Wow. The UK is so weird. And so cool!
I had no idea what to expect coming to Scotland. Liana and I only came on the recommendation of a hostel roommate, who told us that the Fringe Festival-a month long comedy event with over 7,000 shows- was his favorite experience of the summer. We were pleasantly surprised by the electric environment of this usually sleepy town!
Our first night there we went to go see Bo Burnham, who was supposed to have the best comedy show of the whole event. I have never laughed so hard in my entire life. Here is a link if you want to view some of his performances: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-ap5Fp2T6c
The next morning Liana and I did a walking tour, which was led by an adorable Scottish man who, had he dyed his beard white, would have looked exactly like Santa Claus. The only negative of this tour was that I was absolutely freezing the entire time, even with four layers of clothing on! “Summer weather” in Edinburgh is about as warm as Michigan winters.
After the tour Liana and I treated ourselves to ciders and Haggiss & Tatties (which is absolutely disgusting) in a traditional Scottish pub. The pub we were in was more than twice as old as the United States of America! Pubs are a staple to Scottish history (which makes sense, as it is one of the only warm places to escape to!). In fact, Scottish people were the ones who coined the term “shit-faced” to refer to drunk people. Back in the day beer was healthier and safer to drink than the water that was supplied. Garbage was thrown out of windows around 10 p.m., so it was common that when the men would come home from the pubs they would have to dodge garbage bags. If they were too drunk, they would get “shit” all over their face.
But I think the most exciting part of being in Edinburgh, (and I am ashamed to say this as I am an avid Harry Potter fan and should have already known), is that this city is the birthplace of Harry Potter! I should have instantly guessed this upon arrival, as the train station there is called “Waverly Place”. But it took me nearly two days to figure this out. But of course, when I realized this, I found my way to the Elephant Cafe and sat in the exact chair that J.K. Rowlings sat in when she wrote the first couple installments of Harry Potter.
It became clear how she was so inspired, as the table she sat at overlooks the Edinburgh castle, which looks exactly like Hogwarts. Next to the castle was the Military Tattoo stadium, which resembles the quidditch field. Beneath the cafe is a graveyard with tombstones of people with the following names: Thomas Riddle, Gregory McGonagall, and Elizabeth Moodie.
That night Liana and I did a pub crawl (it seemed like a must, being in Scotland and all). There were people from Australia, Canada, and London. They all were really nice and we made some great friends that evening.