Return to Edinburgh brings family visits and literary attractions

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I revisited Edinburgh (or as the Scottish say, “Edinbur-uh”) this past weekend, and I cannot put into words how happy I was to return.

I left Thursday evening and arrived at Waverly Station to greet my family. I couldn’t contain my smile at seeing them for the first time in six weeks.

After shedding a few tears, we decided to get some dinner. We ate fish and chips at The Dogs, a quaint and candlelit second-story restaurant. A bus took us to our apartment at Merchiston.

We spent Friday taking a relaxed bus tour and wandering around Royal Mile, the main thoroughfare in Edinburgh. The tour made me love Edinburgh even more for its troubled and exciting history. The city has had its fair share of royals, witch trials and social class struggles.

The bus took us past Arthur’s Seat, a vast hill overlooking the city. Edinburgh was home to the Father of Modern Geology, James Hutton, and it’s apparent why. An extinct volcano system formed Arthur’s Seat and the rock upon which Edinburgh Castle was built.

We got off the bus outside The Writers’ Museum. The displays featured the likes of Robert Burns, Robert Louis Stevenson and Sir Walter Scott.

As a writer, Burns’ humble beginnings as a ploughman inspired me. I loved the cozy exhibits within Lady Stair’s House, too.

My sister Joslyn was intent on visiting The Elephant House, one of J.K. Rowling’s old haunts.

The coffee shop was not shy about associating itself with Rowling; a giant sign in the window read, “The birthplace of Harry Potter.”

We got hot drinks inside and took a trip to the bathroom to check out the walls. Every inch of the bathroom walls was covered with Harry Potter quotes and notes to J.K. Rowling. It was spectacular to see how much Rowling has affected the lives of her readers.

We woke up early Saturday morning to catch a tour bus to the Scottish Highlands. Our tour guide was Andy, a short man who wore a kilt and red tartan cap. He offered history and insight into the Highlands, but he cracked a mean joke, too.

When he wasn’t talking, Andy either played traditional Scottish tunes or horrible ‘80s and ‘90s pop.

The five-hour trip to the Highlands was worth it. We stopped several times on the way to Fort Augustus to admire the undulating hills and rugged cliffs. The first time I stepped off the bus, my breath caught in my throat. The terrain was nothing like I’d ever seen, and I felt humbled to be amongst such beauty.

Fort Augustus is the small town beside Loch Ness. We only had an hour and a half there, so we had tea and dessert at the Lock Inn and walked down to the loch. The sun glinted off the water, turned black by peat. I didn’t spot any sea creatures, but the sight was still sublime. The bus didn’t get back to Edinburgh until late that night.

We left for Sunderland the next afternoon. On the bus to Waverly Station, I looked up at Edinburgh Castle, looming above the city. It appeared to crop right out of the rock it perched upon. I hoped it wouldn’t be the last time I laid eyes on the sprawling fortress.

Robert Louis Stevenson once wrote, “For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake.”

This trip marks the beginning of my true European adventure. In the coming weeks, I’ll explore different cities and countries. Let the traveling commence.

Until next time, cheers!

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