Let’s talk about the exciting things I’ve been doing, like:
- Walking past St. Mungo’s Ward in the Royal Infirmary while registering for the doctor,and getting excited because Neville’s parents are nearby.
- Learning that St. Mungo is the patron saint of Glasgow. I see what you did there, JK Rowling.
- Going to Edinburgh Castle, the castle that inspired Hogwarts!
- Looking out at Edinburgh Castle (however briefly, because the back room was full and I had to leave) from The Elephant House, the alleged “Birthplace of Harry Potter,” where JK Rowling wrote a lot of her early Harry Potter work.
- Having a feeling of “coming home” when returning to Glasgow.
But don’t worry! Not everything had to do with Harry Potter. I’m just a huge nerd and had to get that out of my system. That’s not nearly all of the exciting things that have happened. I’ve been having such a fantastic time just being here that I hardly know when to update and I’m not sure what to talk about. But I’ll churn out an update for you all anyway. (Actually, mostly for my benefit because I want to read this when I’m missing Scotland.)
This weekend I visited Edinburgh with two of my friends and made enemies of my feet and calves. I’ve never lived anywhere as hilly as Scotland. Walking around campus here in Glasgow can be a workout, and that was nothing compared to traipsing my way up the hill to the Edinburgh Castle, down the Royal Mile, out to the National Museum of Scotland (and The Elephant House) and back to the bus station. Entirely worth it, but I was aching, to say the least. We were lucky to have the sun shining on us the Sunday of our trip, especially after the dreary weather that decided to hang around Glasgow on Saturday. Of course, had the weather taken a nasty turn and my umbrella gone missing, the bus station had vending machine umbrellas for a pound. I think that is so odd… and so, so fitting. We checked the map in the station after arriving in Glasgow, and wandered out trying to get our bearings. We’re not the best at it, but travel can be a lot of fun when you don’t know where you’re going. Luckily, our first stop, Edinburgh Castle, is visible from most places, so it was easy to tell if we were going in the right direction. Not as easy to find where to start climbing, but as with the weather, we had luck on our side, and it didn’t take us long to wander off into a pretty park that led directly to the start of the path to castle.
“Awestruck” is probably an understatement to how I felt when I reached the castle, and “breathtaking” can’t really describe the view, since I didn’t have any left after the climb. Let’s just say that the castle was something I’d never seen before and it was absolutely wonderful in my eyes. (I mean, three-fourths of what I enjoy reading has castles in it, and I got to actually set foot in a real one. Can we talk about fangirl?) Check out the Photos tab at the top of the page for pictures of the trip! And if you have me added on facebook, the pictures have commentary.
From the castle, we walked down the Royal Mile, the longer-than-an-actual-mile stretch of road that connects the Scottish Parliament and Edinburgh Castle. To be honest, I didn’t find it to be particularly interesting. Visiting it in August when the Fringe Festival is going on, I think, would be amazing, but this time of the year, it’s one “Real Scottish Experience” tourist-trap store after another. Although I did run into good ol’ Robert Fergusson on the stretch. (I’m sorry, Robert Fergusson, but I can’t understand anything you write without reading it ten times–and don’t blame on the Scots vernacular, because I can read Robert Burns just fine. Although it’s quite funny once I figure it out.) Scottish Parliament was an odd building.
The next stop was The Elephant House. Unfortunately, I couldn’t remember what street it was on, just that it was near the National Museum of Scotland and the street Potterrow (again, I see what you did there!), so we went in that general direction with no real plan on what to do after that. And my silly guidebook map did not have the common sense to show when one street was above another versus when they intersected. So, we ended up walking to Nicholson Street and standing underneath it before moving on to the next street with the intention of backtracking. The next street sloped up, so we headed up yet another hill in search of JK’s hangout. At the top, we did a lot of pointing around and going “I think the museum is in that direction?” and “No, hold the map the other way!” and “This is a stupid guidebook!” until Anna pointed out that we were literally standing right in front of The Elephant House. Literally. See, I told you we had luck on our side. We packed in and grabbed some tea, then respectfully left when we finished to open up our seats. Turns out the National Museum of Scotland was right nearby, so we spent the next couple of hours resting our poor feet and wandering around amid the artifacts and artwork before making the trip back to the bus station.
The strangest part? Seeing all the familiar buildings flash by in the bus windows after arriving in Glasgow and feeling like I was back home after a long trip. Because, well, I was, and I know Glasgow is my “home” for the time being, I just hadn’t realized that it felt that way. After two weeks. And I’ve hardly even been anywhere… I need to see more of Glasgow!
The next post may be a “getting used to living here” post, because I’d like to do one of those, but I am going to Stirling on Saturday, and I will probably be more excited to talk about that.
That’s all, folks! Until the next time.