jbright's Travel Journals


What is the one place every traveler should visit?


  • From United States
  • Currently in Germany

British Isles 2010

All the things I've seen, places I've been whilst studying throughout the UK and Ireland in summer '10.

Day 30: Anything Off the Trolley, Dears?

Scotland Edinburgh, Scotland  |  Jun 12, 2010
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  • Edinburgh, Michael informed us, is only one square mile! It is comprised of the old and new city.

  • One of the places Dr Haavisto pointed out was a little café: The Elephant House. That is the café that JK Rowling wrote Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. On all the outside windows were signs boasting it was the ‘birthplace of Harry Potter.’

  • At one point of the tour, we were sat down in a room to hear a ‘ghost story.’ Though I didn’t find the story particularly riveting, the way the voiceover worked with the flickering lights and such I found entertaining.

 Waiting for the train was less dull than usual because King’s Cross is actually the same station that Harry Potter and the rest of the Hogwarts students go to catch the Hogwarts Express. 

We started this day by leaving London from King’s Cross Station and taking a train into Edinburgh. Waiting for the train was less dull than usual because King’s Cross is actually the same station that Harry Potter and the rest of the Hogwarts students go to catch the Hogwarts Express. Naturally, this meant that first thing off our coach from the hotel, Mimi, Ashley and I went to find Platform 9 ¾. I thought it would be by Platforms 9 and 10, but as one needs a ticket to get through to those platforms, they actually put it in a rather secluded place. I thought this was actually genius on their part because then when people do come to take photos, they won’t be making unnecessary traffic by platforms. I absolutely adored Platform 9 ¾; they actually had part of a trolley going into the wall that you could take pictures with!

First thing off the six-hour train ride, we’re approached by a man with long curly hair wearing a kilt. I didn’t know people still wore those! I figured they were more like lederhosen in Germany that’s really only worn for special occasions and parties, not as everyday clothing! My first thought was that he, the tour guide, was just one of those cheesy guys who found entertainment in wearing period outfits. He led us to the coach where he introduced himself as Michael and the driver as Keith. I look out the window and see a group of five or six men all dressed up in football jerseys, makeup, and wigs displaying their support for Argentina and the USA (two of the teams playing that day in the World Cup. Michael had informed us that tonight everyone would be cheering for the US when they played against England since there’s still a bit of a grudge against them.) We got on the coach and passed a large cyclist group of men and women all topless. What interesting sights to be greeted with on arrival in Scotland.

We got dropped off at the hostel and then made our way downstairs so that we could briefly tour Edinburgh. We walked around with Dr H a bit and she pointed out some of the more memorable and significant places in this city. 

Then we were let go for a bit to grab some grub before we met again to tour Mary King’s Close. Mary King’s Close was awesome! I was completely unprepared for it! I actually didn’t know what we were in for, probably something closer to a dry, ‘traditional’ tour of like a castle or something.

We were led by a man in period dress through a door in the gift shop. Then, we went downstairs and he explained some of the history of Mary King’s Close. The town of Edinburgh (namely the bank) was actually built on top of the Close. The Close was like a neighborhood, but only with one main street. We toured the entire Close and went through tons of different houses and rooms. It was all very intricate—especially with the way they used lighting to make it more realistic; also, their use of some key figures as mannequins made it more easily to imagine that time as it was being described to us. I was astounded by all of the information they had on the lives of these people. 


We went to Frankenstein to watch the England 1-1 USA match.

South Korea 2-0 Greece

Argentina 1-1 Nigeria

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