By Janna Wale, Thompson Rivers University, winner of the 2017 Stories from Abroad Scholarship and a member of the BC Study Abroad Writer in Residence Team.
When I used to think about all the places I would see while I was abroad, my mind automatically jumped to the famous and historic places. I thought about Paris, Rome and London, envisioning coffee at the Eiffel tower or lunch near Big Ben. What I quickly discovered surprised me and completely made my change my thinking about travelling.
While there is something to be said about these famous and historic places, I found a lot of the popular tourist attractions to be overpriced and overcrowded. Don’t get me wrong I am happy I went and experienced all of these amazing places, but when I reminisce about my time living abroad the places that stick out in my memory are the lesser known places, the often overlooked places.
While rainy Scotland may not be on everyone’s bucket list, I guarantee once you are standing in the shadow of the Edinburgh Castle located right in the middle of the city you will change your mind. Rain or shine. One of my favorite things about Edinburgh is that no matter where you wander, the culture is rich and unique. The winding streets are lined with small local shops, some of which have been steeped in culture for hundreds of years. Even though it is the capital of Scotland, it manages to avoid feeling busy despite attracting thousands of tourists every year.
While in Edinburgh I discovered a coffee shop above a bookstore that has completely stolen my heart. If you ever get the chance it is on Princes Street and has an amazing view of the castle and the heart of the city. I was also fortunate enough to discover a tiny bookshop absolutely packed with almost every title I could think of. Even though at the beginning of the trip I would have told you that I was the most excited for Barcelona, upon my return to Canada I can say with certainty that Edinburgh is the best city I have experienced so far.