Edinburgh Rocks

    I finally got around to scanning and editing the Polaroids from our trip to Scotland a couple of weekends back. We were only there for a Friday night, but that gave us enough opportunity to explore and get a taste of Edinburgh, which is perhaps one of my favorite cities in the UK. I was a bit biased, I'll admit, by the warm sunshine and blossoming of spring, but the city itself has a great vibe. The buildings and city layout have a unique mix of classical, Gothic, and post-modern elements, and with golden gorse-covered hills and cliffs on one side and the Firth of Forth on the other, it feels like an epic place to be a student or even just a tourist-pedestrian.

    A highlight of the trip was our walk along the Salisbury cliffs outside the city and our scaling to the the top of Arthur's Seat on Friday evening. Likewise, the next morning, we took an enjoyable "philosophical walking tour" of Edinburgh, which pretty much meant tracking down the grave of David Hume (Scotland's most well-known philosopher) and the building named after him on the University of Edinburgh campus. Hume Tower, where the Edinburgh philosophy department is located, was empty due to it being Saturday morning, but we did a sort of non-hostile break-in (walking past reception and riding the elevator up) to the academic offices. We checked out their billboards, their course offerings, and I appropriated some information on the philosophy Honours program, just in case.

    We finished things up with a tour of the unique new Scottish Parlaiment building, designed by Enric Miralles. The Scottish Parliament was reestablished in 1998, after nearly 300 years of unification with the English Parliament. The relationship between this two bodies is still in the process of being evaluated and provides, I think, a unique model of nation-statehood, especially with the Scottish Parliament's international outlook on things. And besides, the building is wicked cool--although at first I thought it was a bit tacky, as we walked through its asymmetrical, abstractly-modeled hallways and conference halls, I came to love it and almost felt like moving in. I never thought I'd say something so positive about anything related to politics.


    | left: John's umbrella couldn't handle the wind atop Arthur's Seat
    | right: re-enacting Creed music videos on the hike up