The Royal Mile
The bus ride from Glasgow
was beautiful. When I wasn't asleep, I was
watching the stretches of countryside. Not to sound cliche, but the
grass here is a lot
than it is anywhere else I've ever seen. It was so nice to look out at
the rich colors, and the sheep and cows and horses... Simple, I know,
but this satisfied some necessary "to do" item in my mind...
traveling through the countryside in Europe, looking out the window
pensively... like you can find all the answers to your life out in
Anyway, we got into the station in Edinburgh
and met up with my friend
Jessica from high school, who is studying abroad at the University of
See, it's so dark!
She was a WONDERFUL tour guide and hostess. Edinburgh is
AMAZING. It is so beatuiful... Walking along Princes' Street to her
flat we got to see the long park on Princes' Street, a bunch of dark,
old buildings, and the Edinburgh Castle. The dark green grass and black
rock holding up the castle give it a very impressive look. After we
took a nap at her flat, and got to meet her flatmates (two of them are
from France, and one is from Greece... they were SO SO SO nice.... and
it was really awesome to be able to listen to French again!), we walked
back to Princes' Street. Aysha convinced us to buy some chestnuts (and
heck yes, they were roasting on an open fire). We ate them in the
street, and they were strange, and kind of messy, but nice and warm. We
shopped a little bit, and then did something daring: ate at a Mexican
We had all been missing it, so we thought it would be worth
splurging on. It was somewhat disappointing, ($22 for a burrito half
the size of the ones in California!!!) but still managed to fulfill us.
What we did after dinner was possibly the coolest thing I've done in my
whole life. Well, at least the coolest thing I've done since I've been
here. Jessica's flatmates told us there was a "Ceilidh" that night
(pronounced "kay-lee"... I know, weird) that the school was helping put
on. They told Aysha and I that it was Scottish dancing, and that it was
really fun. I didn't really want to go, because I imagined a really
smokey bar with a bunch of old, drunk, Scottish dudes doing dances that
I didn't know how to do, while I sat in the corner while everyone else
got drunk, and watched, and got cancer.
However, we didn't have
anything better to do, and it seemed like an interesting cultural
thing, anyway, so we went. Turns out, it was the most awesome thing
ever. First off, there's no smoking indoors in Scotland!!! What a nice
surprise for me, after having to deal with it everywhere I go in
England! Also, since it was put on by the school, everyone there was
our age. There was a band playing traditional Scottish music with a
modern twist to it (they were very, very good), and a bunch of college
age students hanging out in Halloween costumes (it was themed,
unbeknownst to us), and most of the guys were wearing KILTS!!! How cool
is that?!!? To settle my last fear, the dancing wasn't scary, because
it worked as follows: The leader ofthe band would take a break from
playing to explain to us what kind of group we needed to get into
(groups of 8, couples, etc), and then explained how to do the next
St. Gils' Church, which we went in later...
It was all easy things, like holding each other's hands and
spinning in a circle, or putting your hands in the middle and walking
in a circle... nothing too hard for an inexperienced dancer. So then he
would start playing, and we would do the dances! It was SO FUN!!!
Everyone there was so into it! The coolest one was called "The Basket,"
where two guys stood opposite each other and lifted up two girls and
spun them around really fast. In the last one you had to spin with
people all the way down the middle of the room, and you got really
dizzy. I can't tell you how much fun I had. I kept thinking, "We would
never be able to do something like this in California." The dancing was
so much more traditional and innocent than what we consider social
dancing to be at home (i.e.
My favorite picture of Edinburgh Castle, with Princes' Park below. The rock it's on was once a volcano!
molesting each other with minimal
clothing). If we were to try to do this at home, people wouldn't come,
and if they did, they would sit on the side and wouldn't dance
(EVERYONE danced here), and the guys certainly wouldn't be cool enough
to dress up in kilts. As a result, Aysha, Jessica and I decided that we
need to bring the Ceilidh to Southern California so we can enjoy nice,
clean fun, and culture, two things that Southern California lacks. So,