On top of Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh.

On Saturday we went to this big café right by the apartment called Loudons for a late breakfast, and ended up staying much of the rest of the morning because it was so nice. Kev studied for his viva, I read, we wrote our postcards.

Eventually we dragged ourselves outside to walk the length of the Royal Mile through Old Town to Holyrood House (which I would have liked to go into, but I didn’t want to pay £11.50 ($18.64) for the privilege), through Holyrood Park and up Arthur’s Seat, the highest peak in the area, from which to get the best views. The climb was pretty quick, and in places quite steep. We took people’s photos and they took ours, which is always an interaction I enjoy. The views were incredible.

We spent the afternoon walking the north side of town, exploring an amazing graveyard perched up high and looking at a government building that Kev really liked but I though looked totally Communist. Somehow we made the decision to go to the Botanical Gardens; I’m so glad we went, because I adored every step of the walk there. I think we were in New Town, but buildings were still probably like 200 years old. Oh my gosh I loved it so much.

We eventually made it to the Gardens themselves, which did not disappoint. It was a great weekend to be in town actually, because all the leaves were at their peak in the autumnal change. Every direction, all the time, was beautiful. 

We set out in search of dinner, another long and scenic (though wet) walk through that part of town. After we ate some tasty Italian, we walked up to the Royal Mile again and got a whisky each at a whisky bar. (I hate writing that word without an “e” in it! But when in Rome…)

On the back of some very strong recommendations we trekked back up to the castle on Sunday morning and went to an attraction called Camera Obscura, which was like an interactive museum of optical illusions. Maybe it was because I’d heard it talked up so much, but I was underwhelmed.

We had to be out of our AirBnB place by 3, so we headed back to pack up and take our bags for the rest of the day. And then we actually spent the rest of the afternoon back in Loudons; we got lots of food and tea, Kev studied, and I read and wrote and thought.

The plan had been for us to spend a few hours in a pub called The Royal Oak, which I’d read was famous for its music sessions, particularly on Sunday afternoons. It was raining again, and the place was pretty far away and took us a while to find. Well, we got there and it was a tiny place with one guy playing guitar and singing, and about five other people in the room. The vibe was unfriendly and intimidating; not really a place we could order chips and relax. We stayed for two songs, then bolted. “Did you spend any money in here man?” someone called after Kev. So awkward!

Headed to Hogwarts!
It was raining hard at that point, and we didn’t really have time to go to a restaurant and get to the station in time, so we went straight. It was a five and a half hour journey to London, during which I slept and read, Kev worked and then got sleepy and cranky, and we both got annoyed at the loud students sitting across the aisle. Even though he was exhausted and it was 2am, Kev humored me by traipsing around Kings Cross Station once we arrived to find the Platform 9 ¾ sign and take my picture!

My experience of Edinburgh was wonderful, except holy cow, there were SO many Americans. I honestly think that the accent I heard the least of was the Scottish. So many American tourists (like myself), and even more American college kids (which I was recently) on study abroad.

I found them enormously irritating – I hated them actually. This is really worrying because…that is who I am too. That’s where I’m from, that’s what my voice sounds like (well, I’m not so loud/nasal/valley girl – I hope). When I’m here in Europe, whenever I hear an American I think, “Leave, you’re ruining it!” Who do I think I am to react like that? And after another year of conditioning myself to think that Americans are annoying and stupid, how am I going to readjust to living back home? Hopefully it falls away and Americans in America will be comfortable and familiar – I just don’t want to continue to feel like an outsider, not quite lined up culturally – once I go home.