Archive for the ‘Edinburgh’ Category

I don’t know what to title this.

Monday, March 31st, 2014

Basically because this post isn’t anything special – I’m not recounting a specific trip I’ve been on or relaying any noteworthy story. I just thought I’d post a bunch of pictures from my time here so far. Here we go:

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Waiting in line to buy tickets for an ISC trip.

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View walking down Princes Street.

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My friends and I had tea late one Sunday morning at this cute place called Anteaques. Half antique shop, half tea room. Anyone who knows me knows this is a combination of two of my favorite things.

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Rainbow over campus!

View from my window one evening, when the sky was especially pretty.

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This is “Library Cat”. He hangs around campus a lot, particularly the library. He looks a little demonic here but trust me he/she is a sweetie!!

Some friends and I went pony trekking in the Pentlands not too long ago. Such a lovely place to ride!

The ponies we rode through the Pentlands were Exmoor Ponies. They’re the cutes (and smallest) things! I rode the sweetheart on the right.

The Royal Mile in Edinburgh

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The Meadows on my way home from class one evening. This was the day it was especially sunny and everyone thought it was suddenly summer even thought it was only in the upper 40s. The smoke in the picture is from a grill. Yes. One day of sun and they come out with flip-flops and start to barbeque.

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Another view from my window. Such lovely weather we are having here in Edinburgh lately.

 

 

British people are so cute.

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

The other day happened to be a very sunny one here in Edinburgh. Not quite as common as back in the States. The warmest it probably got was around 55 degrees I believe. So it was nice. I should specify – nicer than usual, but not “oh my gosh guys, grab your beach towels and rev up the grill cause warm weather is finally here” nice. But apparently that’s just my American perspective because one sunny day and people started coming out the woodworks to lay out in the sun like it was 70 degrees. Seriously, I saw people in shorts and tank tops. It looked like a nice spring day in Central Park, when people cram into the open green to picnic and enjoy the weather. It was kind of adorable.

Earlier this evening a friend and I ventured into Starbucks (I know, I know, of all the cafes in Edinburgh, why are we going to a place we could go to back home. Because it’s right by campus and we were tired!). Now I love me some iced tea (unsweetened thank you very much) but it’s pretty much nonexistent here. I’ve been going through iced tea withdrawals and I needed some in my system so I asked the Starbucks barista if they had plain iced tea. She looked at me with the most confused look on her face and asked “What??”. I then had to explain what iced tea was – like regular hot tea, but like, cold with ice in it. She asked me skeptically, “So you want…English Breakfast tea…and then…made cold?….with ice in it????!?!?”. She made it and it was fantastic but her reaction to the notion of iced tea tells me tea that is not served hot with milk is a completely foreign concept here.

So I guess the next 50 degree day when the sun is out I’ll go explain to a barista how to make me iced tea then take it out to the park where I will join the masses in laying out in a sun dress.

The Ninth Week (Edinburgh!)

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

Social

I’m so glad I’ve met such great people to be traveling with. We’re all easy going and willing to compromise so everyone is able to do/see what they want to. We are starting to plan our spring break trip in May (Greek beaches!)

Coursework

Final exams and papers are starting to rear their heads…seems like I need to start preparing for the end of the semester. Thankfully I will be finished soon at least.

Exams are done very differently in Ireland, and because I am taking a combination of Irish classes and International classes I have it different than the Irish students do. For my international classes my end of term papers are due the last week of March, and 2 final exams also take place that week. For my Irish class my final assignments are due the end of March as well but I do not have my final exam until May.

The first three weeks of April is spring break and the last week of April is the reading week but you still have to attend classes (seeing as it is the last week of classes). My last exam is May 1st and then I’m done!

Scotland

Last Wednesday I headed off to Scotland on my own (seeing as I didn’t have class the rest of the week anyway). I stayed in Edinburgh at a really fantastic hostel. It was all girls and fairly close to the city center. The woman who ran it wasn’t much older than me and had moved from Australia a few years ago. She baked bread for everyone for breakfast every morning which was delicious and the place had a very homey feel. I met a lot of great people there, mostly girls traveling by themselves on spring break or who were living in Edinburgh after finishing their master’s thesis.

