Edin Burrow

After leisurely sleeping in, Rachel and I hit up the Camden Market in the few hours that we had before our train to Edinburgh would be leaving. It was like the Venice Beach of London! It was massive and confusing like a maze, yet filled with a ton of cool jewelry, cute clothes, and other random shit, with really crazy storefronts.

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Finally, we had to depart London to go to Edinburgh. The journey lasted several hours, making it so that we arrived in the night-time. I met some of Rachel’s friends once we got there, and we all had a chill night eating pizza together.

The following day, while Rachel was in class, I set out to explore the city! I absolutely loved Edinburgh. It’s so cute, rainy, old, and… Scottish. I felt inspired to curl up in a café and read, which I did for a couple hours. Afterward, I stumbled upon a castle (you know, just casually). It was up on a hill and so gorgeous, with a panoramic view of the city (who knew that Edinburgh was near a body of water?) and its green hills. I took pictures with my disposable camera because I had misplaced my camera charger and thus decided to kick it old-school; all of the photos that I do have of the U.K. were stolen from Rachel ;). Then, descending the hill upon which the castle stood, I found a lovely park full of leaves changing colors and a giant monument paying tribute to the dude for whom Scotland was named… I think. I subsequently walked a ton and did some shopping- in particular at this adorable, tiny boutique full of girly gifts.

Once it got dark outside, I returned to Rachel’s flat, where we got ready to go out to a jazz bar! Several of Rachel’s friends met us at there, and for most of us it was our first time being at a jazz bar. At first, there was a 15-piece band playing, and the small club was filled to the brim with people who were at least 40 years older than us. We were thus awkwardly standing in a corner with each other for a l’il while. However, once that band was done playing, most of the old people left and we were able to grab a table. A small, more “hip” band then came on, and they were so good! So what do Rachel and I always do anytime there is music playing somewhere? Start a dance party, of course! We thus went to the center of the room and started dancing, just the two of us, which led to a huge group of people all dancing together. It was a ton of fun.

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^Us with the sax guy! (the one with the mustache 😀 )

The next day, I didn’t do anything the entire day, until Rachel, me, and her friends all went out to a reggaeton bar for the night. It was Tuesday night and subsequently wasn’t very poppin’. However, we still wanted to go out (yet were all broke), so we ended up going to the only other free nightclub. It was kind of a strange place; one floor was playing 80s music, and the other was playing hardcore rock music. We were perplexed, yet once the hardcore floor started playing a Foo Fighters song that we all liked, we decided to stay just to hear it. However, they then started playing all of this throwback rock/pop music from the early 2000s such as one might have heard at a middle school dance. Embracing our guilty pleasures, we decided to stay and ended up dancing crazily for the next couple of hours to “Stacey’s Mom,” “What’s My Age Again?”, “Hey Now You’re an Allstar,” and other classics.

Then the next morning at the butt-crack of dawn, I had to fly back to Paris. It was there that I learned the hard way to NEVER FLY ON RYANAIR. DON’T BE FOOLED BY THEIR CHEAP FLIGHTS, THEY WILL CHARGE YOU EXORBITANT PRICES FOR THINGS YOU DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT, LIKE PRINTING YOUR FUCKING BOARDING PASS AT THE AIRPORT AND HAVING A CARRY-ON PLUS A PURSE.

That is all.

Tea, Scones, and McNuggets

One of my BFFs from high school, Rachel, is currently studying abroad in Edinburgh, so of course I had to pay her a visit while I was in Europe! However, we both had never been to London before, so for the first leg of my UK trip we decided to explore London together.

We met up on the morning of November 9 and went to the office of Rob, a close friend of Rachel’s mom; he and his family so kindly agreed let us stay with them. After dropping off our luggage, he sent us off to go explore. I loved London immediately! Though it was a large, bustling city, I still found it to be very charming, what with every building looking historical (I feel like that’s the only way I know how to describe European cities), cute shops, double decker buses, red telephone booths, etc. One weird thing for me was that it felt strange to be speaking in English all of the time. I kept wanting to say “excusez-moi” and “merci” when weaving around crowds at the tube! However, I am definitely a fan of the British accent.

We stopped at a pub to eat fish and chips, and then walked around a huge shopping district. Afterward, Rachel and I went to see the Parliament building and Big Ben. They were actually very ornate and beautiful! Furthermore, the London Eye ferris wheel was in the background, making for a very iconic area.

  

Exhausted from walking so much, Rachel and I then stopped into a little café to relax over some fabulous tea and catch up on each other’s lives.

That night, we went to Rob’s beautiful home in a more quaint, residential neighborhood of London. We met his awesome wife, Sue, and their 16-year-old son Jake. They invited several of their South African friends over (Rob and Rachel’s mom are both from South Africa and became friends there), and we all had Shabbat dinner together! It was so lovely because we ate a giant feast that lasted for hours with such a lively group of people. Being in that warm environment and being taken cared of was definitely a welcome break from roughing it in hostels whilst traveling =).

The following day, Rachel and I met up with a British friend of hers, Matt, at the Royal Academy of Arts. We walked through a really cool bronze exhibition together. Afterward, to add to the classiness, we ate at McDonald’s for lunch. Actually, we bought food at McDonald’s and ate it on the street next to an establishment called “Table Dancing.” Matt was then our tour guide for the rest of the day, taking us to Old London. We went to a ginormous cathedral, and then crossed a bridge over the Thames in order to see the replica Globe Theater. The sun was setting right when we were at the bridge, creating a gorgeous orange sky.

 

We then went to the top of the Tate Museum on the other side of the bridge, which is a modern art museum in this very industrial, 1960s style building. The building itself was quite ugly, but on their top floor is a place at which one can have afternoon tea and scones- with glass walls and a panoramic view of the city!

Then (we did a lot of stuff that day!) Matt took Rachel and I to this Christmas market thing, at which we watched a comedian/magician guy swallow a balloon and make fun of Americans. A whole balloon! In that area, we ended up going to a Canadian bar, which was an interesting experience. One of the guys who was at dinner the previous night, Steven, met up with us there. Eventually, Matt had to leave to take a train back to his hometown, and Steven, Rachel, and I subsequently went clubbing.

We danced our booties off until the wee hours! Once we left the club, we were very hungry and went to… McDonald’s. It was mine and Rachel’s second time eating McDonald’s that day. This time, when eating it on the street, we didn’t even bother to stand- we just sat on the sidewalk. Clearly we like to eat in style.

Then, we rode a double-decker bus home!