Greetings from Scotland!
Today is our last day here in Edinburgh. I love it here, and can't wait to comeback someday! Here's a rundown of the trip so far:
London was great. We landed 8 days ago and as you can see we were pretty excited! The weather was wicked hott, but in general we had a really great time. We passed Buckingham Palace, which i was rather disappointed to see was teeny tiny. They defintily make that little thing look bigger and more imposing on TV.
When we were walking through a little suburb Allison misread a sign above a house that said "Herman Melville, author of MOBY DICK, lived here". She mistook it and thought that Moby Dick lived there, so we had a pretty good laugh once I explained that Moby Dick was a GIANT SPERM WHALE!
We also hallucinated a H&M (best shopping...EVER!) and chased it around town for about a half an hour before we realized we were at the wrong tube stop. In addition, we took our own little bus tour to the "end of the earth" and saw an impromptu air show with fighter jets in a park and cannon's going off, which we later found out was for the Queen's 3rd birthday celebration of the year.
On our first night in London, this guy we were staying with, Ollie, took us out with his friends. We discovered the drink Pims, very delicious, and that English people really love Abercrombie, something I definitely don't understand. They took us into the red light district, where we danced the night away.
The next two days we spent visiting the London Bridge, Tower Bridge, Monument Station, Westminster, and we went up in the London Eye. The views were spectacular, but I'm not crazy about GIANT carousels or being locked in one for almost an hour with strangers. Too touristy for me, but it was a a great way to see the city.
Overall, London was waaay too expensive. No one was wearing tennis shoes and you have to go into a Border's Book store to find a bathroom! The city is clean, despite the fact that you couldn't find a trash can if your life depended on it. I would definitely go back, but stay away on weekends when it just becomes too touristy.
We left London on Sunday and rode to York, a small town where we planned to spend about 5 hours. After 3 hours, we were done and hopped the next train to Edinburgh. Allison had some wicked allergies and needed to get out of there! Its not that York was bad, only it was just a huge tourist trap...although it did have a beautiful cathedral worth seeing. We met some nice girls on the train ride up here and stayed the first night in a hostel with them.
The Hostel in Edinburgh was HORRIBLE. I hated it. The rooms smelled like hospital and mold, it was cramped, and there were only two working showers. But to get away, our first night we wandered up to the Castle on the Top of the Royal Mile, a main street in Old Town. We started talking to the guards, who later gave us a free tour of the castle!!! It was amazing, we went up in the flag area where no one gets to go even when they pay to get in, and we saw everything else too. Except for the crown jewels, but they are just the spare Scottish set anyway.
The next day we gave ourselves a tour of Edinburgh, the weather was fairly nice, aka there were no 50 mph winds and pelting rain like we had experienced the first two days. We went into a cemetery and discovered some secret views of the city. That's where I took this lovely flower picture. Edinburgh is a perfect mix of old and new, with the dark old sooty buildings surrounded by newly built or recently restored buildings. As I mentioned the Edinburgh Castle sits at the highest point and looks out over the valley/water. It was built to protect from English Invaders, and now protects the Scottish crown jewels.
We also got hit on by a ridiculously intoxicated man in his 40's, and I will spare you and not repeat what he said....
I love it here and would definitely want to come back for 3 weeks, rent a car, and go on my own castle tour. The past two days we went on tours but were a little disappointed. You pay so much to go on them, and then you have to pay AGAIN to get into the Abby, cathedral, or go on a boat, etc. But Allison and I have made our own fun and we revel at our continuous luck in finding little treasures.
Some Interesting things about Edinburgh: most of Scotland is basalt from ancient volcanoes, it's at about 58 degrees parallel, so it never really gets dark at night this time of year, for example the sun set last night at 11:35 or so. The clouds move so fast through the sky that if you look up at a tree you are likely to fall down becuase it makes you so dizzy. The toilets here are tricky and it seems to take an average of 3 tries to flush them, and like London, Edinburgh also seems to have a shortage of rubbish bins. Also, if you come here try Haggis, it's AMAZING!
Okay, this has gotten ridiculously long and it's out of hand. This trip so far has been amazing and exactly as i imagined, so I just want to say a quick cheers (thanks) to all of you who helped make it possible. Cheers!