Edinburgh and Trains

Hello Scots!

Recently we made plans to go to Edinburgh, Scotland. And we chose this last weekend to do it. We used our BritRail passes to get there and back since riding a train for up to six hours can get quite expensive.

The trip ended up being very relaxing though. Riding a train is like riding a plane except you are on the ground, there is more leg room, you can walk around without feeling weird about it, and you can bring your own food on. There was one insident when a small girl was listening to hip pop as loud as she could get it and dancing around n the aisles. If I had not been trying to read, I might not have cared but it was rather irritating. Quite a few people left our car to get away from her and her grandmother (who apparently did not care).

Once in Edinburgh we checked into our hostel, which we found on the Hostel World site. (It is a very good site for looking for cheap, but nice places to stay in Europe and America. You can find it here.) It was called the Calodonian Backpackers, and it was rather nice. There were giant murals painted all over the walls in the hallways, bathrooms, and hang out rooms. The bedrooms (or at least the one we stayed in) did not have one, but was painted an orange color.

Afterwards, it was still a bit early in the day, so we went to the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh. There were lots of beautiful flowers, ponds, streams, trees, exotic plants, green houses, and a garden made specifically for the Queen Mother Elizabeth (Queen Elizabeth II’s mother). On the way home we found a police box, similar to the one in Doctor Who, and of course posed for some photos with it. We then went to Wannaburger and stuffed our faces with some delicious hamburgers (veggie burger for me). We then tried to hang out in the bar of the hostel for a while but were so tired from getting up early for our train that we just went to bed and pretty much passed out.

In the morning we got some breakfast at the hostel (it came free with staying there) and embarked on our journey for the day. We went to a church service at a nearby church to see how different/similar it was to our usual ones. We then went to the National Museum of Scotland which had lots of artefacts and information all the way from the beginning of man to present day. To name a few things, it had the skeleton of a giant deer, a plate of Napoleon, a small boat made entirely of silver, Egyptian Hieroglyphics, and a room devoted entirely to Scottish Olympians.

Afterwards we ran over to the Elephant House, the cafe where JK Rowling is said to have first written the Harry Potter series. I had a pot of tea and a Brie and Mango Cuttney sandwich. It was delicious! Then we went on a Scotch Whiskey tour to see how Whiskey is made. It ended with us each getting to try a small taste of whiskey, which for one second tasted like dull caramel and then quickly enveloped into burnt toast mixed with petrol. I could not drink water fast enough.

We then met up with Libby’s friend Cat who is from the area and went to Camera Obscura. It is basically a museum of optical illusions. It was interesting to see all the different ways your mind could be tricked. There was a mirror which switched your head with someone else’s, a table where you looked like a disembodied head resting on leafy greens, a room where one became super small and the other super tall. There was also a twisting tunnel with a bridge running through the middle. The bridge did not move at all but once you stepped into the tunnel, you felt like it was moving all around the tunnel and thought you were going to fall over.

When that was over we went to dinner at a small pub and then headed back to the hostel to sleep. Monday morning we then headed to the train station and headed back to our current home in Oxford.

“It’s the soul’s duty to be loyal to its own desires. It must abandon itself to its master passion.” -Rebecca West


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