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Some Lovely Hills

I came upon a shocking realization the other day. Looking past the cool bookshops, beautiful old buildings, stunning landscapes and interesting accents, I was able to see what I had been forgetting all along. I’m still at school!  I still have lectures, readings, and essays. I still have group projects. I’m still being graded (or marked, as they say here). This is rather unfortunate and quite unlike a 5 month vacation. What this means is that I have spent my past two weeks doing schoolwork. As I am fairly sure you would not care to read a blog post about fMRI studies of VLPFC and MTL activity with relation to HAROLD, I’m going to instead show pictures of Edinburgh’s lovely hills. That’s my coping strategy.

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This first picture is of Arthur’s Seat, the extinct volcano behind my dorm. I took this picture before making my first ascent several weeks ago. It is located in Holyrood Park, so named because, when seen from above, it resembles a holyrood. I followed the road that goes around the mountain and ended up climbing up the wrong peak. By the time I looked over at the correct peak, covered in tourists, and realized this, I had not the heart to continue. Instead, I waited until a few days later to try again, this time arriving at the top of yet another false peak. I trekked on, however, and made it to Arthur’s Seat. As before, it was blanketed in tourists, some of them attempting to do Gollum impersonations. As I pride myself in my superior Gollum impersonation, I felt compelled to leave at once and have not returned to that part of the park. However, other parts of Holyrood Park are equally stunning.

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This is a view taken from Holyrood Park of snow clouds over the sea. I had just gotten caught in that snow while hiking and was glad to see it leaving. In another part of Holyrood, one can see larger mountains than Arthur’s Seat, known as Pentland “Hills”. These are so called because, when viewed from above, they resemble hills.

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If you look carefully, you can just barely see Pentland Hills in the distance. From other places in Holyrood Park, the “hills” are more visible, but so are modern buildings and cars. I wanted to take a picture that looked like it was taken in the wilderness, with no civilization in sight. It’s cool that such a location exists in the middle of Scotland’s capital city. It would be perfect for filming a movie…

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I felt challenged after seeing Pentland Hills in the distance, and seeing that they were much taller than the mountain of Arthur’s Seat, (it appears that hills in Edinburgh are larger than mountains). I knew I had to answer that challenge, and this picture is proof that I did so. As you can see, there was snow. In many places, especially the steepest places, this snow had been compacted to ice. There were also ponies and a ski slope. These made for interesting obstacles one would need to dodge if one slipped and slid down the hill. Fortunately, I was able to channel my inner goat and descend without falling once. I was planning on hiking for four hours, but the wind was so cold that I left in one and a half. I plan on returning there soon, now that the snow has melted. I leave you with an image of that which I plan to traverse next. I’m not sure what you’ll do with it. Maybe put it in a calendar?

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