Resting on a long dormant volcano, Edinburgh is brimming with natural and man-made beauty. I have to admit that when I studied in London last year, I wasn’t too upset that I never made it up to Scotland. But after my 5-day trip this past week, I see now that I was missing out on a lot.
View from the top of Arthur’s seat
I always have a lot of fun learning about Jonathan’s impressions of a new place in comparison to mine. As an American, I think our culture tends to idealize most places in Europe as foreign, exotic and perfect. Most of my assumptions about Scotland come from the movie Braveheart (FREEDOM!), Trainspotting, and David Nicholls’s novel “One Day” — none of which reflect the beauty of Edinburgh. As an Englishman, however, Jonathan was able to tell me about the banter and competitions between the two rival countries. Throughout history, the Scots have been considered more brutish and aggressive, while the English are mocked for their snotty, high brow attitudes. Obviously these are only stereotypes, but it made me trip to Scotland particularly unique.
While most of our days were spent site seeing around the city, my favorite part of our trip was hiking to the top of Arthur’s Seat. The hike took about an hour and probably could have been faster if I didn’t need to stop for a couple breathers along the way to the top (Jonathan, the cross country runner, didn’t have any problems). We lucked out with perfect weather (a.k.a. no rain) with temperatures in the 60’s. The view at the top is well worth the effort.
Overall, we really enjoyed our experience in Scotland. Jonathan now has a couple more weeks of work left before we start our TEFL class in central London. From what I’ve been told, our class is going to be challenging but perfect for preparing one to teach English abroad. We’re also still working with a placement agency on finding a job in Asia at the moment and can’t wait until we can finalize our destination.
“Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.” -Ray Bradbury