Friends Visit Edinburgh!!

I was sad to leave Copenhagen on Monday, but I was beyond excited to show Cait and Natalie the place I am happy to call home this semester!!  After landing in Edinburgh, we took the AirLink bus then walked the remainder of the way to Cait and Nat’s hostel.  We split up for a bit so that I could put my bags back in my flat, but then met at Camera Obscura and World of Illusions.  This museum offers beautiful rooftop views of the city, a camera obscura presentation (the only camera obscura I have ever seen!), and several floors of interesting illusions.

First we went to the very top floor to see the city view – here is a photo I took:

Then, we went to the camera obscura show, which was very cool and quite funny. The camera is over 150 years old and projects live images onto a viewing table located at the center of the dark room we were in.  We were able to see all the famous landmarks in Edinburgh in just about 20 minutes without even moving!

After the camera obscura show, we explored the rest of the World of Illusions museum.  I recognized a few things from reading about them before, so it was really cool to experience them in person! For instance:


(Cait, Nat, Me) Am I extremely tall? Ok, maybe, but…what about now:

(Me, Cait) Cool, right?!

And:

Where did the rest of me go??

We were having way too much fun!

After the museum, we got £1 pizza for dinner – a Monday special at a local pub, Kilderkin.  We considered going to an open mic night at another local pub, but we were too exhausted!

On Tuesday, we met up after my class and hiked Arthur’s Seat and Calton Hill.  It was a great day for a hike – perfect temperature and, although a bit cloudy, nice and bright outside.

Here we are midway up our Arthur’s Seat climb:

Me, Natalie, Cait

And at the top:

Natalie, Cait, me

We brought sandwiches and ate lunch near the top… Cait documented the adventure with her selfie stick 😆


Cait, Nat, me

Next, we climbed Calton Hill! I love the view of Edinburgh from Calton Hill:


Finally, after all that walking, we sat down for ice cream at Mary’s Milk Bar – yum 🙂

Natalie was very excited to make it into the picture!!

On Tuesday night, we went to The Three Sisters for their weekly pub quiz.  I was so excited for Cait and Nat to meet some of my friends from school, plus there is free macaroni and cheese at halftime. Win-win situation.  We had a lot of fun, and we absolutely dominated in the first half (we only got one question wrong!)… but lost our edge in the second half.  Maybe one of these times we’ll win 🙂

On Wednesday, we met at Lovecrumbs after I finished class.  Lovecrumbs sells coffee, tea, and – most importantly – yummy cakes.  I got a slice of lemon-raspberry cake, which was very tasty.  (If you haven’t noticed, I eat REALLY healthily when traveling with my friends.)

Then, we went to the Palace of Holyroodhouse (also called the Holyrood Palace). It was my first time visiting the palace, and I loved it.  There were no photos allowed within the palace, but here is a photo of us outside:

Look above us. The unicorn is Scotland’s national animal!

And here is a photo from the Holyrood Abbey:

On Wednesday evening, we got dinner at The World’s End.  I had already been with my parents, and had to go back! They are famous for their fish and chips, so we had to get that! Emily and Carolyn came in from Copenhagen on Wednesday night and met us at the restaurant.  I was so thrilled to see Emily again and to meet Carolyn, whom Emily met through DIS (Danish Institute for Study Abroad).

Here is a picture of all of us:


Me, Cait, Carolyn, Emily, Nat

On Thursday, the girls went to the Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Botanic Gardens while I was in class.  We met up in the evening at my flat, where I prepared a taco bar dinner for our last night all together.


…and this wasn’t even all of it.  The spread: hard shells, soft shells, mild chicken, medium chicken, cilantro-lime rice (brown & white), black bean & corn salsa, mango salsa, guacamole, fajita vegetables, lettuce, tomato, lime, hummus, sour cream, cheddar cheese.  I had so much fun making everything, especially the salsas and guacamole (my favorite condiments), but I severely overestimated how much we would need.  The leftovers lasted several days, including another dinner for four on Saturday. :haha:

After dinner, we went to Holy Thursday mass together.  Then, we went to a Catch Phrase pub quiz as our final activity all together 🙁 It was a lot of fun, but we were so ready for bed by the end.  I walked Cait and Nat to their hostel for some sad final goodbyes – their flight was early Friday morning – then returned to my flat.

On Friday, Carolyn, Em, and I climbed Arthur’s Seat! It was another perfect day for the climb – we got lucky, as Saturday and Sunday both had pretty crummy weather!

And, of course, we had to celebrate the climb with Mary’s Milk Bar. It’s a tradition.  I was hoping to climb Calton Hill with them, too, but my knee was bothering me 🙁 so they did that on their own while I went back to my flat, then to Good Friday mass.  We met up after mass for a nice dinner at Black Bull on Grassmarket.

On Saturday morning, I met Carolyn and Em at the weekly Grassmarket Farmer’s Market, where we got delicious macarons from Mademoiselle Macaron.  Then, we went grocery shopping for our homemade Easter Sunday Brunch 🙂  We split up for a bit then reconvened at my flat for taco leftovers.  Even with the three of us plus my friend Michael, we still did not finish them.  At least now I know I can cook for a crowd.

After dinner, Carolyn and Emily went back to their hostel while Michael and I went to Easter Vigil at St. Albert’s Catholic Chaplaincy.  The Vigil was absolutely beautiful, and I was blown away by the choir – especially their last song, Hallelujah.  After mass, I went to Teviot (the student row house) with some friends from church – Balázs, Clare, Mathews, and Michael – and Carolyn and Em met us there.  We hung out and talked for a while before all heading back to our respective flats/hostels.  Again, I was so grateful for the opportunity to introduce my friends to each other 🙂

Sunday was our last full day together, but we made the most of it!! Em and I went to Easter mass together in the morning, then met Carolyn at my flat where we prepared a delicious brunch.  Alex showed up a bit later and joined us for fun and food!

Carolyn made delicious scrambled eggs with cheddar and mozzarella cheeses, tomatoes, onions, and peppers.  Emily did a magnificent job of slicing the strawberries.  I made french toast (served with Nutella and whipped cream) and bacon.  We also had yogurt and granola, and avocado toast (toast + avocado + crushed red pepper + olive oil + salt).  Last but certainly not least, we had mimosas!


My plate (well, my first plate).


Emily and I with our mimosas!

Brunch was so much fun and I am so glad we were able to spend time together cooking and laughing and – of course – eating delicious food!  This was the first time I was not with my family for Easter, so having such great people to spend it with was really nice.

Carolyn and Em had an evening flight on Monday, so we met up briefly in the afternoon for some final exploring and souvenir shopping before parting ways one last time 🙁

I still cannot believe how quickly the week and a half with my friends flew by, but I am so grateful I got to spend time with them… and I am honored that they chose to spend part of their spring breaks in Edinburgh!

I hope everyone had a blessed Easter! Happy April 🙂

– Tori

Ms. Victoria J. Malstrom

Welcome to my blog! My name is Tori Malstrom and I am from Baltimore, Maryland. I am a junior at the University of Scranton. I am majoring in Mathematics and Philosophy and minoring in Criminology. I am in SJLA, which is the Special Jesuit Liberal Arts Honors Program. Currently, I am studying abroad at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. In my free time I love reading, cooking, listening to music, and playing piano and guitar. I love animals, especially my dog Molly :) If you have any questions or comments, feel free to comment directly on my blog posts. Thanks for stopping by, and please stay as long as you'd like!

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