Today we have officially been on this trip in Europe for one week. For some reason, it feels like so much longer…maybe a month. We had another busy day. At breakfast, our group was told that we needed to be ready to leave at 10:30 to leave for a tour of Edinburgh Castle, so a group of us left to go explore the city early that morning. Unfortunately, about five minutes after we left the rest of the group realized that we were actually supposed to meet at 10:00. By the time they realized we had left the hotel, we were long gone in the twists and turns of the city streets. Our exploration didn’t really even amount to anything either. We ended up just wandering the streets until we came across the city to the residential area, and then we turned around and came back. We made it back right on time for the time we thought we were supposed to be there. It was just the incorrect time. Lucky for us the tour guide waited on us and we had no problems after that. The castle was gorgeous, just like the others we had been to in the past week. The castle is at the end of the Royal Mile, a street that leads up a hill to the castle. The Royal Mile is filled with many historical sights, so our tour guide took us on a walking tour of the street and its many alleys and side streets. We ended up going over time, and by the time we were done we were all starving. The itinerary didn’t have anything planned until dinner, so we had quite a bit of free time planned for the day. Mary, Lauren, and I went to a local bar for lunch. The food was really cheap, but unfortunately I didn’t know what most of it was. I think my family would be really proud of me…I’ve come a long way from the picky eater I used to be, the one who only ate chicken nuggets or fish sticks. I ordered lamb mousaka, and in all honesty even after eating it I really have no idea what it was. Thankfully it wasn’t bad.
After lunch, we met up to tour the Queen’s home in Edinburgh. This is where she stays when she comes to visit every June or July. We had actually just missed her because she had been down a few days before us to see the Pope when he came to visit Edinburgh. Although it would have been really awesome to be there while they were both in Scotland, I’m kind of glad that we weren’t. We saw footage of it on the news and the roads and the whole city were a zoo. As it is the city can be overwhelming, and I don’t think that would have been for the greater good of our group for the city to be more crowded than it already was. Anyways, the Queen’s house was very interesting. We got to see her room (which I find very creepy by the way…someone going through my house and wanting to tour my bedroom? Creeperrrrr.) and her bed was enclosed in a glass box. Our theory is that it’s bullet proof for added security. I would not want to have to live like that. Our tour concluded with the ruins in the Queen’s backyard and her gardens.
When we had finished the tour, Brad, Lauren and I decided to climb a mountain. No big deal. Just kidding…it was really REALLY cool. It’s called Arthur’s Seat, and there’s a path that you can hike up to the top. We told stupid jokes the whole way up there and listened to my iTouch to keep our mind off of the actual hiking. It was actually extremely difficult. When we made it to the top though, it was definitely worth it. You could see the entirety of Edinburgh stretched out all around you, plus the ocean and several islands to one side. It was beautiful. I was excited because I got to make a video of myself yelling “FRRREEEEEEEDOOOOOMMMMM!” on a mountaintop in Scotland, which made me feel like I was in Braveheart. In case you haven’t caught on yet, Braveheart is basically my favorite movie right now. It’s been the theme of my whole Scotland experience. It took a long time to climb both up and down, but by the time we got down we believed we had enough time to get back to the hotel for dinner on time. Incorrect. We would have had enough time, but we got extremely lost in the middle of the city. The sad thing was that we actually passed our hotel across the street, but didn’t recognize it because we were coming from a different part of the city that we hadn’t been in yet. I think we ended up being lost for a good twenty minutes, which seemed like even longer because we literally had NO idea where we were at all. We eventually found the hotel though and met up with the rest of the group to make our way to the restaurant where we were going to eat.
What restaurant did we eat at? THE BIRTHPLACE OF HARRY POTTER! That’s right. We ate at The Elephant Room, where J.K. Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter book. It was amazing. People think that the Edinborough University was the inspiration for Hogwarts, and looking at it it’s easy to see why. It’s a castle-like structure that could very much be a magical place. For a Harry Potter fanatic like me, this was really awesome.
After dinner Lauren and I walked around the city some more, then came back to the hotel and made ourselves tea. I am from the south, so sugar in my tea is an absolute necessity. I ended up putting six packets of sugar into my tea, plus some milk. I was so hyper it was kind of ridiculous. I had an experience with another hotel guest in the elevator, and I’m pretty sure he thought I was drunk. For very good reasons, I thought the man in the elevator was one of our group, so I was like calling his name and then I charged into the elevator only for a man to look at me like I was insane. So that was fun.
To top off our evening, Lauren and I went to Brad and Travis’ room to watch The Last Samurai with Tom Cruise. None of us had ever seen it before, and we all liked it a lot. Unfortunately, that movie is forever long. Me being tired, plus all of us being hyper amounted to us not going to bed until like 1:30. And we had to get up at 7:30 for breakfast. Mm, tomorrow will be a party.