A Week in the Wynd

This week has not been the quite the intensive sightseeing march the previous 10 days have been. This has left more time for wanderings and for essentially exploring the city in which I will be spending the next 3 and half months! Although I’m still spending most of my time with the Pomona group, and I haven’t yet moved into my flat with other Scottish or international students, I am starting to feel more a part of the bustle of the city. Rather than looking at a map at every street corner, I’m developing a sense of the city: where the streets go, which names they inexplicably change to at each block (a word they apparently don’t have here), and even some shortcuts between university buildings. I haven’t ventured to the store for food yet (an undertaking I may attempt tomorrow. . . or Saturday. . .), but when I walk around the city, I feel more comfortable and at home everday. I might even fit in! (a little bit).

View over the city (and a garden project) at sunset

View over the city (and a garden project) at sunset

Our (Pomona) class on Modern Scotland began on Monday, and in the afternoons Tom has been showing us around different parts of the city. It continues to amaze me how much he knows about the city! In our walks around Old Town, New Town, the National Gallery, and through the surrounding extinct volcanoes, he somehow provides continual information about the history and people of Edinburgh. I finally understand why Old Town (near the castle) is such a mess of winding streets and stacked buildings – because they never had a plan! On the other hand, New Town was so regulated, it somehow looks almost exactly the same as it did when it was built in the 1800s.

New Town all organised at the top and Old Town a mess near the bottom

New Town all organised at the top and Old Town a mess near the bottom

On Monday, we walked around Old Town and saw some of the history this place is steeped in. St. Giles’ Cathedral on the High Street (also called the Royal Mile) was one of the most beautiful churches I’ve ever seen – I might even go to church if they looked like that! And any history lesson cannot be complete without some graveyards. So many graveyards. On Tuesday we continued down the Royal Mile to see the Scottish Parliament building – an artistic and £360 million over its £40 million budget building – and the Holyrood Palace, where the Queen stays when she visits Scotland in the summer. We finished off with a walk along the Radical Road, a path along the Salisbury Crags that Mary Queen of Scots allegedly rode along back in the day.

That evening, Danielle and I were walking innocently into town from the dorms when we stumbled upon Tom, who invited us to go on a walk with him and his partner. They’re two peas out of the same pod – they both couldn’t help pointing out native Scottish plants, telling us their medical uses, and explaining the history of just about everything we saw. The light at sunset was just gorgeous, and we got a spectacular view of the city. It couldn’t have been better! Upon returning to the dorm, we were hanging out in the common room when a mass of Scottish and international kids joined the party (as the cool kids say). We got to talking with some of them about life, romance, and just about anything else you can think of.

Policeman's Helmet - as identified by Jim     The Hermitage through the trees  The gorgeous hills     View of the city from the mountain

The New College Divinity SchoolAnd Wednesday, during our tour of New Town, we saw some beautiful homes, the New College building for the School of Divinity, and took the leap of trying a deep-fried Mars bar, a creation of Scotland. Eyeing the grease-stained paper, I was a little unsure. But once I got a whiff of it, the mixture of chocolate, caramel, and batter, I knew this wouldn’t be a mistake. It was actually so good. But I don’t want to get another anytime soon for fear of eating the entire thing myself!

Typical houses in New Town Art! A beautiful garden basement

Robert Louis Stevenson's House The Mars Bar! 

Inside the house of an old MP - now a bank!Today, Thursday, we took another tour covering the rest of New Town and a walk to the top of Calton Hill, where all the monuments are supposed to go (the plan, remember?). There’s this sad one called the National Monument but that everyone actually calls Scotland’s Disgrace. It was intended to be a replica of the Parthenon, but they ran out of money and had to stop with only a few columns built. Thus the disgrace!

Same said house - supposed to be a church haha Another graveyard! Even they love Lincoln

A house on Calton Hill - you can even stay here!  Scotland's Disgrace and the Nelson Monument (penis tower according to Tom)  Awwwww

We move in to our permanent residences on Saturday, and I’m excited about meeting my flatmates! Then comes the rush of fresher’s week – let’s home I survive!

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