By Julia Nazzareno, Paris School of Business, France
For all Harry Potter’s fan out there like myself, Edinburgh is probably the best magical experience you can get here in Britain. It will make you go back in time and experience the town that J.K Rowling got her inspiration from.
The reading week was an opportunity for us to travel and discover a little more about the country (and work on our assignments of course…). We thus booked a weekend trip to Scotland very spontaneously because I had heard so much about it, especially during Christmas time. We took the train from Piccadilly to Edinburgh very early in the morning which lasted for around three hours. We also planned on staying one night to give us some time to actually enjoy our visit. I therefore booked the first hotel I was recommended online: the Black Ivy Hotel. It is a little bit on the pricier side compared to an Airbnb but it was the most beautiful hotel ever. Our bedroom had a view on the Meadows Park which I cannot even begin to explain how beautiful and magical it was. We were so lucky with the sun and everything looked golden and autumnal.
The most outstanding building in town in probably the castle. It lies on top of the mountain looking at you with some real mystic vibes and smog (typically Scottish). We doubted whether or not we should visit it because one entrance for a student is almost 20 pounds and we were spending a lot in restaurants and hotel already but we decided to go for it anyway because we had to make the most out of this trip. Let me just say that it was one of our best decisions because it was so beautiful and so sunny.
Another landscape that you should not miss if you truly want to experience Edinburgh is the Calton Hill. It is full of vestige and a great view on the city that makes cool pictures.
Harry Potter vibes
If you are looking for a little Harry Potter inspired tour, you can start by Victoria Street which was the street that inspired Diagon Alley in the story. The buildings are so colourful and the architecture in very English. One of the buildings I absolutely wanted to see was the Balmoral Hotel which is where the author J.K. Rowling was actually staying in when she wrote the very last lines of book 7. It was the most beautiful place ever!
Places to eat
I know Harry Potter is important but what matters most is food isn’t it ? After having walked and travelled for hours, we settled for « Doctors » which was not needles and white blouse but crispy fish and chips and pies (much preferable). If you are feeling like a little coffee, you should check out the Brew Lab Coffee (which was actually recommended to me by the university’s instagram). Pretty much every restaurants looks yummy and you cant really go wrong on that because the city is full of nice pubs.
The best part of this trip was when we bumped into my boyfriend’s American class mate in a random pub at a random time just randomly. What are the odds ? He had not talked to him about the trip nor were they very close. We thought it was so funny and unlikely that we instantly connected and stayed together until we left. We actually saw each other in Manchester when we came back because we could not get over the fact that we had met in Scotland when we had not even bumped into each other in the streets of Manchester. They say exchange programs help you meet amazing people and make unforgettable memories, well it is definitely true and Edinburgh allowed us to truly experience that.
Overall, I think that the best way to visit any place is to simply wander around and you will end up finding everything you did not know you were looking for. This 48h trip was one of the best trips I have ever had and we are actually considering going back before we leave the country.
« Coming back to Edinburgh is to me like coming home. » – Charles Dickens