
Maria was being a natural at modeling while Tejo was being a natural at photography.

Honestly, when I say these two were naturals at modeling and photography, I mean it.

We packed back up and continued hiking. The trek up to the very top of Arthur’s Seat was grueling — but absolutely rewarding.

We took so many beautiful photos of the view and of each other — I want to share them all in this blog post, but that would take forever! So again, I’m gonna say: The Flickr album is where it’s all at.

DSC_0847.JPG
Here’s a quick and candid snap of some of the folks with whom I climbed Arthur’s Seat.

Of the folks who climbed the mountain, only two of us brought our lunches, so we just sat and enjoyed our lunches and the beautiful view for about an hour and a half. I could have stayed up there forever. As I was sitting there, I just found myself thanking God again and again and again for placing me where I was, for this opportunity to literally live my dreams of exploring a gorgeous green country and share it with incredible friends. I was even able to video chat my parents while we were on top of Arthur’s Seat and share the view with them, too!

I never want to forget how beautiful it was — we had lucked out with a beautifully clear day (seriously, am I even in Scotland?!) and the slightest of cool breezes. I’m completely smitten by this beautiful country and by the beautiful people I’ve been sharing it with.

dsc_0908
I never want to forget how beautiful it was.

Back to the city

wp-1473682498361.jpg
Our tour guide, Gary, was so great.

We headed back down the mountain around 2PM for a walking tour of Edinburgh. Our tour guide, Gary, was so great, casual and hilarious while being incredibly informative. (Shameless plug for Student Tours Scotland. So worth the twenty pounds.) We visited the Grass Market and learned about Half-Hangit Maggie, learned about the history of the unicorn as the national animal of Scotland, and had a stunning view of Edinburgh Castle. I know someone who proposed to his wife at the base of the castle, so being there was all the more special knowing what beautiful memories were made there.

We had more free time by the end of the tour, and so all the students on the tour were free to explore the city for about an hour. We decided to go to the top of Scott Monument after noticing it had a much higher viewpoint of the city than the Ferris wheel next to it.

scott-monument1
Photo from simplonpc.co.uk

The tower stands at 60 m / 196 ft. As if I wasn’t exhausted climbing a 250 m / 822 ft hill on two and a half hours of sleep, we climbed the 287 steps that were so tightly wound I frequently had to take breaks for getting so dizzy. But of course, like with anything, the climb was so worth it.

We climbed back down the dizzying stairs, made our way back to the buses, and just like that, my day-long venture to the capital of Scotland was over. I wish I hadn’t been so sleep-deprived — I feel like I could have appreciated it all the more had I been more well-rested and wearing rubber shoes.

Lessons learned from my visit to Edinburgh:

  1. When traveling, never underestimate the value of rubber shoes.
  2. Also never underestimate the value of getting a good night’s sleep.
  3. RE #2: Then again, when you didn’t get a good night’s sleep because of a lit white t-shirt party the previous night, it’s all still pretty worth it in the end.

As of today, it’s also officially been a week since I’ve arrived in Scotland,

and I already feel so at home here, taking advantage of every opportunity coming my way whether it’s tourism or being a carefree young adult in a new country. My feet are sore from hiking and dancing, my voice is shot from singing at the top of my lungs, but I am in awe every single moment how blessed and how lucky I am to be where I’m at.

Here’s to all the exploration, shared moments, and experiences of a lifetime gained within only one week, and here’s to the many more to come over the upcoming months.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: