I started writing this post in my notebook because I needed a break from the subtle glow of my laptop. The day has been long, filled with the first attempt at college work for the summer but needless to say it bore fruit; namely some fun French grammar to keep everything fresh in my head.
It started with ‘I love Edinburgh’ then ‘Edinburgh was one of the nicest places I’ve visited’ but after crossing that out as well due to it hardly being an explosive beginning to a blog post, I settled on the first line that you just read. But I needed to get my thoughts down on paper. My thoughts that will impact where I might go to university, spend the next three (well four if you count my year abroad for French).
On the train up to Durham, which is where this adventure started, myself and my mum sat in front of two men who informed us about the night life of both Durham and Edinburgh, a factor of my very important dilemma. Durham? The city was a little small but the university was fab and one of the people that worked at St John’s college gave us an hour tour, so I’m basically sold. The falafel burger at Tango was superb and perfect for all your vegetarian needs and the hotel we stayed at was incredIbLe considering it was the same price as the Holiday Inn in Edinburgh. Tripadvisor reviews aside, Durham was totally worth the visit to look at what could be my future.
It’s exciting to think that new horizons are on their way and I want to slowwwww down a little because this summer is already going too fast and I can feel myself already counting down the weeks till we go back to college… but summer has only just begun? After a winding train journey, stepping out onto Edinburgh’s streets felt like home, I could see myself stepping out into the city, the capital of Scotland that provided all the culture, art and food one would need for a lifetime. The city, the university and the people were more than I could have hoped for and the amount of French tourists ambling about the streets surprised me. Alas, I found out that Scotland and France have a wealth of history with each other. The Auld Alliance which dates back to 1295 was intented to control England’s expansion plans – a military and diplomatic alliance that would have had benefits. After the battle of Agincourt was a disaster for the French, more than 12,000 Scots headed to France to help. Consequently, in 1421 at the Battle of Bauge they defeated the English army; the alliance proving fruitful. There were various other aspects of the alliance through history that they Scotland and France had to battle against, like the Reformation and the alliance originally granted dual citizenship although this was revoked in 1903.
History lesson aside, the two days we spent in Edinburgh was magic. Just walking round you’ll trip on another souvenir shop and I did treat myself to a Harris Tweed bag. They’re made in Scotland and it’s so nice to find a good quality bag that isn’t leather (despite this I am aware of the qualms over buying bags made of plastic as well) and I’m sure it’ll make an appearance on my blog at some point. The castle was gorgeous from afar, the 60 odd pound that you needed to get in wasn’t quite so appealing but the free galleries and museums were just incredible. The National Museum of Scotland is a must do for anyone visiting Edinburgh because before you even see the exhibits the building is a work of art. The National Gallery of Scotland was also a beauty as well and there’s a particular piece by Monet that I have a special piece in my heart for, it was so serene.
As the UK was undergoing a heatwave, it seemed that so was Scotland and of course that meant only one thing… Ice Cream!! Mary’s Milk Bar is literally the best place and it boasts some unusual flavours – not that I can remember off the top of my head. With my milk flavoured ice-cream and a view of the castle from below, it was quite hard to believe this was Scotland that I was in; it truly did feel like I was somewhere south of the English border.
I started off this post in a frenzy of wild thoughts, uncertain thoughts but I hope to end it on the note that Edinburgh was fabulous, 10/10 recommend it for a weekend and although it may not be the university destination I have my heart I definitely want to return. Have you been? If so what was your favourite part of the city?
lots of love, eleanor xx