Two weekends ago I went on the nerdiest trip ever, to Edinburgh, Scotland - UNESCO's First City of Literature. Edinburgh was home to Robert Louis Stevenson, Sir Walter Scott, J.K. Rowling (still is), and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle among many many others. So here are some of the English major-y things I did.
1. Did a book lover's tour! We saw the old University of Edinburgh Medical School including the building that houses the old surgery hall (which I totally and most definitely did not fan-girl over...). We saw a pub that was once frequented by RLS and Conan Doyle during their time at the university. We saw the cafe where J.K. Rowling wrote the first few chapters of Harry Potter and Philosopher's Stone. There was a lot more too, those are just some of the highlights for me.
2. The Writer's Museum! It featured exhibitions on Sir Walter Scott, Robert Louis Stevenson and poet Sir Robert Burns. Obviously I went there for RLS. Anyone brave enough to ask me how I feel about Jekyll and Hyde? Because there's a lot of incredible history there.
3. Robert Louis Stevenson's house, 17 Heriot Row! There's a family that lives there now and I was really creepy outside taking pictures. I was also the only person doing so. Seriously, why don't more people go for that?
4. Sir Walter Scott Monument. The largest monument erected to an author, living or dead. Ever. This thing is enormous. I wish I had gone up it, but I was literally broke.
5. Tour of the underground vaults! Not a ghost tour, because I'm scared of my own shadow and I went to Edinburgh by myself. But it was really extraordinarily cool to see the historic vaults - an aspect of the city that likely influenced Robert Louis Stevenson in writing... okay I'm done.
6. Deacon Brodie's Pub! Though I'm positive that Deacon Brodie did not inspire Jekyll and Hyde, it was still really cool to go have drink in the pub. It was really touristy, and I met some cool Canadian girls, but I also started reading Sherlock Holmes (nerdy thing #7).
But all in all Edinburgh is an extraordinary city full of a rich and often dark history - from the witch hunt to the torturing to the body snatching. It's gorgeous as well, even (and maybe more) so in the dense fog that rolls in. Take a look at the pictures and see for yourself!
The View down High Street on the Royal Mile. 9am.
Sir Walter Scott Monument, 9am.
Robert Louis Stevenson's House (squeeeee)
To the Old Surgeon's Hall (which has a bunch of construction around it and isn't pretty)
J.K. Rowling wrote the first several chapters of Harry Potter on the first floor of this building. Unfortunately for Americans, in Europe the 1st floor is what we consider the second. So a lot of people go to the wrong cafe. Womp Womp.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle lived here once! Near the university.
A mortsafe! What the rich used to buy for their coffins so their bodies weren't snatched! SO Cool.