Today is my first full day in Scotland.  So what I did I do?

I slept in!   Yes, I missed the campus tour I’d been planning on going to in favor of extra sleep.  I feel like I deserved it after yesterday, anyway.

I had a leisurely morning, a brisk walk in the afternoon to the stores, and then a leisurely afternoon.  At that point, I began to feel a little guilty.  I mean, yes, I am so sore that walking was a literal pain and yes, I am jet lagged and yes, the hurricane is whiplashing Scotland at the moment so the winds will take your hat and possibly you up into the air without fair warning.

But still, I had to go do something.  At 7:30 on my schedule, there was an event titled Simply Scottish.  It seemed good that on my first full day, I would go to an event that claimed to immerse its guests in Scottish traditions and it would be good to explore more of the city.  So I left an hour and a half early, bearing my camera, and set off.

I left that early so I wouldn’t be late finding it, but also so that I could finally use my camera as it was meant to be used.  And let’s just say, my camera loves this city.

Just outside the back entrance to my building is…

the rest of my building.  So how come I don’t get to live in one of the towers?

Life = unfair.

As I continued my quest, I discovered the lamp post from Narnia. 

Yeah, it was just planted right in the middle of a remote courtyard!  Of course, I knew that my quest for Narnia couldn’t be in vain if pieces of it were leaking into my immediate locale.

I will never give up my search!  So far, attempt five and six in my wardrobe were unsuccessful.  But there is always tomorrow, right?

No, Tumnus did not trot by, but you know how he is with Daughters of Eve, so it’s not really that surprising.

I love street pictures.  Looking down the street of Edinburgh makes me feel like I’m really here, though I still don’t believe it.

It is definitely growing on me.  My dear camera helps me realize just how amazing it is.

When I see this building, I feel like it should be an epic cathedral, not a gift shop.  It’s just amazing.  It’s the first thing I see when I walk through the archway of my dorm.  I stop, stare, think about organs and possibly mysterious lights in windows…

…and then remember that it’s a gift shop.  Why, Edinburgh?  Why?

Arched red door = adorable.

Also, notice the pretty view into the city.  There are lots of really cool gaps that just make you stop and stare at the vista of rooftops and spires.

I proceeded down the steps just below where the picture cuts off to reach my destination.  It’s a shortcut.  Totally native, right?  Okay, maybe not, but still.

And then there was this cute street with colorful shops and old stone and… and….

It’s so pretty!!!

My manic grin may or may not have frightened away some innocent bypassers.

But it’s so pretty!!!

So, anyway, I went down the street and as I walked, I noticed a sign for Greyfriars Kirk.  I immediately veered to the right and went through the quiet, empty little archway.  Greyfriars rang a bell because I knew a ceilidh later this week was going on there and I wanted to make sure I knew where it was.

When I stepped under the archway, I caught my breath.  It was so quiet and tucked away, and yet still overlooking the city.  Beautiful!

Such a cool building!

Oh, and if you look carefully at the carvings by the window in the lower leftish side, it’s actually a skeleton.  Lovely, right?

Down the path, you could see across the city.  It was just a perfect view and there was no one else there.  Just me and… well, okay, me and a bunch of dead people.  But they were really polite and quiet and left me to my picture taking.

All the graves that I saw were marked with dates from the eighteen hundreds and maybe the early nineteen hundreds.

And then there was an arch!  Not an Aslan-approved arch, to my disappointment, but it was still fun going through into the walled area beyond.

Celtic cross!  I think this is the first one of I’ve actually seen here.  So pretty.  This dead person had taste.

This was the back of the kirk, by the way.  The windows are great!

All in all, this was an excellent detour.  It’s right in the middle of things, but I felt like it was far away from the busy, rushed, loud traffic on the other side of the wall.  It was quiet, serene, kind of creepy, and gorgeous.

I was still early to the ceilidh despite my detours.  I didn’t mind and I ended up meeting a few nice people who ushered me inside the building and chatted while everything was being set up.  So here’s what I experienced at my Simply Scottish event:

  • A quiz on all things Scottish (I would like to give a shout out to Stephanie whose showing of the movie Darby O’Gil and the Little People earned me a random point on the quiz!
  • Haggis, which I did eat, and which I thought was decent, if pasty feeling and dogfood looking.  Here is evidence, for those who suspect me of falsifying my experience, and yes, it did proceed into my mouth and not back onto the plate so give me some credit here:
  • Dancing.  Yes, don’t laugh, but I danced.  Or, I tried to.  There was music, there were steps halfway learned, and there was crazy movement in circles and such.  I think it was dancing.

So that was my first ceilidh and ended up being quite a nice day.  I met two awesome people from China who were learning their way around Scotland as I was and we bonded over being ridiculously bad at dancing.  I made some good contacts with the Christian Union society who I will be seeing throughout the week and throughout the year for events and small group.

Oh, and in case you were wondering about the vampire, yes, on our way back to the dorm, we passed by a guy dressed like Dracula.  He was completely pasty white and had a black cape with a huge collar.  He also had a Scottish accent.  We sort of paused, stared, shrugged, and went on. Sorry, no picture!

But there are finally pictures of other awesome things, so yay!