This morning I did not wake-up as early as I had originally planned on, but that was okay because that probably just meant I needed the sleep and I didn’t reallllyyyy have anything planned to do for the day. I think I ended up getting up around 10:00 AM, too late for breakfast downstairs, so I decided to go find a cafe- specifically J.K. Rowling’s Cafe, The Elephant House.
She technically didn’t write the first Harry Potter book here, so it is mis-leading to call the site the “birthplace” of Harry Potter, but she did write the second, third, and majority of the fourth. I went inside and it was still relatively empty so I ordered a piece of broccoli and cheese quiche and a pot of chai tea. I then went to sit down in the back room and try to channel my inner J.K. Rowling. Although I did not come up with any amazing ideas for children’s literature, I was able to write some of my blogs, even though I did not have the focus to post anything.
I stayed there until write before 12:00 PM when I decided it was about time to go out and explore (and play Pokemon GO for the first time in too long). I ended up walking over to Calton Hill and exploring that area in the freezing cold for a pretty long time. It was so pretty. The gallery/observatory area was closed for renovation or something, but there were still a lot of different monuments to look at and explore. There was one monument that looks like an Athenian acropolis but was actually never completed. I also climbed up Nelson’s monument which is 142 steps up and back. The view from the top was absolutely beautiful, but I was slightly concerned that I was going to blow off the top. I probably ended up spending a couple hours just walking around and exploring the park before deciding I was too cold to wander around for much longer.
I wandered out of the park and over towards the Starbucks that was located on the Royal Mile. Normally I would opt for a local cafe, but I had to stop and pick up my assistant pastor a Starbucks Edinburgh mug for him to add to his collection. This Starbucks was two floors and the top floor had a large, stylish sitting area. I chose a seat by the window and then took that time to blog and talk to my family before it was time to head towards the Greyfriars Bobby statue- the starting point of my next Harry Potter adventure, a tour called The Potter Trail.
I knew I had arrived when I saw a girl wearing wizarding robes and holding a wand- then again I wouldn’t really put that past anyone in Edinburgh because the city just has such a large “wizard” vibe. Our tour guide Becky was absolutely fantastic and the tour was cheesy in the best possible way. I met a girl named Melissa on the tour too who was from California, but had been traveling around Ireland and now Scotland for the past three weeks. She was a Ravenclaw and we hit it off from the very beginning. The tour included stops such as Tom Riddle’s grave, The Elephant House, The Spoon Bistro (the location of where J.K. Rowling had actually wrote the first book), and other various sites filled with wizard facts and information. We were also given wands at the beginning of the tour in order to stop traffic so that we could cross the street.
After the tour I ended up walking back towards the hostels with Melissa. She was staying in the hostel across the street that I had accidentally walked into the night before. When we got back to the point we would have to separate, she asked if I had any plans for the evening. I said I didn’t because I generally avoided being out at night by myself and we then agreed to go and get dinner in about an hour, enough time to try to warm-up a little bit.
In my hostel I met four girls who were moving in for the weekend. They were all actually studying in London and this was their free weekend as well. The two girls, Kaylee and Ariel, I clicked more with and we discussed possibly doing something together later or at least all using the showers at the same time to avoid the guys who also had access to the shower.
We went to The Bent Spoon since we are both such big Harry Potter fans and we ended up staying there for almost two hours just talking and getting to know each other. I ordered sweet potato and squash soup with a side of bread and some cider. After dinner we headed to one of the pubs on the Royal Mile and continued talking over a beer. The thing I like about strangers is that you can have all these conversations about your life with them and it’s easy to open up because then you’ll probably never see them again. We exchanged FaceBooks and she told me if I’m ever in the San Diego area I should definitely come and visit. We also said we would try to meet up before we both left on Sunday.
When I got back to the hostel I talked more with the two girls more and I found out that they were planning on doing the same hike I was tomorrow. We decided to all go together and leave around 9:30 AM. We talked and got to know each other a bit more and I found out that they were both Christians, which was comforting. Since they were also in London (but leaving on Wednesday), we decided to all go and see The Phantom of the Opera together on Wednesday night.
After showering and hanging out for a little bit I settled in for another good-night’s sleep.