“Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can’t see where it keeps its brain.” – JK Rowling

I’m a big Harry Potter fan. I’m just putting that out there. And as a big fan I know that JK Rowling wrote in Cafés in Edinburgh. So imagine my delight when I saw this sign:


Then the disappointment set in when Suzanne told me that most of the cafés in Edinburgh claim the same thing. Apparently everywhere wants a bit of Harry’s magic and of course it is impossible to tell whether or not she actually wrote there or not. Granted, in all of my wanderings (although I only went up and down a small number of streets), it was the only sign I saw proclaiming Harry’s birthplace.


Which brings me to the second part of my Harry Potter tale: although this part actually happened first. Upon leaving London, I was to catch the train to Edinburgh at King’s Cross which, as some of you know, is from where the Hogwart’s Express leaves for “somewhere in Scotland”. I was thrilled at the opportunity to see the wall between platforms 9 and 10. However, sadly, I ended up arriving at the station with only 10 minutes in which to buy my ticket, find my train, and get a seat. Me being the paranoid and perpetually late person I am, was worried that I wouldn’t catch the train if I went off in the opposite direction looking for the platforms so I skipped it and did just barely make the train. So it was probably a smart decision but disappointing nonetheless.


And finally, when we were in the Highlands, much to my delight we parked by the bridge that was used in the second movie. You know (if you saw the movie) the one that Ron and Harry see as they are chasing the train with the car. It’s in a gorgeous setting and apparently famous outside of Harry Potter. We weren’t very close but you can somewhat see the bridge in the picture. Obviously it’s not the same viewpoint.



February 4, 2008. Random. 4 comments.

“…the long dark winters in Edinburgh could be rather dismal.” – Paul Nurse

Friday was spent getting acquainted with Edinburgh. When I say acquainted I mean I spent 5 hours walking around the city. I first headed out in the morning with Suzanne as my tour guide. We walked from her room up to the Royal Mile which is surprisingly nearby since she lives in the student ghetto (according to her). At the top of the Royal Mile is Edinburgh Castle and at the bottom is the official residence of the Queen (at least I think that’s how it goes).

Unfortunately, at this point, my camera died so the rest of our wanders could not be captured on film. But basically we traveled from the top of the Royal Mile to the bottom with a pit stop at St. Giles church.

After a quick nap (long enough for my camera to charge somewhat), I headed out on my own for some more wandering. I headed back up to Edinburgh castle so I could take some pictures where I left off. But first I headed in the wrong direction and ended up in the specialty shops section of the city. This is where I found the greatest tattoo parlor. Called Love Hate Tattoo shop the sign proudly announced “Custom Tattoos” underneath in less bold letters “Laser Tattoo Removal”. Enjoyable!

After finding my way back to the castle I headed down some random side streets and got completely lost and turned around. By the time I recovered my bearings (I even had a map although it wasn’t much good since I didn’t know whether I was coming or going most of the time), I realized that I was back on the Royal Mile. How I got there I have no idea. I think over the 3 hours of exploring I went up and down two or three of the streets at least 4 times. I’d walk for awhile and then see a shop that looked extremely familiar. Then I’d realize “Oh, I’ve been here before … at least twice”.

But I got some really cool shots, and saw lots of the city. I’m really getting my exercise on this trip.


This is one of my favorite shots. I think it really captures the mood of Edinburgh. Friday was very dark and grey and all the buildings were very dismal and moody. It is almost exactly as I pictured Scotland.


February 4, 2008. UK. Leave a comment.