As I write I am eating a brie, apple, and redcurrant sandwich in a little restaurant/tea shop in Edinburgh, Scotland called The Elephant House. It seems to always be full of people and this is actually my second time stopping by today, the first time there were no seats. The Elephant House is actually recognized as the birthplace of Harry Potter. J.K. Rowling is said to have come here to write her novels while looking out over Edinburgh Castle. There are news clippings along one of the walls covering any stories that had to do with the famous auther and her creations. The front window also displays a large sign that proclaims this fact. Despite the tourist attraction that this place serves it still serves good food and its quirkiness has nothing to do with its Harry Potter history. There seems to be little to no air circulation in the back room, adding the heat coming in from the sun shining through the windows. The walls are painted an orangish peach color and decorated with three very large pictures of African dance and children, then there are of course the elephants all around the room. The place is off kilter in a fun way, making it a relaxing spot in old town Edinburgh that I can imagine someone writing their novel in.
As I mentioned before, the food is quite good, probably the best place I have eaten at so far in this country. It is defintely something I would eat again, I may even have to borrow the idea and make it for myself once I get back home to the states. This place along with another smaller coffee shop called Chocolate Soup (which reminds me of something that my dad and grandpa would love) have been very good and I have enjoyed myself the most here.
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side note: I just used the restroom and it is covered in Harry Potter, from the toilet seat collage to the writing on the door. I took picture ;p
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Yesterday I went on a hike up the Trossachs, about and hour drive out of Edinburgh. The hike was definitely strenuous, at one point I was climbing up a hill of rocks and mud. My tennis shoes and sock are completely washed through, I'm going to have to take them with me in the shower and then put them in the dryer. The feeling of accomplishment upon reaching the top was wonderful, and the view was breathtaking; overlooking the lochs and the Jurassic Park-esq tall ferns paired with a beautiful sunny day. This made all of the hard work worth that much more satisfying. I even managed not to get a million bug bits, which is a feat in itself for me.
I have been walking around town since 9:30 this morning and havnt stopped since I started except once for an hour. That stop was well worth it: I got to see the Queen! She was here for a ceremony of the changing of the colors for the Scottish regiment. Apparently the Scottish gaurd used to be divided, but in 2006 it united and now Queen Elizabeth II is here to give them their new united colors. It was an interesting ceremony and a once in a lifetime experience. That was around three and then I left around four to walk up to where I am now. I have gotten so much sun! I put moisturizer with sunscreen on this morning but it has been awhile and when I looked in the mirror I noticed I was definitely red. Now it is about 5:30 pm and I dont have plans until 8:30 when I am meeting up with people to go on another hike, this time up Arthurs Seat. I am debating about getting a treat beforehand at either the Chocolate Soup, just staying here for tea or something, or getting an ice cream cone that they put these little sticks of chocolate in. Such a hard desicion!