Through editing I’ve realised these posts have the potential to read like a very staid and stale list of “What I Did On My Holiday”, so I’ll do my best to keep it brief and interesting!
The first weekend of March I had my first of several weekend tours for exchange students, which meant that someone else basically planned everything for me. I went to Scotland again, this time to Edinburgh and the Highlands. Edinburgh is a glorious city. Somehow my lucky streak of making friends easily continued, and together we visited the Elephant Cafe where JK Rowling first starting writing Harry Potter. The bathroom walls were covered in people’s messages to her and about Harry Potter in general – it was the most wonderful thing I’d ever seen. Throughout the weekend we also crashed a stag party and helped the groom work through a list of dares, visited Stirling Castle, and then headed up to Loch Ness and explored the highlands, including places like Culloden which was pretty eerie and emotional.
Later in March, I visited Paris (by train! The fact that’s possible still astounds me) with the same company, so was lucky enough to have the same people with me. We went to both the Louvre (it wasn’t for the whole day so it doesn’t count for my bucket list) and the d’Orsay, and I maybe cried at both places. Montmartre was also on the list, and there we saw where van Gogh lived. As is pretty clear now, I’m a huge art history nerd so I found myself crying again over long dead artists. The lock bridge was probably my favourite place in Paris – I tipped a sweet old man playing the accordion who then insisted we take a picture with him. We also (obviously) visited the Eiffel Tower; we didn’t go up the tower, but we did eat crepes and go on a carousel underneath it, which was just as magical. It feels slightly strange reflecting on Paris; it was so peaceful and beautiful when I was there, and the stark contrast between my experience and the recent tragedies makes for a very odd feeling. I guess the world is filled with beauty and horror and it’s hard to reconcile that the two can coexist in the same space. You never know when things will change, so make the most of them while they exist.