I’m finally home and up ridiculously early (by Emily standards) because of the time difference, so I thought it would be a good time to do my last blog update on my time in Scotland and getting home.
Friday: I had to get from Rome to Edinburgh, so from my hostel in Rome, I had to walk to a bus which took me to the metro, to a bus to the airport. I was afraid I was going to be late to my flight because of the plethora of transportation modes, but made it to the gate on time and then had to wait for a while to start boarding. When we got on the plane, we were further delayed because “it took so long to board” when really they started boarding at the time we were supposed to leave. That’s Italy for you. I was happy to be leaving and going to a country where they spoke English! I arrived in Scotland late, but just in time for the friend of a friend I was staying with, Elisabeth, to come meet me at the airport. We took two more buses to her flat and then had a relaxing evening cooking enchiladas and watching British TV online. One of the shows we watched was called The Inbetweeners, and what was really cool was one of the stars of the show was the brother of one of Elisabeth’s future flatmate! So far I was really loving Scotland!
Saturday: We slept in and hung out in Elisabeth’s flat in the morning and then her and her flatmates jetted off for Christmas, and I walked up the Royal Mile to find my hostel (right outside the castle!). I then went up to the castle, decided I had already seen the inside, and joined a hop-on hop-off tour instead. I visited the Museum of Childhood and when I went outside to hop back on the bus, it started snowing like crazy! I didn’t get off the bus for a while after that. I did a little shopping on the Royal Mile and then went back to the hostel to put on all the clothing I had bought (all purple, all plaid). It was really cold out there! Then it was back down the Royal Mile and over to the Scott Monument where a giant Christmas Fair was waiting for me! I met Erik, who happened to be in the same city at the same time, and we went on a few rides (The Big Wheel and the Giant Swings), froze, and ate some food. We went to an Indian place for dinner that Erik had eaten at with his family when we were in Scotland together 11 years before. It was delicious but we decided I couldn’t leave the UK without trying a deep fried Mars bar. It was disgustingly yummy. Then it was back to the hostel where I ready by the fireplace before falling asleep in my room with 11 other girls.
Sunday: My last full day abroad! I had breakfast at The Elephant House Café, where JK Rowling wrote most of the first Harry Potter book! I walked down the road to see the statue of Greyfriars Bobby, and then rode the tour bus around again, but this time listening to the kid’s commentary, called Horrible Histories. I saw the original inspirational building for Hogwarts, and I got off for a quick stop to see the (outside of the) new Parliament building and the official residence of the Queen in Scotland, Holyrood Palace. It was then back on the bus to the Winter Fair and the Disney Store. I had fish and chips without the fish one last time and then it was back up the Royal Mile for one last shopping trip. I picked up my bag at the hostel, waved goodbye to the castle, walked down the Royal Mile for the last time, and got on a bus to the airport. I was wearing my new purple Scotland Rugby shirt when I saw the entire Bath Rugby team (my first experience with the thrills of rugby took place in Bath at the beginning of the trip) in the Edinburgh airport. What a fantastic sending-off! I made it to London despite the snow in both countries, picked up my luggage that had been stored there, and was taken to my last hostel, which was more like a nice bed and breakfast. I watched an American movie on BBC as I repacked and prepared for my flight.
Monday: To the airport with some difficulties (how my luggage weighed more than an elephant, how I picked the wrong terminal, and how Christmas Crackers are in fact a weapon) but I made it to my gate with little time to spare, and then had to wait as my flight was delayed two hours. Eight and some hours (and some awesome movie/TV/game selections) later, I emerged in Atlanta to fight through passport control, baggage recheck, customs, security rescreening, and booked it down the terminal to barely catch my flight to KC. My family was waiting for me with balloons in the airport and they took me to my favorite Chinese restaurant for a surprise party with my friends from high school. An amazing finish to an amazing trip!
Finally, a big thanks to all of you who have been with me as I travel by reading this blog!!!