Tuesday, August 6, 2013

 Days Five and Six, by Mary-Cecile and Molly

This post by Mary-Cecile Gayoso

-We arrived in Edinburgh after a quick, one hour flight.The double decker bus ride to the hostel was breathtaking. Filled with images of the city, which is so different than London (at least, in my opinion). I took a bunch of photos while on the bus, sitting in the front row at the top, trying hard not to get the reflections in the pictures.

-Edinburgh is full of so many historical buildings. I love how the roads tilt and everything seems so close together. Walking across this city was no problem.                
As we walked up to the hostel, I snapped this quick photo over my shoulder.

A church I saw as we drove. 

The hostel was really nice. We arrived and went to our room to wind down for a few minutes. So much room, plenty of fresh air blowing through the open window, and we had our own shower! The lack of A/C really doesn't matter in Edinburgh. I could feel the cold air slipping through the room, over the frayed end of my jeans as I put my feet out the window. Our view was spectacular. I sat and looked outside for a while. Seagulls nested on the building opposite us, and a great cliff could be seen in the distance. Melanie, Jenny, and I assumed that was Arthur's Seat...how wrong we were haha. Arthur's Seat is much higher, as we were soon to find out...
 -Our hostel was located on Blackfriar's Street. Close by was the Royal Mile, the stretch of road that leads up to the Castle.   Walking up the street was pretty tiring (for me, because I am so out of shape haha) but the walk down was a breeze. Cobblestone streets have so much character. I really enjoyed walking along all of the roads and looking at all of the shops. So many stores! Antique stores, souvenir shops, one called "Thistle Do" haha, restaurants and cafes, even a shop that specifically sold baked potatoes. Seriously? That's epic. And there were dozens of fillings to choose from, coronation chicken, bacon and brie, tuna, cheese, salad, you name it. Sorry for rambling, I just really love potatoes. Anyways, the location of our hostel was perfect. Right next to shops, cafes, and a clear shot to all of the Fringe Festival Venues.

-Our first day in Edinburgh was filled with getting accustomed to the city, exploring random roads and alleys, like this random little courtyard we found. Jenny found this nice spot. It was a beautiful area of townhouses and blooming flowers. When we walked back there, we felt as though we had been transported through time. Back to those fairytale days of afternoon tea parties and careless days. Without a care in the world. Plants grew in old shoes, wreaths hung on the walls. An older woman in a long dress and matching shawl could be seen standing in her doorway. Her hair was snow white. She looked like someone from a different time. It was really enchanting.

And thus, our first day ended. We concluded with a fun event, a Scottish dance called a Ceilidh that took me by surprise. Typically, I hate dancing. I'm not very good at it and I was really nervous about the dance. But once we got there and I realized how easy the steps were, it was really a lot of fun.

The cute courtyard Jenny, Melanie, and I found. 

-So, Gerritt had originally planned for us all to take a walking tour after we arrived, but he decided to climb Arthur's Seat on the sixth day. And I am soooo glad he did! We were all so tired  after that first day. So on the sixth day, Gerrit, Jenny, Melanie, and I climbed Arthur's Seat. Talk about a death march (ok, maybe that's a little exaggeration, but it was rough). It was so worth it, though. The views were amazing. Rolling hills and fields of straw colored grass. It felt so soft beneath my fingertips. Grassy paths wound around the mountain. There were a lot of loose rocks and seemingly perilous spots where I almost fell (because I'm a clutz haha) but  I made it! At the top, you could see the whole city and off into the distance. A lone peak rose into the sky. I wonder what mountain that was. After climbing that, I felt like I had just climbed Mt. Doom or something and I felt very accomplished.                                        

Our ascent to Arthur's Seat.                           At the top of Arthur's Seat.
-Later that day, Jenny, Melanie and I saw a really fantastic show. It was called Knee Deep, and consisted of feats of human strength. It told the story of humanity, and how we can be delicate without being fragile. Kind of like an egg. That was a truly magical experience. The venue looked like a circus tent and we had a great view of the stage. The woman acrobat was inspirational. She was so strong.

-And so, our sixth day was filled with Fringe festivities, a climb up Arthur's Seat, my first time having a fried egg...ever, which was amazing. I think I like them more than scrambled now haha.

-The first two days in Scotland were amazing. Tiring, rewarding, breathtaking, relaxing, every emotion under the sun. And every night, I would sit for a little while by the window, listening to the seagulls and still not believing that I was in such a beautiful place.

Our group getting ready to go on a highland tour. Technically not our day, but Molly and I had to fit our photo in somewhere. The highland tour is a tale for another blog post...

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