A Busy Week

This past week has been full of all sorts of excitement. From celebrating a holiday I had never even heard of before to hosting one of my dearest friends in the city, it's been pretty hectic (but in the best way possible!).

On Wednesday, I was a bit surprised to find out that it was actually a holiday. There were still classes (though I typically don't have any on Wednesdays), but everyone seemed to be buzzing with excitement about what was to come that night. 

Guy Fawkes Night, also called "Bonfire Night," is an annual commemorative holiday observed throughout Great Britain. It celebrates the failure of the Gunpowder Plot that aimed to blow up the House of Lords on the 5th of November, 1605 during the opening of English Parliament in order to Assassinate King James I of England (aka King James VI of Scotland). Guy Fawkes was among 8 members who were hanged and quartered. 

But you probably know this Guy (punny, right?) from a scene from the film V for Vendetta (which I actually have not seen) in which the main character recites this British folk poem: 

Remember, remember,

    The fifth of November, 
    The Gunpowder treason and plot; 
    I know of no reason 
    Why the Gunpowder treason 

    Should ever be forgot!  

Oh and he's wearing the mask that resembles the face of Guy Fawkes. It freaks me out, to say the least. Here's the famous scene: 

I liked that Guy Fawkes Night was a low-key holiday. My friends and I decided at the last minute to go up Calton Hill to watch the fireworks. The thing about the fireworks, though, is that it's not just one big display- there are fireworks going off all around the city at all times. There was never a moment when the sky wasn't lit up. Not only were there fireworks, but we also lit sparklers and watched other people set paper lanterns off into the sky. It was truly beautiful. I apologize for the lack of pictures, however, since my phone died the minute we got up the hill. 

Sparklers were a must on Guy Fawkes Night.

But this weeks activities didn't end there! On Friday, one of my closest childhood friends (we've known each other since we were only two and a half!) visited me in Edinburgh. I was thrilled to be able to show her around the city and play tourist for a bit. 

While Friday was spent mostly eating and settling in, Saturday was our big day out. 

The day started off late- we slept in until noon because my friend had just returned from three weeks in South Africa. She was on three different time zones so I didn't blame her for the sleepiness! To perk ourselves up a bit, we grabbed a quick coffee and set off for Calton Hill. 

When I had been up the hill on Wednesday night, it was my first time and I was just dying to see the views of the city during the day. So I used my friend as an excuse to make another trip. What I love about Calton Hill is that it's not much of a climb (just up a few sets of stairs) but you still get to see stunning views of the city. Seeing Edinburgh from way up there made me really appreciate the fact that I live in such a beautiful and unique place. 

Our next stop was the National Galleries. But on our way there, we got a bit distracted by the poppy display outside the Scott Monument on Princes Street. The "Field of Remembrance," as it was called, was made up of about 11,000 symbols of remembrance (featuring, of course, poppies) in order to honor both past and present members of the Armed Forces. This setup was for British Remembrance Day, which is much like Veterans Day in the States. We spent a few minutes admiring the field, and then made a donation and received poppy pins to put on our jackets. 

Family members were able to write personal messages on the symbols.

A wider view of the field of 11,000 poppies. 

After our little diversion, we continued to the National Galleries for some good ol' fashioned culture. Since I take History of Art now, I was obviously an expert in all of the pieces at the gallery. Not. But at least I got to pretend like I knew a little something when I saw a work by Giorgio Vasari and told my friend how he was basically the first person to document art history. That is my #FunFact for the day. 

Now that we had checked climbing and culture of the list, we settled down for lunch at one of my favorite girly spots, Eteaket

So. Much. Tea! 

The design of the restaurant is too cute- I mean, wall-to-wall turquoise, pink, and white... what more could you ask for? But the food is even better. This place specializes in a more casual, no-fuss version of high-tea. While I think fancy-schmancy tea parties have their place, sometimes you want the experience of high-tea without the price and the frills. A pot of tea, half sandwich, and ginormous scone? I'll take it. 

I love how they use mismatched tea cups! 

The perfect little meal. 

A girls' day out isn't complete without a little shopping, of course! The two of us headed up and down George Street, ducking in and out of various stores to keep warm and keep out of the rain. It was a great excuse to explore some new stores while also popping into some old favorites. 

Anthropologie always seems to have the best displays. 

Barbour jackets are a British staple. 

While it started to get dark around 4 o'clock here, it made for a nice setting to see the city light up with all of the Christmas decorations. Yes, I said it- Christmas. Since there's no Thanksgiving to be had in the UK, we go straight from Halloween to Christmas- and fast! 

The Dome on George Street all decked out for Christmas. 

The day ended after our shopping trip, and then our night out began! (but that's another story). 

I love to show friends around Edinburgh because not only does it make me seem like the expert that I'm not, but it helps me to appreciate the city that I live in. So, if you're thinking about doing study abroad or have a few thousand dollars to spare, this is your invitation to come visit me! 

*wink wink, nudge nudge* 


Thank you to everyone who took the time to fill out my survey! I really appreciate all of the feedback and sweet comments you guys left me.  

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