Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Scotland and the Literary Pub Tour

Our London trip ended with a train ride from Kings Cross train station through the beautiful lands into Scotland. It was stunning scenery from the fields of yellow flowers (actually canola fields) to the view of the seaside, and small little towns with ancient architecture.

We arrived at Edinburgh (the G is not hard) to find a man in a kilt waiting for us as we disembarked the train. He whisked us into a bus to see the city, which has way much more character then London!

From Edinburgh Castle, to legends and ghost stories... this town is known for it's literary influence, and I'm not just talking JK Rowlings.

Of course, the first night we went to the Elephant Room where she is known to have written some of Harry Potter. The coffee house has a great view of the castle, and really good food. Rumor has it she was kicked out of the Elephant Room for nursing her tea all day long. She also wrote at a place called Spoon, and Starbucks near the university (where we are told you can still find her).

Here is me sitting at the same table she wrote at.

After we ate, someone told my mom that JK got name inspirations for Harry Potter at the graveyard across the street, so we headed there. The story of Bobby the Dog (who was a devoted dog to his police chief owner and wouldn't leave his side, even after death) was a part of this graveyard. But I wanted to find the names. We found two. Of course, I only found Robert Riddell, though I'm told there is an actual Tom Riddell.

So that was entertaining.

Edinburgh was really green! We spent time walking the streets, visiting museums, eating, and of course shopping.  We didn't take a side trip out of the city, but when I go back I want to explore more of the Highlands.

There is an extinct volcano sort of in the middle of the city, well, right next to it, that acts as a large park. It was beautiful. The architecture there was a step back in history. The city was unchanged. The only thing new was the cars, and they were not overly abundant.

We also found some secret gardens and lots of dead people. :-)

The Literary Pub Walk was really cool. We found some signs for it, and you just showed up at this pub, and they took us up, up, up these stairs and into a small room. It was a walking performance filled with lecture, insight, opinion, beer if you chose (I don't drink) and readings from many of the famous authors who had ties to Edinburgh, including Stevenson, Dunbar, Ferguson, Burns and more.

Of course, being a book addict, I found a children's bookstore specializing in antique children's book. There I found a 100 year old copy of "The Princess and Curdie" which is the sequel to MacDonald's "Princess and the Goblins" which I happen to have an old copy of.
And on the last day we found an Usborne Books booth at an outdoor festival, which was a highlight for Randall, the president of Usborne Books and More. :-)

The people in Scotland were nicer then those in London, so that means really, really friendly. The town never slept!

If I was looking for a place to do a writing course abroad, I'd go here, where inspiration is plentiful on every corner.

But of course, it's always good to be home!


  1. It was sooo cool! It was tiny, but well worth the visit. :-D

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