This past weekend was a double-whammy of fun. Not only was it Hallowe'en, but I also had a visit from Claire and Kaitlin! They arrived on Friday night at about 1:00 AM. We spent the next couple of hours talking and catching up. They told me all about France and their travels thus far. It was so nice to see some friends from home. The next day I had the daunting task of showing them around the city. There are so many great things about Edinburgh, so I always struggle to find an itinerary that will do it justice. Surprises of surprises, we were blessed with beautiful weather. For once, the sky was a clear blue without a cloud in sight. Le French chased the rain away! Merci!
We started out at Greyfriar's Bobby - my favorite part of the city. I love the quirkiness of Bobby's history. I mean, there are not many places in the world that would give a key to the city to a dog. Plus, the trees are all changing so the graveyard was beautiful with the blue
sky and fall leaves scattered on the ground. From there we made our way to the Elephant House so that we may soak up some caffeine and JK Rowling's genius before we went to the castle. I've been to the castle at least 8 times before, but it never ceases to amaze me. From the 1 O'Clock Gun to the historical reenactors, it is swimming in adorableness. I forced Kaitlin and Claire to take every imaginable tourist picture, culminating in Claire yelling, "Dear God, woman! Back off!" She came around eventually and joined in on my Michael McDonald impersonations. Woman, you do a good "Ain't No Mountain High Enough."
After our lunch of haggis, we went out in search of Hallowe'en costumes. Our solution? Mustaches! Kaitlin outfitted herself with a curly blonde mustache and a top hat, and she was thus transformed into the Monopoly Man. With a simple bowler hat and thick eyebrows and some upper lip fuzz, Claire became Charlie Chaplin. For myself, a splendid handlebar mustache and green suede hat transported me back into the 70's a la Burt Reynolds.
Our night on the town began at Doctors where we sampled our first cider and watched X
Factor, followed by a jaunt to Malones right down the street. We ended at Finnigan's Wake, where there was a live band playing some traditional Scottish folk songs. Perhaps the
strangest part of the evening was how attractive our mustaches made us, complete with a Polish med student chatting me up for a full half hour and a drunk 60-year old man telling me that he's always had a fetish to discover what it felt like to kiss someone with a mustache. Sorry dude - you'll need to fulfill your fantasy elsewhere.
After fully appreciating the extra hour of sleep - thank you, daylight savings! - we headed down the street to partake in our first traditional Scottish breakfast. Our plates each had about 8 different kinds of meat, which totally explains why there's such a high instance of heart disease here.
After getting our Atkins on, we made our way to Holyrood to explore the palace and
abbey. The abbey was particularly breathtaking. I was standing in the center, with the ornate stone walls on all sides of me and the deep blue sky above. I could hear the trees rustling in the wind and the flutter of a bird's wings as it took flight. I'm not a particularly religious person, but you can't help but feel God's presence when standing in the abbey's ruins.
Our day of sightseeing ended with a trek up Calton Hill. I had never done this before, so this was a new experience for us all. The view was remarkable, and we caught it just as the sun was setting. The sky was a gorgeous hot pink, and we just sat and watched the buildings slowly light up.
Another highlight of the weekend? For Hallowe'en we went on a ghost tour of the underground vaults. Our guide was adorably socially awkward, complete with a lisp. He would sometimes forget what his next line was, or he would slip out of his accent. All in all, it was a hilarious way to celebrate Hallowe'en. To end their visit, we met up with the other Chi Omegas for lunch on Monday. We had 6 of us gathered, which kinda blew my mind! That's a sizable to group as it is, but then I remember that we're in Europe. Woahhhh....!