Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Birthplace of Harry Potter

After a short, unplanned detour through Belfast, we finally made it to Scotland! We really love Edinburgh and wish we had more time here. For those of you not familiar with the city, it is largely divided into two sections -- Old Town (where most of the historic sites are located) and New Town (where we stayed). Interestingly, New Town was built in the 1700’s – not very new by American standards!

Our only full day in Edinburgh started off with walking tour of the city, which allowed us to see most of the historical highlights, learn a ton about Scottish history, and see an unexpected stop along the way -- the "birthplace" of Harry Potter! Our tour guide was a huge Harry Potter fan and in addition to the major historical sights (Edinburgh Castle, City Hall, Prince Street Gardens, etc.) she took us by the Elephant House Café (pictured above) where J.K. Rowling wrote the first drafts of Harry Potter! She also showed us the private school that Rowling used as her inspiration for Hogwarts, and the graveyard that contained tombstones with names inspiring some of the characters in the book.

We had a chance to try several local pubs/bars and like the scene more than Ireland. The bars we tried were really laid back and had a much more diverse selection of beers and drinks.

After lunch today we are taking a bus to Inverness in the Scottish Highlands. We will be there until April 28th. We’ll try to snap a picture of Nessie!

Even More Beers (this was a good city for beers):
• John Smith’s Extra Smooth (an English ale)
• Stewart’s 80 (a dark Scottish craft brew)
• WEST Hefeweizen (a Scottish craft brewery in Glasgow)
• Claverhouse (a red ale from Strathaven Ales brewery in Scotland)
• Belhaven Best (another English ale)
• Strongbow (not a beer, but a great flashback to Heather’s study abroad experience)
• Fruli Strawberry (Heather tried this Belgium fruity “beer,” not Jonathan)
• Hoegarden (warming up for Belgium)
• Staropramen (warming up for the Czech Republic)


  1. Wow, I'm impressed at all the beers you guys have tried (and remembered!) Glad the volcano didn't dampen your plans too much, I can't wait to see what other adventures you have!!

  2. Another fun time. Hope you're journaling so we can get it all in the scrapbook. Met with Olie and picked up the package. Love you!