What a crazy life I lead! That’s the first thing I can think to say. The last few weeks and until the end of this semester I am traveling every weekend, and studying hard during the week. (Four of these trips are with IFSA, the rest are self conceived and funded.)
Paris was beautiful and I finally was able to place buildings and paintings I’ve read so much about. Accordion music was the literal soundtrack. It was exciting to attempt to speak French, and feel surrounded by a language foreign to me. I was a little dissatisfied though with all the “tourism,” yet how could I return from Paris and say, “I didn’t see the Eiffel Tower,”? I saw what I knew I needed to see, to have said I had seen. I enjoyed getting to do things stereotypically French, like drinking coffee in the outdoor seating of a café. It was such a whirlwind of a trip though, and I didn’t feel like I got to know the city. (Although I do know the metro system well!) It made me appreciate living in Belfast.
The next weekend (last weekend) I traveled by ferry, train, and bus to Scotland. Edinburgh was an entirely different city from Paris. I saw one of the first skyscrapers, and the vaults beneath the city on a ghost tour.
I toured the castle, where I discovered is the resting place of Scotland’s crown jewels. Edinburgh is one thousand years old, and it feels old. I felt history in Paris, but it’s too fancy to be described in that way. There’s an enchanting blend of archaic crumbly-ness and the pride that goes along with it. On a contemporary note, I also saw the café where JK Rowling wrote Harry Potter, and being a big fan, I was giddy.