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an american in scotland

2012 July 27
by dena

after my almost 3 week vacation in london i decided what the heck, while i’m on this side of the world i might as well visit another good friend who recently moved to scotland. so that is exactly what i did. enjoyed 5 days in the capital, edinburgh, and from there took a 3 day backpacking/bus tour/ hostel staying trip to the wester most island Skye. but first thing first, here is how i spend my first long weekend as an american in scotland.

ever since i can remember, my summer holidays have been shared with random french girls who spend the summer in our guest bedroom. this started when i was in elementary school and continued into college, although i’ve been traveling too much these past 2 summers to continue the tradition. this cultural exchange was through a program called ORCA and revolves around the idea of french teenagers coming to houston for a few weeks during the summer to practice their english and learn about american culture. anyway, the summer before my freshman year at UST we had the pleasure of hosting Lili. she was 22 at the time and lived in south-west France. she was studying tourism and planning to make a career out of it after she received her masters. we totally hit it off and spent almost every minute of that summer shopping and eating and country dancing. since our last summer together she has lived in Switzerland, Florida (summer internship at disneyworld) the canary islands and now scotland. she speaks french-spanish-and english. her boyfriend Fran (who was born in spain, lived in germany, grew up on canary islands, and is fluent in spanish, german, and english) and she recently moved to edinburgh for work. when i made the connection between myself spending july in london and their new flat in edinburgh i knew i had to stop by for a visit.

i rode megabus last thursday from london to scotland (the ticket was only 10 pounds, around $15) arriving after 7 hours in the city center. i spent the weekend taking free tours around the city, exploring museums, and simply enjoying the rich history and literally “old-school” beauty of scotland’s capital.

this is the “heart of midlothian”  (made famous by sir walter scott’s book) and is said to be the location of the gallows in the old tolbooth prision. it’s bad luck to step on this heart made of bricks, but good luck to spit on it when walking by. one is not so much spiting to celebrate the death of so many prisoners who died a public execution but to show a lack of respect for unjust law inforcers. good enough reason for me.

like any city who thrives on tourism and had a city center, edinburgh was full of street performers and musicians.

just thought all of you who stereotype the scottish as playing bagpipes and wearing kilts would appreciate this. i happened upon this wedding party walking from the church to the reception and what do ya know, kilts and bagpipes are leading the way.

if you’re thinking that maybe i edited some of these photos to enhance their beauty let me just tell you that i don’t even own a photoshopping type of thing – this is honestly what the city looked like. more pictures and commentary to come tomorrow, as for now i’m going to take a nap and try to beat this dang jet lag.


One Response leave one →
  1. July 27, 2012

    Thanks for taking us along! Really enjoy a young American’s eye view of the world!

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