One of the best parts about working in international education is that any time I travel, I’m honestly expanding my resume (you can bet that I have a section on “international travel and work experience”). The bonus of working on a study abroad program? Excursions with the students! I’ve already been on a few (notably to Bath & Stonehenge and Dover), but the first weekend in November took me on my first overnight excursion with this group, and my first time to our neighbor to the north: Edinburgh, Scotland!
Aside from the complete stress leading up to and encompassing the weekend, what with planning the logistics for 60+ students and then ensuring their health and safety the entire weekend, I ADORED Edinburgh! I was even bold enough to declare that I like it more than London. My flabbergasted students pointed out, reasonably, that I had only been in the city for 36 hours compared to an overall total of about a year in London (taking every trip into account). Sure, sure, go ahead and use logic. I maintain that I prefer exciting, mid-sized cities to the super-large cities: see my love of DC and Boston, compared to NYC. Still a great place, but not necessarily perfect for me. And so, Boston:NYC::Edinburgh:London. (Yep, I just went there).
My weekend in Edinburgh was largely spent wandering around and soaking in the gorgeous weather (so lucky!) while keeping my heart rate under control wondering what the students were currently doing. I did a lovely hike to Arthur’s Seat and a visit to Edinburgh Castle, but besides that I was mostly compiling a complete dossier on Edinburgh. You’re welcome.
Scottish accents sounds fake
Every single time I heard someone speaking in a Scottish accent, I scoffed and thought confidently, “All right, buddy. Who do you think you are, Shrek?”
Haggis doesn’t taste badly, but it’s not the MOST delicious thing in the world
I can hear you already: “Whaaaaaaa?? Kristen tried HAGGIS?”
Yes, friends, she did. For the less-informed-about-random-Scottish-foods, the interwebs defines haggis as such:
Haggis [contains] sheep’s pluck (heart, liver, and lungs), minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, and traditionally encased in the animal’s stomach and simmered for approximately three hours
I know. YUM!
I was determined to be adventurous and give it a go. When in Scotland, amirite?
However, I am a bit of a squeamish eater – I’m the girl who has a well defined “food face.” See below for an example memorably captured by Jenny. Note I am eating a delicious piece of pasta and am not actually repulsed by it – for some reason any time I eat anything, I look inexplicably sad.
In deference to the Face, I decided to do the baby version of haggis in the form of haggis quesadillas! Armed with the knowledge of a well-reviewed place, I journeyed out Saturday night with some pals and dove in to a sheep’s stomach in the best way possible: covered with melted cheese.
Essentially, the haggis quesadilla was like any generic minced meat (it thankfully did not come in a sheep’s stomach), but it tastes… different.
Now that I think about it, this is fairly similar to my Food Face, only the “THIS IS REALLY HOT” version.
Verdict: It tasted okay – I got through most of my meal – but it wasn’t the best. It tasted very spicy (flavorful, not necessarily hot, minus the initial temperature). But something about it was a little off… it was also a bit gritty to the taste.
No need to worry – we had ordered enough other food items to feed, well, four hungry people.
And the most important thing to know about Edinburgh:
Any city that welcomes me with blue skies, beautiful views, and great pubs is good in my books
Good weather aside, this is simply a gorgeous and brilliant city and I pray to the spirit of William Wallace that I will be back!