Getting to Edinburgh

Christian Fogerty University of Edinburgh, Scotland


January 14, 2018

After a three day flight delay, a missed connection, and plenty of internal screaming I finally arrived in Edinburgh. Once I stepped out of the airport I realized I had no idea where I was going, so I just hopped on the tram (sensible, right?). The scenery outside of my window was charmingly glum at first. Green hills, gray skies, and the occasional streak of light peering through the clouds soon lost focus to apartments and businesses. These were gray in their own way, but again, charmingly so. I still hadn’t seen the classic "Google Image Edinburgh" from my sparse research beforehand. But 20 minutes into my tram journey I saw parallel rows of brown, old, fading, classic, gothic houses passing by. 

At first I thought to myself “Wow, look at that building!” every 5 seconds, but as the tram neared downtown this phrase lost its novelty and also its feasibility as it’s impossible to say it every 0.1 seconds (not that I’m doubting you (I am)). Massive cathedrals, castles, museums, and monuments glittered the scene before me. Even the Pizza Hut looked like a fine eating establishment. After 10 minutes of this gawking daze, I came back to reality a little and remembered I’m across the ocean, I don’t know how to get to where I’m going, and I’m carrying multiple suitcases. In the middle of downtown I stumbled off the tram with a bright, bold label above my head that said “TOURI$T.” This was how I felt at first but as I started walking through the streets I saw other people zigzagging with suitcases, goofy grins, and glazed eyes so I figured I wasn’t alone. Eventually, I found the right bus and managed to learn how to pay the fare after inferring what the driver said from a few words I picked up after an onslaught of thick Scottish.

As I write this three days later I can feel myself coming down from the city high. The last few days have been filled with aimless wandering around Edinburgh. Getting lost isn’t really an issue since I live next to Arthur’s Seat, a massive hill overlooking the city in Holyrood Park with a breathtaking view. I could find myself walking down cobblestone alleys into what looks like Diagon Alley from Harry Potter. Next, I would find myself walking up a curved staircase into an open view of some cathedral or elegant structure dedicated to a Scottish poet. And when I say up and down I’m talking near 45 degree slopes. There doesn’t seem to be a single flat surface in this city. But I don’t mind the exertion. In fact, I don’t even notice it because I spend the entire time looking around me, distracted by another beautiful building (here I come thick calves!).

Well, I don’t know how I’ll feel about this place in a week, let alone five months from now when I leave, but I do know that there will never be a dull moment. I can always walk into another pub, coffee shop, music shop, book shop, or cafe and see something new. And maybe I can also write the occasional blog post for all my fans out there. When I do, I’ll try to make it somewhat interesting. For now, my next goal is to assume a Scottish accent the next time I meet a Scottish person and see how long I can keep up the act without my ‘Merica shining through. Cheers m8s!