Things I Miss About Edinburgh

Since I have come home from studying abroad, there are many things that I really miss about being in Edinburgh, Scotland.  Something I really miss about being in Scotland is not having a car.  In Edinburgh, many people do not have a car.  They just walk, bike, or take the bus for transportation.  I walked everywhere and it was really nice.  I only took the bus around 10 times the whole semester and it was to go to a nearby city or area that was just too far to walk.  My flat was in a great location, so I was pretty close to a lot of things in the city.  I do not know exactly how much I was walking, but it was several miles every day at the least.  In the week since I have returned to the US, I have really missed being able to walk everywhere I want to go.  I have decided that to incorporate walking into my life in the US, I will go for a walk every day.  Instead of walking for transportation, it will mainly just be for a relaxing activity.

One thing that I miss seeing is the pretty architecture in Scotland.  Edinburgh is such a beautiful city filled with really old and nice buildings.  They are much different than the buildings in America.  Instead of each house or business being its own stand-alone building with a yard or parking lot area, the buildings are connected to each other.  All the buildings in one block will be connected to each other.  Edinburgh is split into the Old and New Towns.  Buildings in the New Town are about 200 years old, and ones in the Old Town are from much earlier.  The oldest building in Edinburgh is Saint Margaret’s Chapel within Edinburgh Castle.  It is from the 1100s and is the only building in the castle that has not been destroyed.  Throughout the Old Town, there are many small alleyways called “closes”. They connect the upper and lower parts of town and are very cool to walk through.  It is really awesome to be surrounded by such beautiful and historic buildings.  I will try to appreciate all the architecture that is around me in the US.  I will really look around and notice the details that have gone into some buildings.

Something else I miss is being close to so many cool European places.  There was a train station about a 10-minute walk from my flat.  A bus station was about a 15-minute walk away.  Edinburgh Airport was about a 30-minute bus ride away.  I could easily travel anywhere I wanted to go.  There were several times I took a train or a bus to another city for a nice day trip.  I took a night bus to London a few times as well.  I could also go outside of the UK pretty easily.  I was able to travel to Portugal and Spain for my spring break.  I also spent St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin, which I have always wanted to do.  It was awesome!  Since I have returned to America, I really miss being a bus/train/short plane from so many cool European places.

Scotland had a lot of food that I miss now.  The UK is pretty well known for having fish and chips, and they did not disappoint!  I love fish, so I was excited to eat a lot of it.  There are small take-away restaurants called chippies that have pretty good fish and chips.  In Scotland, I tried a lot of food that is different from what I usually eat here in America.  Of course, I had heard about Scottish haggis.  The things I heard about it did not make it sound too good, but I knew I would at least try it while I was there.  I was really surprised by how good it was!  It was not gross at all.  It really just tastes like meat.  I think it might be better if you do not google what it is made of before you eat it, but I definitely recommend trying it either way.  Scotland has a lot of different types of food.  I had a lot of really delicious Indian food, which I did not expect to get in Scotland.  I really liked the food I got to try while studying abroad.  It probably has made me want to try more different types of food since I have come back to America.

Something that I really miss are the great people I got to meet in Edinburgh.  The University had several events to encourage international students to meet each other.  I think we were all kind of nervous about meeting people and making friends, but it was actually really easy!  I met so many cool people and made friends from every continent except Antarctica. I also met many people from the UK, and Scotland specifically from my classes and the clubs I joined.  It was really sad to have to say goodbye to all my new friends.  However, I have been keeping in touch with a lot of them since I have come back to America.  I still talk to many of them every day.  I have made plans to visit several people.

There are so many things about my time in Edinburgh that I will miss.  I am so happy I got the chance to study abroad.  I learned so much about myself and the world.  Edinburgh is my favorite place I have ever been.  I will definitely go back again soon!

Things to do in Edinburgh

If you are considering studying abroad, I would definitely recommend Edinburgh, Scotland.  I knew it would be nice being in Scotland, but I did not expect to fall in love with the city like I have.  Everywhere you turn, there is a view so beautiful it seems like it could be a post card.  The buildings are so old and different from anything I have seen in the US, I like to just look at them sometimes.  The city is made up of the Old Town and the New Town.  The Old Town has the castle, the University, and many really awesome old buildings.  Even though the New Town is newer, the buildings are still about 200 years old.  Edinburgh is full of many different things to do.

The castle is probably the main tourist attraction.  It is at the top of a hill that is actually an old volcano.  It has been destroyed throughout the years, but the oldest standing building (Saint Margaret’s Chapel) is from the 1100s. The castle has Royal Apartments, where royals like Mary Queen of Scots lived.  Since it is one of the highest points in the city, you can get some amazing views of Edinburgh from the castle.

My personal favorite thing to do in Edinburgh is to walk up Calton Hill.  It is a hill with a few buildings and structures at the top.  It has an old observatory and the Nelson monument which is a tower you can climb up into.  It also has an acropolis, which was built in the 1800s and intended to be a recreation of the Parthenon.  However, only the façade was built because they ran out of money for construction.  It is very cool to look at, and you can climb onto it for a nice photo.

I love Calton Hill so much because the panoramic views are so beautiful. It is also very easily accessible.  You just walk up some stairs and you are at the top.  It is somewhere I like to go for a walk.  There are always some people at Calton Hill, but it is never packed or too crowded.  There are usually just a handful of people around.  One side of the hill looks out over Princes Street, one of the main roads and shopping areas of Edinburgh.  You can get a beautiful view of the castle and the Old Town.  Another part of Calton Hill overlooks Holyrood Palace, the Queen’s official residence when she comes to Scotland.  You can tour the Palace when there are no royals visiting.  There are also great views of Arthur’s Seat from the top of Calton Hill.  The other side of the hill looks over the town of Leith.  This town is really nice and has a river called the Waters of Leith running through it.

Arthur’s Seat is a mountain that is on an old volcano.  You can walk to the top in about 30 minutes.  There are several different paths you can take to get to the top, with varying difficulty.  It is very popular because of its great panoramic views.  It is right next to Holyrood Place and Holyrood Park.  This park is pretty large.  It is one of the places I like to go for a walk or run.Another great attraction is the National Museum of Scotland.  It really has something for everyone.  It has a huge section for Scottish history, world cultures, animals, art and fashion, as well as space and technology.  There is a huge room filled with stuffed animals and skeletons.  It is really cool to see how big some animals actually are.  In the science and technology section, they have Dolly the Sheep on display.  She was the first mammal to be cloned from an adult cell.  She was actually cloned by the University of Edinburgh.  I have been to this museum several times, but still have not seen everything.  It is free to get in, which is always nice.  It is a really pretty building on the inside, and has so many different things in it that it is almost overwhelming.  If you have enough time, I think it is good to go for a couple hours and then come back another day so that you can really be focused and get the most out of everything that is there.

Edinburgh is a wonderful city that is full of great things to do.  It is extremely beautiful and filled with friendly and welcoming people.  If you have the opportunity to go to Edinburgh, I would definitely recommend it!