Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Best Weekend EVER (aka Edinburgh 2010)

       This past weekend I visited my super awesome friend Amelia, who is studying at the University of Edinburgh for the fall semester.  I had some trouble getting there (my flight was cancelled due to the French strikes and so I had to buy a new flight the following day), but from the minute I arrived I was in heaven.

Edinburgh is one of the most awesome cities I've ever been to.  It has much more green space than Paris, wider streets, darker stone buildings (they're all beige/light grey here), and HILLS!  How I missed having a vertically interesting landscape to look at!  Also, Edinburgh is much more casual (and less pretentious, in my opinion) than Paris.  People wear sweatpants/work-out clothes/t-shirts on the street and no-one gives them a second glance.  In that regard, I think it's much more like Boston/Davis Sq/Harvard Sq/a giant college town.

Arthur's Seat:
View of Arthur's Seat from Edinburgh Castle

One of the things that I really wanted to do in Edinburgh was climb Arthur's Seat.  It's this giant hill-type thing, which sounded to me like it'd be a nice little hike to the top.  We took the short/hard way up, which basically consisted of a steep stairway made of rock that wound and zig-zagged it's way up the hill.  The last 1/4th of the hike you had to scramble up the rocks as the staircase was no more, and it was all craggly rocks, mud, and pebbles.

View from 1/3rd of the way up

Same level, different view

The top was small, windy, and rocky.  There were two little 'markers' at the highest points, where people were taking pictures and writing their names/messages on the stones.  The climb up was hard for me (even though I have to climb 6 flights of stairs every day to get to my room, I'm out of shape), so I was super happy to reach the top, and I felt really accomplished.  Climbing Arthur's seat was the one thing that I thought I'd really regret leaving Edinburgh without doing, and I did it!  It was one of my favorite experiences this semester.  

     Amelia and I cooked SO much tasty food!  Friday night she had already prepared a delicious stuffed squash with beans, onions, garlic, almonds, and cheese (and who knows what else), which was actually the first time that I ever had squash (aside from summer squash).  
        Saturday for lunch we went to an amazing fish and chips place at the Newington Traditional Fish Bar, and I'm pretty sure the chips (fries) were the best I've ever had.  They were just crispy enough on the outside, soft on the inside, greasy, salty, and vinigar-y.  Saturday night we cooked a spinach/onion/cheese quiche with a rice crust, which we gobbled down in a matter of minutes.
       Sunday for lunch Amelia made potato-onion soup, with cheddar cheese and sour cream added in.  It was comfort incarnate.  Warm and just thick enough, packed with flavor and love.  For dinner, we cooked past and vegetables, and made pumpkin pie for dessert (wanted to show her flatmates what all the fuss was about).
       For breakfast every morning I had scrambled eggs with cheddar cheese, which hopefully will enable me to go without until I come home in December.  

          I had written up a huge long section about Samhuinn and then for some reason it didn't get saved. So I'll stop here for now and write the Samhuinn post later today. 

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