April adventuring pt. 1: Edinburgh and Wales

Hey. How's your day going. Been a while. You look good.

Right now, I'm sitting ten-ish feet above the ground on the top bunk in a hostel in Lisbon. A few hours ago, I was walking through the streets of Portugal and I realized that I had not blogged since too long ago. Don't you feel special now.

This won't be a massive blog post, because it's 11pm and I spent half the day getting to an airport, flying to another airport, and trying to get out of said airport. I am on a mission to scrape the bottom of the barrel airline-wise and see which one frustrates me the most. So far I've discovered that EasyJet is so far above the nightmare that was Ryan Air that it shouldn't even be in the same "affordable flights" category.

I've also discovered that I don't remember most of the Ryan Air flight that I took to Frankfurt a few months ago because the moment my butt touched the seat, I crunched forward and slept for the entire flight. Ryan Air: causing blackouts since 2013.

Right. April is the month of travel. I have had this entire month off from classes for Easter (because that's a thing that happens), and so my life has become a never-ending odyssey. I spent last week in Scotland and Wales. This week I am spending in Portugal and Spain. Next week I'll be in the Czech Republic.

I heard somewhere that almost all writers have a deep desire to travel. Seeing the world is an important part of growing as an artist. I should put that in my cover letters.

Edinburgh, Scotland

One five-hour, problem-free train ride and voila! Quite possibly my new favorite city in Europe (although... I have yet to visit Barcelona. That's next week). It's all green grass and charcoal-scarred stone, surrounded by mountains and built in levels so that if you take a wrong turn you might end up inside the castle that's built overlooking the city.

Also, if you didn't know, Edinburgh is the birthplace of the Harry Potter books, so naturally I went on a little J.K. Rowling pilgrimage to The Elephant House café. This is where Jo (can I call you Jo? I feel like we bonded) penned the first words of The Philosopher's Stone or The Sorcerer's Stone, if you like. Despite it becoming another place for tourists to take pictures, it is also a wonderful little café with some of the best lemon cheesecake I've ever had. Their chai tea is also wonderful. There's not much that isn't wonderful about The Elephant House.

I also climbed up to the top of Arthur's Seat, which was ironic since I happened to be writing an essay on James Hogg's Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner, in which one of the protagonists also climbs Arthur's Seat. ...I just made a Gothic lit reference and I don't know why it was necessary but it was.

Anyway, Arthur's Seat is a dormant volcano in Holyrood Park, and not only did I not know which peak it was when I started climbing, I also did not want to climb it at all. I may be from Colorado, but my idea of a fun outdoor activity is watching LOST on Netflix. Now imagine my face when I realized that I had in fact climbed the wrong mountain. In a trenchcoat. Carrying a Canon Rebel T2i and my purse LIKE A LADY.

However, once I actually got to the top of Arthur's Seat, the view was quite lovely. And it was worth the sweat and tears. I guess.

Street view of Edinburgh's Royal Mile
Street view of Edinburgh's Royal Mile
The Elephant House
The Elephant House
People wrote notes to J.K. Rowling on the bathroom walls in The Elephant House. I also wrote things.
People wrote notes to J.K. Rowling on the bathroom walls in The Elephant House. I also wrote things.
Taking selfies in The Elephant House bathroom because I can and LOOK AT ALL THAT VANDALISM.
Taking selfies in The Elephant House bathroom because I can and LOOK AT ALL THAT VANDALISM.
OH LOOK A CASTLE
OH LOOK A CASTLE
This picture doesn't even do it justice.
This picture doesn't even do it justice.

Many towns in Wales also yes

As you can probably tell from the title of this section, I had no idea where I was for most of my Wales trip. This is because I was on a bus tour, and as you may or may not know, bus tours involve lots of driving. The driver would stop and say, "This is a nice place for a picture," and so all 14 of us would jump off, whip out our cameras, cheese it up, and then pile back in for another 2-hour drive. On the bright side, I rediscovered my old talent of taking insta-catnaps on buses until the tour guide starts screaming over the PA system to wake us up.

Our Wales tour guide/driver Gary was particularly great at this. He could do the most excellent Gollum impression I've ever heard, and kept referring to us as his "hobbits" because of gender neutrality or some other relevant reason. But he did keep waking me up, which was rude, so I couldn't decide whether I loved him or wanted to punch him.

Wales seemed to me to be like New Zealand in the UK. This was partly because it's full of sheep. Also, every ten minutes, I was referencing the Lord of the Rings. I blame Gary. Now I am going to shut up and show you pictures.

Inside the Welsh Tintern Abbey ruins...
Inside the Welsh Tintern Abbey ruins...
Welsh nature.
Welsh nature.
More Welsh nature.
More Welsh nature.
If you aren't singing the Misty Mountains song from The Hobbit right now, we can't be friends.
If you aren't singing the Misty Mountains song from The Hobbit right now, we can't be friends.
I'm being serious.
I'm being serious.
I think the best part of Wales is the fact that they have a dragon on their flag. Which automatically makes them winners.
I think the best part of Wales is the fact that they have a dragon on their flag. Which automatically makes them winners.