After several flight delays, having to re-route my entire flight plan, and one lost bag later, I made it to Edinburgh and today marks the first day of classes! It’s been a whirlwind week and a half of living in Edinburgh. I am beginning to find my way around the city and get settled in to my new apartment, which is conveniently located about ten minutes from school and from a local pub area.
As I was driven to the hotel for orientation, my taxi driver pointed out local landmarks and I immediately knew this was a city full of friendly individuals. This was further proven by the man at Reekie’s Smokehouse who gave us free dessert (homemade by his wife), as well as the barista in the Elephants and Bagel coffee shop who provided me with a list of must-dos in Edinburgh.
The feeling I had when I went exploring on my own the first time was incredible. Although slightly terrifying, the sensation of independence was thrilling. I have done several of the “tourist” activities in Edinburgh, which have already enriched my short time here. Last week I visited the National Gallery of Scotland, where I saw many Renaissance paintings, including one by Leonardo da Vinci. The National Museum of Scotland was a collection of Scottish relics and world history, including a large exhibit about animals and their development over the centuries. Additionally, I took a peek inside St. Giles Cathedral, located in the heart of the Royal Mile, which has beautiful stained glass windows. Our orientation trip took us briefly to Calton Hill where we saw spectacular views of the city and sights of “Edinburgh’s disgrace,” a failed attempt at a recreation of the Parthenon of Athens. On one of the sunnier days, I climbed Arthur’s Seat, where the entire city of Edinburgh can be seen. Although I have only lived here for a small period of time, I already feel a connection to this place and I am looking forward to the adventures that lie ahead.