Goodbyes and Solo Travels

After Mom left, I had one day before the end of the program. We spent it in the most perfect way possible. A big group of us went to Holland Park and spent the day eating and drinking and just hanging out in general. I’m sure we were ridiculously obnoxious to the rest of the park, but it didn’t matter because we were celebrating that exams were over and we had survived the semester. It was also kind of bittersweet, because we knew that the next day we would have to say goodbye. So we didn’t think about that and enjoyed each other’s company instead.

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We all stayed up too late, but eventually the next morning did come and we had to say our goodbyes. Brittany (my awesome roommate) was the first to go (at the crack of dawn). Then Mike and Mary, and then Hank. As soon as I said goodbye to everyone, I left as well, but not to go back to the States—I was on my way to Edinburgh! I was pretty excited to take my solo trip.

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The Edinburgh Castle (my hostel, Castle Rock Hostel, was literally right below the castle–perfect location!) 

I got there and found my hostel pretty easily. I was exhausted from staying up so late the night before, so I didn’t do anything too interesting that evening. I just sat in the lounge and drank a cup of tea and read my book (it was pretty awesome actually).

The next day I woke up and did a walking tour of Edinburgh, learning a lot of interesting stories about the city. I also got to see some pretty cool Harry Potter themed places. The guide showed us the school that Hogwarts was based off of (kind of), and the graveyard that J.K. Rowling took the names for a lot of her characters.

I continued the Harry Potter awesomeness by having lunch at The Elephant House, where J.K. Rowling spent a lot of time writing some of the books. It was a little touristy, but not too ridiculous, and the food was delicious. It was amazing being able to sit and read Harry Potter (because of course I had to start rereading them again…) in the place where it started. Also the bathroom was absolutely amazing because every inch of it was covered in Harry Potter themed graffiti.

The next thing I did, was the Scotch Whisky Experience. It was definitely a touristy thing to do (the first thing that happened was this strange barrel ride where a projection of a ghost taught me how whisky was made). After the weird ride thing it got better, because they took us into a room and taught us about the different types of whisky, and then we got to try one. I tried Lowlands whisky and I so so wanted to like it… I suppose I’ll just have to keep trying it (;D).

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Me with my Lowlands whisky, surrounded by the largest collection of whisky in the world

Then came my hike up to Arthur’s Seat. It was actually more of a hike than I had bargained for (I definitely wasn’t wearing the right shoes), but the views made it worth it. I spent some time up on the mountain, you guessed it, reading, and then headed down when I got too hungry.

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I got a cheap falafel wrap for dinner, and ate it in the dining room of the hostel, and also had a cup of tea (while also reading—basically I’ve spent the past couple days finding different interesting places to read and it’s been awesome). I went to bed early because I had to get up at 6 the next morning to catch my flight. Of course, it was the worst night to try to sleep early. It was 10:30 and this girl started blow drying her hair… You would think people would have enough common sense to not blow dry their hair while people are trying to sleep (for the record I wasn’t the only one, there were at least three of us trying to sleep). Then, as soon as I was drifting off, a bunch of girls got in an argument about whether or not to keep the window open. Needless to say, I’m glad I won’t be staying in a hostel for awhile.

My flight the next day was relatively uneventful (unless you count the fact that it was ridiculously delayed, but I’ve come to expect that from budget airlines), and I arrived safely at the family friend’s hosue that I’m staying at for the next couple days. They’ve graciously taken me in and cooked me meals, and I couldn’t be more grateful—plus their children are adorable!

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