Edinburgh, Scotland

I took a few days off work and we flew to Edinburgh with Will and my parents to finish off their Europe trip. We fell in love with Edinburgh with its old architecture, rich culture, and close proximity to the Highlands. We stayed in an AirBnb near Haymarket Station, a 30 minute walk and 10 minute tram ride into city center.

We got oriented to the city with a walking tour of the Old Town area on our first day, and that left us eager to see more. We covered every inch of the Royal Mile, walked through Grassmarket Street, explored the shops in Diagon Alley (I forget the actual name of it), and saw the grave sight of Grayfriar’s Bobby with its daily offerings of sticks and tennis balls. We toured Edinburgh castle, took a Harry Potter walking tour, and visited the Royal Museum of Scotland, the National Gallery, and the Writer’s Museum. On the Harry Potter walking tour we saw the cemetery that is rumored to have provided inspiration for characters’ names in the Harry Potter books. We saw grave sights with the names of Moody, McGonagall, and Tom Riddle. We even learned Scottish Line Dancing at a pub called Stramash.

We hiked to the top of Arthur’s Seat, where legend has it that Camelot once stood. It was a steep and windy hike, but the views of the city from the top were worth it.

On our last day we rented a car and drove to the Scottish Highlands, exploring the villages of Balloch and Luss, and topping off the day with a stunning hike up Conic Hill. To me, that hike was the highlight of the trip.

On our way back to Edinburgh, we stopped by Loch Rusky and the town of Ruskie. Our last name Rusk is said to have been derived from this name, and the Rusk clan once inhabited the area. When we decided to visit Scotland we had no idea we might have Scottish heritage. It was a special place to finish up our first of many Rusk Family trips in Europe.

– Neal

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