And here is the "Heart of Midlothlian." It has a few different meanings. It used to be a geographic marker for the actual center of a region called 'Midlothlian,' it is a general marker for an area of the city that used to be used for executions, and is also the mascot for the Edinburgh football (soccer) team.
Edinburgh was a great city to visit. We only had one day there, so we stuck to the tourist-y areas. On our way there in the morning (yes, at 6:30 a.m!) we ran into another Harlaxton student and agreed to meet up for dinner later. It was actually her birthday, and she had been traveling alone, so I think it was great that we got to connect with her to celebrate over dinner!
This was also my first experience in a Hostel. Hostels are, essentially, very cheap hotels where you book a certain number of beds in a dorm-style room instead of your own private room. You can share rooms with anywhere from 4 to probably 30 other people, and you can have single-sex or mixed-gender dorm rooms (we alway opted for Female-Only dorms because I'm not very adventurous), and you typically share a bathroom with all the other people on that floor. I obviously had some concerns about things like security and privacy and cleanliness, but the experience wasn't really all that bad. We did a lot of research about the ratings of the various hostels and eventually opted to pay for Hostels that were a little higher than the cheapest you could get - which was a great idea! Typically, the people who are in town just to party and make a lot of noise will go for the cheapest possible Hostel they can get. By paying just a little more, we were able to avoid that hassle - and stayed with people who also enjoyed sleep! The first night we met fellow travelers from Australia, China, and Hawaii. I have learned that, as Americans, we don't appreciate Alaska enough. Everyone in that room had been to Alaska, and was shocked to learn I hadn't.
We enjoyed our one discounted drink at the bar attached to the Hostel (there is ALWAYS a bar near or attached to the hostels) with our new Australian friend, Bridgette sang a little Karaoke, and we hit the hay in preparation for our 6:30 train departure the next morning...
See the rest of my pictures at: http://picasaweb.google.com/christine.zani/Edinburgh