Be Proud…I Tried Haggis

I really did! The first night we ate at the Elephant House (the place that JK Rowling wrote all the Harry Potter books) and Stephanie ordered the Haggis. I was like great that’s just going to ruin my meal having it sit there next to me. We all tried the Haggis and I thought it was absolutely horrible. Everyone else thought it had a nice flavor. I ate the bite then threw in some nacho chips in my mouth as fast as possible. For those of you who don’t have the pleasure of knowing what this meal is, it is all the organs of a sheep, including stomach, heart, liver, etc. blended together for one big lump of grey nastiness.

Despite the Haggis Scotland was absolutely amazing. I really enjoyed the trip even though it was far too short. I like Scotland a whole lot better than Ireland which really surprised me! I traveled with the International Society by coach to get to Edinburgh and  it was a five hour ride buuuuH!. That was pretty rush considering my legs barely fit in the seats. We arrived in Edinburgh at 3pm on Saturday and had the day to do whatever we wanted. Helen, Brianne, Stephanie and I headed to Holyrood Palace first. I was so proud of myself because I led the way with a map from our Hostel to the Palace with no troubles at all… and it wasn’t anywhere close. I don’t really understand why all of the sudden I am able to read a map… I am just so clutch!!

castle.jpgHolyrood Palace was my favorite part of the whole trip. This is the equivalent of Buckingham Palace only the place for the Queen in Scotland. It is definitely nothing like Buckingham in looks but it is still beautiful. The palace sits right underneath King Arthurs Seat which is a large hill/mountain. We got the audio tours and I wish I got audio tours for more things in the past because you get so much more appreciation for what you’re looking at when you knooooow what you are looking at. I learned all about Mary Queen of Scots and her very tragic life. The history was fascinating so much that it inspired me to read more about her story later. After going through the inside of the palace we went out to the Abbey. This abbey was ruined by some rebels that hated the Catholics and it was burned down. Only the ruins are left in the yard of the palace. The ruins are very pretty and you can only imagine how massive this abbey must have been. Then we went through the gardens and learned about the Parties the Queen throws once a year. Supposedly no one likes these parties because every time it happens it brings the worst weather of the year!

castle2.jpgAfter the Palace we walked up the Royal Mile. The Royal Mile is a mile and a half and at one end is Holyrood Palace and at the other end is Edinburgh Castle. The street is all cobblestone and we kept having to wonder how this must be so damaging to the car tires despite how pretty it may look. Edinburgh is so pleasant because everything matches. All of the buildings are of the same style. The oldest buildings have gotten pretty black because they used to be heated with coal and the people have either not gotten around to or cannot afford to power wash some of it off. Even with the coal darken buildings it is still beautiful. The Royal Mile is filled with little kilt shops, Celtic jewelry shops, touristy stuff, and Scottish food. We ate at the Elephant House for dinner and I was so stoked. It was great because the cafe really did stay true to its roots and haven’t jacked up the prices or made it touristy after JK Rowling. It was good food, I got out with a nine pound dinner and dessert and a bite of Haggis. I now see how JK Rowling came up with some of her Hogwarts ideas because the cafe looks over the Edinburgh Castle up on the volcano…soooo gorgeous.

ghost.jpgThat night we went on a Ghost Tour. Scotland is full of haunted stories and history. I really wanted to go down into Mary Kings Close but unfortunately they were sold out. So we went on a different tour that went throughout Edinburgh and then up to the Carlton Hill where there is a cemetery. I really enjoyed this tour because it wasn’t stupid ghost stories they were actually real historic events that had happened and some of the artifacts from the stories were in the Scottish National Museum that we could see. At the beginning of the tour we were all give mini flash lights…which in Scotland they call torches. By the time we reached the cemetery I was like are we reallllly going up there??? There was an iron gate and really steep stairs that led up to the graves. The moon was almost full and it was so dark….very surreal. When we went up it was not so scary because the tour was so big. We learned so much!

The term ‘saved by the bell’ comes from this. In the 1800s Edinburgh had a lot of issues with disease especially leprosy. People would just fall over in the middle of the street and no one would be able to tell if they were dead or alive. So they would lay them down for three days and attach a piece of string to their finger. If by chance they were to wake up they could ring the bell and someone would come get them. If they didn’t wake up then they would bury them.

Grave digging was a big issue in Edinburgh because they didn’t have enough body donations to the medical research centers. So people would go dig up someone to get their bodies not so much interested in their jewelries. At one point a lady was buried not all the way and her hand stuck out of the ground. Some grave diggers came along and tried to cut off her hand to make some money. As they did that her arm started to moved around and she was screaming from underground. The men dug up the grave and found that she was still alive. The good point is that they saved her life where the bad point is they were caught for grave digging and had a life sentence in jail. Burying people alive was common mistake because of the coma states these people went into.

group.jpgThat night we went back to our Hostel. Which was very clean and I was very impressed. I hope that some of our other hostels are like this as well…probably shouldn’t count on it.

The next morning we went to Edinburgh Castle. The view was awesome from the top. I still can’t believe this was built on top of a volcano! We saw the crown of jewels, the royal apartments, the church and some other places. These castle grounds were massive and there was so much to see but the history just was not as interesting as Holyrood.

So that is my trip in a nutshell. I’ve got to get to dinner so maybe I will blog more about my trip later. I have three days until I leave for London for three days!