So I made it. Alas, Edinburgh is almost overwhelmingly... old looking. Of course this isn't really a surprise, but... it still kind of is. It's surprising in a minor culture-shock sort of way. The way going from the oldest buildings in Wisconsin being middle-19th century to the oldest building in Edinburgh* (according to my taxi driver yesterday, and correctly) being St. Margaret's Chapel within Edinburgh Castle, constructed in the 12th century. That's like, 900 YEARS. Obviously I'm going to see it eventually.
Anyway. There's really no rhyme or reason to this post, other than to share the small quantity of photos I've managed to take amidst running around trying to get cell phone service, bath towels, a hair dryer, food, etc. Luckily I had a sunny, yet somewhat cool (about 15C or 58F-ish -- I'm still learning this Celsius conversion thing) day to get out and grab some necessities. I'm sure, however, that I would feel more at home if I actually unpacked my suitcases, but I've made it only about a quarter of the way through that process so far. Tonight or tomorrow, perhaps, but I think a little bit of jetlag has caught up with me..
But onto the photos!
My first connection was in Detroit, where there was an amazing sunset, however totally impossible to photograph through their polka-dot windows. ;) Made for an artsy attempt, though!
The first flight from Appleton to Detroit was about 45 minutes, followed by a 7h45m flight to Amsterdam, and then a 1 hour flight to Edinburgh. All went very smoothly and we arrived on time. There were a few clouds, but happily the weather was wonderful and the sun poked through, so I didn't have to deal with heavy bags in the rain. My quick taxi ride into the city was also very entertaining; I had a very knowledgable and friendly driver. I should just note that absolutely every single person I've spoken to today, at various businesses, etc. has been exceptionally friendly. Get past the initial monetary transaction and people actually want to talk to you! Amazing. ;) Haha. I'm only being partly sarcastic.
To start with, the humble view from my room:
It 's a public courtyard that a couple of closes connect to, however not too many people stop through. The occasional tour guide takes a group through, though, so every once in a while I've been able to listen in on a bit of info.
In the morning I took a walk down to Princes Street. It's north, but it's very much downhill from where I am. Edinburgh is built on seven hills, and according to my trusty taxi driver, it's not considered the "Athens of the North" for nothin'. I would have to say I agree--I took plenty of stairs already!
Then there's the Scott Monument on Princes Street, a Victorian monument to Sir Walter Scott. It makes me happy to be in the kind of city that builds thi kind of monument to an author!
After getting a bit of necessary shopping in, I took the long way around the castle and found myself drawn into a little cafe under St. John's Church, Henderson's at St. John's. I had a mug of soup that was quite good and perfect for a fast lunch, but of course the light under there wasn't super great. Thought I'd share anyway.
Got my first good look of the castle by foot...
And then I wound my way back around to the Royal Mile, which could be considered my street. Behind my building, and also the view from my kitchen, is New College, where the university's philosophy and theology programs are centered. Or, ahem, centred.
And just because I passed it and couldn't help it:
Miss Katie Cupcake -- it's jewelry and sadly not actually cupcakes, but still. ;)
Also stopped into a little hole-in-the-wall subterranean cafe (there's a lot of that going on around here) called the Castle Cafe where I only got a cappuccino, but might end up going back for one of their delicious-smelling sandwiches. Or Scottish breakfast! :)
So far, everything is going very well. Aside from feeling rather travel-weary and jetlagged, I'm doing really well and I'm so happy to be here. The next several days will be busy getting orientated and meeting with school advisors, etc. I can't wait to share all my adventures.
*I initially mistyped Scotland instead of Edinburgh. St. Margaret's Chapel is the oldest in Edinburgh, but the oldest structures in Scotland range to thousands of years older than that! ;)