SO i saw the royal family on march 13, 2015 at 10:55am outside St. Paul’s cathedral in central London. They were attending the commemoration ceremony of the UK pulling out of Afghanistan. I saw many notable MPs and the duke and duchess of cambridge, prince harry, prince Phillip, prince Charles, the duchess of cornwall, and the Queen. it was wonderful, thought i was going to pass out, but i did not thankfully. Basically this experience was too amazing to even talk about so i’ll get on with the rest of it.
Hello from Scotland!
This past weekend i trekked up the island up to Edinburgh with many friends from my house! This was an exciting opportunity that I hadn’t margined before I came to London. We took a train up there which took about 4.5 hours. It was such a beautiful ride through the countryside and along the coast. Seeing the beach made me want to go swimming very much. The first night we went to a pub where I ate haggis! While I did not like it very much, i am very glad to have experienced it! The second day we took a tour of the city where we went to the hill where the national monument is located. This is the view from the hill, you can see most of the city and the river that leads to the ocean.
As you can see from the pictures about Edinburgh is such a beautiful city in architecture and landscape. This is an example of how quaint each of the buildings throughout Edinburgh looked, like a real life story book city or a medieval city. Due to this characteristic Edinburgh had many things that were hidden. Including small and very narrow streets called closes or in the case of the picture below a staircase that had over 100 steps, each step being made of a different stone from somewhere in Scotland.
The tour ended at Edinburgh castle! Which was similar to the tower of London in my opinion but that may also have been because they are the home of the crown jewels… different crown jewels than the ones down in London which made it all very confusing. There was also the memorial for Scottishmen who died in WW1 in the former basilica. Other than that there was not much to the grounds to see or do other than enjoy the view, although they did set off the cannon at one point and a wedding was occurring. I wonder how much that would cost to be married in a castle. Later that night before our haunted Edinburgh tour we met this (very very drunk) old man who turned out to be the former head guard of Edinburgh castle for over 15 years. He even showed us a picture of him meeting the Queen and being given an award.
Don’t worry these are not gang signs they are our sorority signs. Coley & I were showing our alpha gam pride and Sarah was being a theta in the middle.
The view from the castle, like so many other views in the city, was amazing. A notable part of our weekend was the song “I’m gonna be (500 miles)” by a Scottish band maned the proclaimers because they are Scottish and we were in Scotland. One of my friends heard this song in her British music class and introduced the rest of us to it, its really fun and the singers have a fairly thick accent that is entertaining to imitate. Even though the song isn;t very recent its still popular enough there that we heard it outside a pub one night and were so excited we had to run to catch up to our tour group.
Given this city is where J.K. Rowling wrote the Harry Potter series there was plenty of places to visit that inspired Rowling in her writings. The harry potter tour became our second tour of the day. Our tour guide (pictured above) was clearly in character and a complete harry potter nerd himself. We was well informed on all the sites we visited, debunking some false tales and even reading us a bit of harry potter along the way. We were each given a wand for the tour which we used to change the lights from red to green (casual) and to just mess around. As a proud slithering, I obtained a green wand and my friends and i actually were the four houses! it was practically magic or something? I did volunteer to wear the sorting hat that our tour guide provided and regretfully learned that according to it I am actually a raven claw? lies i say, lies.
Here I used my magical powers to draw the sign of the deathly hallows near the grave of Thomas Riddell, the inspiration for Tom Riddle in the series.
This is the cafe where Rowling wrote part of the second, third and fourth books. My friends and I even ate breakfast there on our last day in town. Most of the cafe is normal with no Potter paraphernalia, but when you enter the bathroom there are harry potter quotes written everywhere along with note to Rowling and signs of the Deathly Halllows in case Rowling ever returns to the cafe and uses the restroom. Personally my favorite was the sign over the toilet that said “this way to the ministry” o there may or may not be a picture of me stepping into the toilet to go off to the ministry.
We visited this street many times throughout the weekend. This is Victoria Street, the street that inspired Diagon Alley and its diagonal characteristic! On the tour we learned many interesting things that connect Edinburgh and the Potter series. These include the man who died and according to urban myth his stake (he burned to death at the stake) turned into a snake, this man also lived in Riddle close. There is a street near the University that Rowling attended that was named Potter, although there are claims that this had nothing to do with the name of the main character.
Our last day in Edinburgh we went to breakfast at the elephant cafe i told you about and then we went on a hike up Arthur’s seat! it is the hill in the area created by a volcano that is the reason behind all of Edinburgh’s hilly streets. The hike was fairly difficult but the view from the top was more than worth it. Unfortunately my computer isn’t allowing me to upload those pictures so if anyone ever wants to see those they’ll have to wait until they see me! We departed Edinburgh for home again which of course is one of my favorite experiences.
and not that it matters to anyone except me, but i ate some really good grapes that I was able to buy at a local market were very delicious!