Edinburg

This was one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever visited. It felt how I always imagined old Europe, with very classic old architecture and castles dotting the horizon. On Friday I did the Royal Mile, where most of the sites are clustered and saw Parliament and Hollyroad Castle (Where Queen Elizabeth II lives in the summer months). The castle was incredible; I saw the furniture and tapestries bought by Queen Victoria and the apartments of Mary Queen of Scots. I can’t even imagine having tourists pay to go through your house while you’re gone. But I guess I wouldn’t really be complaining if I was dividing my time between a few different castles every year. Honestly it seems to be a great place to live if the weather would make up its mind. Within a half hour period it rained, then was warm and sunny, then it hailed and snowed, and then it was sunny again. I don’t know how people get used to that.

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The Elephant House

This is the café JK Rowling began work on the very first Harry Potter book. And I ate lunch there, trying not to hyperventilate and giggle like a fangirl. But actually I had a great Panini and wrote postcards home and tried to act like it was no big deal I was there and didn’t spend a half hour tracking it down and passing a half dozen other restaurants that looked delicious.

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Highlands

On Thursday I took a bus tour, which was the best money I spent the whole trip, to go through the highlands and Loch Ness and Glencoe. Scotland is small enough I was able to see quite a bit of it on the 12 hour drive (we made stops along the way to various sights).

I’m not a big lover of mountains, more of a beach person myself, but the Highlands were absolutely breathtaking.

Loch Ness was huge but the rain prevented me from seeing any sign of a monster unfortunately.

We had about an hour to explore Urquhart Castle, which is on the bank of Loch Ness, and was blown up so really visitors can wander around the shell that remains. The views from the castle was quite pretty, but shrouded in clouds.  (The weather during the rest of day was nice though!)

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Observations

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

So having been in Edinburgh for about three weeks now (and being an avid people watcher), I’ve been admiring how students on campus dress. No sweatpants, pajamas, dirty jeans, and hoodies here. I’ve yet to see that kind of casual dress on campus. Everyone is very put together and carries him or herself in a more mature and classy way than I’m used to seeing. Being a girl who likes clothes, I’ve paid the most attention to how the ladies on campus dress. (Sorry fellas, not talking about your nice fitting cardigans and Beatle boots today.) Most of the girls dress nice, but edgier. More street fashion than in the U.S. Nothing overly feminine or girly. Their shoes are literally always one of two things: Doc Martens or these little black booties with a slight heel or wedge. They wear a ton of scarves but they are either never wrapped, like they just hang long over the neck, or they are big enough that I think they are actually blankets that are swallowing them. (Looks snuggly though!) Their coats are always cute. They look like something you’d find at a thrift shop. Not many classic pea coats or winter jackets. They’re more so statement pieces. They wear a lot of beanies here too – like the beanies that are knitted with the pom-pom on the top.

 

Of course everyone on campus isn’t a clone of each other. Not everyone is wearing these things, but this is what I see most often. (And I like it!)

Arthur’s Seat

Monday, January 20th, 2014

I finished my first week here in Edinburgh by climbing Arthur’s Seat yesterday. It’s an extinct volcano on the edge of the city which upon climbing offers some incredible views. The International Student Center (ISC) led a bunch of us there. It was a much steeper hike than I anticipated! Also fairly muddy. (Protip: don’t wear converse while climbing Arthur’s Seat!) Definitely worth it though! There are ravens (or are they crows, I can’t tell) nesting in the sides of the cliff and they fly all around as you climb. I think I’ll be climbing Arthur’s Seat a few more times while I’m here. There are a ton of different peaks and cliffs to venture up and I want to explore it more.

 

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Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

 

 

I don’t have classes on Wednesdays so I spent today exploring the city. Pretty nice to walk out of a shop and see this…

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Many of my posts may be more pictures than words. I think pictures are more interesting than words anyway.