In Defense of Edinburgh: A Photo Diary

Headshot of Isabella Reilly
Isabella Reilly
July 18, 2023

On a weekday afternoon in April, I had Taylor Swift in my ears and a hot vanilla latte in my hand. Seated at my university’s cafe, I had a confirmation email from American Airlines in my inbox. 

American Airlines
Subject: Your trip confirmation (RDU - LHR) 

That confirmation for a journey I was yet to set upon made me think of all the others I was yet to take abroad this summer. 

Possible destinations flooded my mind. Venice. Rome. Brussels. Amsterdam. Barcelona. Madrid. 

But as far as my mind wandered that day in April, it didn’t venture far enough to reach the place I loved most— Edinburgh, Scotland. 

I’ll be honest. This year is the first time I’ve traveled outside the U.S., and visiting Scotland wasn’t on my list of most-coveted destinations. I thought the places I wanted to go were more exciting. More glamorous, more interesting. More fun. 

Maybe they would have been, I guess I won’t know— but I quickly found that one thing held. They were more expensive. Admittedly, I’ve learned that studying abroad on a budget is challenging. But that challenge didn’t change the fact I didn't have unlimited travel funds. 

And that’s when my roommate said, how about Edinburgh? 

A quick search on Google Maps revealed the marvelous St. Giles Cathedral, the vast Edinburgh Castle, and the breathtaking Scott Monument. And in minutes, I was finding out this was one last trip I could afford to take. 

Scotland turned out to be more than I could have ever imagined. This final weekend venture— one I’d never imagined that one weekday in April— was my best trip all summer. 

And so, I’d like to share that wonderful weekend with you. If you ever find yourself in the U.K., I urge you to visit Edinburgh. It’s not Venice or Rome or Brussels or Amsterdam or Barcelona or Madrid. But it is Edinburgh. A city and a country I’ll never make the mistake of underappreciating again. 

Oh, and one more thing— if you happen to find yourself visiting and hear the term gardyloo, I suggest you step off the pavement. Thank me later.

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Headshot of Isabella Reilly

Isabella Reilly

Hi! I'm a third-year student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, studying journalism and creative writing. I consider myself a storyteller. My favorite book is "Jane Eyre," and my favorite song is "Getaway Car" by Taylor Swift!

2023 Summer 1
Home University:
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
Boynton Beach, FL
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