Sorry about the no posts in a while, but I have been crazy busy. So because of this, the post will most likely be a long one. Short story, I made it to Scotland safely. The flight situation did change on me because of delays but I eventually figured everything out in a timely fashion and while I arrived later into Edinburgh than intended, it was only about 6 hours later. I did have to find my own transportation from the airport to Dalkeith. I took a series of buses, which was much cheaper than a taxi, and eventually got in around 4pm.
Scotland is a wondrous country. I have only been here for 5 days and I still cannot even fathom I am out of America. I am completely amazed. I started out Friday doing some orientation meetings but we got out to explore Edinburgh by about 1pm. We all separated into groups and saw the Edinburgh Castle. Along the way to the castle we took a route down the Royal Mile, or High Street, this was really my first experience in the city and it was an incredible sight. There are just so many amazing shops and churches and the architecture is a mixture of Gothic and Classical. Since this was the tourist section of the city it was no surprise how many Cashmere stores there were. Oh and if you didn’t know already, Cashmere is certainly not cheap. 80 pounds for a sweater, sometimes even for just a scarf.
Finally we reach the castle, which is located at the end of High Street, and we begin to explore it. It is basically many museums housing different items like a memorial for those lost in the wars and a militaristic museum housed in the barracks. Inside one of the museums we learned about the royalty and some of the Monarchs, mainly the Queen of Scots. This was also where the crown jewels were located. I didn’t get to see all of the castle, however, since it was getting a little late and my group and I wanted to explore the rest of the city while we could.
The city, for the little bit that we saw, was amazing. We only really got a chance to see the city center, which is where all the excitement is. Not all the excitement of course but I would compare it to like downtown Madison. Seeing this city really for the first time was evident I wasn’t in the U.S. anymore. It is so different and you can tell it is steeped in culture and tradition. Just thinking that the buildings were there long before the United states was it’s own country is breathtaking.
We ate at this little place in Dalkeith, where I am living for these 3 months, and it was very good. My group of 5 and I was recommended it by a cashier at a gift shop in the Edinburgh castle. We weren’t disappointed. Very reasonable price too and it came out as fast as about when you order at Noodles back in the U.S. A bit of a cultural difference is you don’t tip here. It just isn’t really done.
On Saturday, more orientation stuff for a few hours but then we were all split up into our clans, the people we have dinner duty with, and went out to Edinburgh again for a Scavenger hunt. My clan is made up of some really awesome people. We were there for around 8 hours just walking around. I was so exhausted by the end of it and was incredibly sore. I mention this because I would do it all over again. This city is spectacular and I would gladly be sore and exhausted to experience it like I did that day again. We were the last group to get back though, which was a bit disheartening until we learned we were like the only group to actually really do the scavenger hunt. I am really glad we got to do this. It let us get to know the city a lot better and navigate it without much of a problem. I am not an expert by any means but I can at least travel the city without feeling like I will be swallowed up.
As of now, I am just writing this after my first day of classes. Not what I expected but I am really interested in the material. I have made some great friends so far and I can’t wait to experience the rest of the Scotland and this experience has to offer. Enjoy some photos of my travels so far.