A Weekend Escape // Edinburgh

I figured that it was only appropriate to publish a post about Scotland today. After the referendum results tonight, I might be adding a new country to my Countries Visited page. As a political science student/junkie, it is taking so much self-restraint not to voice my opinion on whether Scotland should be its own country or not. However, this is a travel blog, not a political blog, so I’ll keep my comments to myself :) Regardless, the polls are so close right now so it will be exciting to see what will happen!

To tide you over before the results emerge, enjoy these pictures of an absolutely stunning city!

Edinburgh Weekend Escape via Wayfaring With WagnerThe streets at sunset

Edinburgh Weekend Escape via Wayfaring With WagnerPretty, pretty house! Someone please buy me this one day, please?

Edinburgh Weekend Escape via Wayfaring With WagnerEdinburgh Weekend Escape via Wayfaring With WagnerEdinburgh Weekend Escape via Wayfaring With WagnerArthur’s Seat is an amazing natural wonder! We spent the afternoon climbing to the top of this extinct volcano and taking in the surrounding views of Edinburgh. Somehow I got it in my mind that it was called “Arthur’s Chair” so I spent the entire afternoon referring to it like that :)

Edinburgh Weekend Escape via Wayfaring With Wagner
Edinburgh is the perfect city for a weekend escape from London! I visited Edinburgh the summer of 2011. That summer, I was interning in the House of Lords in the British Parliament. My group took a weekend trip up to Edinburgh to sightsee and visit the Scottish Parliament. We arrived a few weeks after the 2011 Scottish Parliament general election. To give a quick summary of Scotland and its political situation: in 1999, the British government established a devolved Scottish Parliament and Sottish government, meaning that residents of Scotland had much more control over issues pertaining to Scotland (and not as much influence from the British Parliament). When establishing a Scottish Parliament, the British Parliament set it up to make it almost impossible for the Scottish National Party to ever gain power. The Scottish National is heavily in favor of Scotland as a separate country. In the 2011 general election, the Scottish National Party, much to the surprise of everyone, somehow gained a majority and took control of the Scottish Parliament.

Edinburgh Weekend Escape via Wayfaring With WagnerScottish Parliament building. Probably the most eccentric governmental building I’ve ever seen!

Edinburgh Weekend Escape via Wayfaring With WagnerSpeaking to a Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP)

Edinburgh Weekend Escape via Wayfaring With WagnerEdinburgh Weekend Escape via Wayfaring With WagnerWhen I visited in 2011, I was taken on a tour of the Scottish Parliament building by a MSP (Member of the Scottish Parliament). He wasn’t part of the Scottish National Party and remarked that it would be interesting to see whether Scotland would vote on its independence in the next couple of years. Fast forward to today and the Scottish National Party has followed through with its promise: to hold a referendum on independence. As a political science nerd, I’m anxiously awaiting the outcome!

Edinburgh Weekend Escape via Wayfaring With WagnerEdinburgh Castle high up on the hills! Unfortunately, I didn’t get enough time to actually go visit the castle. I’m saving it for a future trip :)

Edinburgh Weekend Escape via Wayfaring With WagnerThe iconic Jenners department store. Before being acquired by the House of Fraser in 2005, Jenners was the oldest independent department store in all of Scotland.

Edinburgh Weekend Escape via Wayfaring With WagnerEdinburgh Weekend Escape via Wayfaring With WagnerEdinburgh Weekend Escape via Wayfaring With WagnerJ.K. Rowling frequently wrote in this cafe. It is said that this is the “birthplace” of Harry Potter (although J.K. Rowling conceived of the initial idea of Harry Potter on a train ride). Another famous author to write in this cafe is Alexander McCall Smith (The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency).

Edinburgh Weekend Escape via Wayfaring With WagnerMany of the names for Harry Potter characters came from this church’s cemetery right behind The Elephant House. I walked through this cemetery and saw the last name McGonagall!

Edinburgh Weekend Escape via Wayfaring With WagnerEnjoy and as always, let me know if you have any comments or questions about Edinburgh!

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  • Oh man, I am really wanting to know your thoughts on the potential Scottish Independence! Can you discuss your thoughts in the comments??? :)

    Anyway, I’ve never been to Scotland… When I did my year in France, I was planning a vacation there for a week but then got lured in by Scandinavia. I do really want to go someday!

    Also, I always knew it was a part of the UK, but I dunno, I always kind of considered it a country of its own in my mind in a way. I guess I saw them as separate, even though not politically. Like England was one place and Scotland was another very different place. But interesting, interesting! It will all be so interesting to see how it turns out.

    On an unrelated note: I’m so sorry I wasn’t able to meet up with you this summer! I came back from NY near the end of August and then time flew by! I still can’t believe we’re in September!!! Are you still in Michigan? (I’m in California right now, but I plan on making it back to Michigan in October and trying to go to Traverse City then!)

    • haha yes yes, I’ll discuss in the comments :) I think Scotland 100% made the right choice staying with the UK. Not only did they not have the infrastructure to support themselves, but being kicked out of the EU and losing the pound would really hurt them. Plus, they are relying so much on their oil supplies for money but those reserves will be almost totally dried up by 2040!!! Those are just my two cents from a polisci major’s perspective : ) I feel like so much people already see Scotland and the UK as separate…hopefully the UK follows through now and devolves more power to the Scottish Parliament!

      And no worries about TC! I’m here until October 7th but will be back around Christmas time :) The weather is seriously the best in Michigan during the autumn months…especially the end of September to the end of October. When exactly do you get back? I might make a trip to Art Prize next Sunday in Grand Rapids!!!

  • I love Edinburgh! it’s one of my favoruite places on Earth. We actually used to drive up there (3 hours) just to go to the zoo.

    I’m kind of glad Scotland voted to stay with us, but would have been interested to see what they did with their independence. I don’t think everything would have been as easy as som Scots seem to have been imagining. Also, worryingly, my home county is right on the border so if there is any backlash we’re going to be right on the front line!

    Also, I already list Scotland and Wales as separate countries on my “where I’ve been” list. They are both separate countries AND part of the UK in my eyes (and I imagine most Brits feel the same) :-)

    • I totally agree. I feel like I already listed Scotland as a separate country because the traditions and heritages seem so different to me than the British traditions and heritages. I definitely think they made the smart decision staying with the UK :) Next time I go to Edinburgh, I definitely need to get tips of where to go from you!

  • I really enjoyed Edinburgh during our day trip from Glasgow. Unfortunately, but not surprising, it rained the entire day so I didn’t enjoy it as much as I would have liked. I do hope to return one day to really explore and of course see all of the Harry Potter tourist spots:) We walked into The Elephant House but it was closed:(

    Cheers,
    Alyson

  • If you get a chance, I would highly recommend to visit the Palace of Holyroodhouse next to the Parliament Building, it’s even nicer than Edinburgh Castle itself! And stop at the cemetery if you can, it offers gorgeous views over the city and of the castle and these old tombstones are just impressive.