Five reasons why autumn in Scotland is a blessing.

“O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away.
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.”
– Robert Frost, from “October”

 

Hi there, and welcome back for some October vibes!

Autumn has always had a heart-warming, enchanting effect upon me and being in Scotland has not disappointed my October frenzy so far! Let me give you five reasons why living in Edinburgh in autumn is a blessing.

1. You can stop admiring the hills from your seat in the library and go greet some cows.

The hills just outside Edinburgh are called the Pentlands. My friend H. and I began the month with an initiation to navigation, that is to say the use of map and compass, with the Hillwalking club. The weather was bright, so hopefully I stored up a bit of vitamin D for the dark days ahead!

2. You can chill at the musicals

Living in the capital city means having the best entertainment at your door. Thus, I went to see Billy Elliot, the musical at Edinburgh Playhouse. I had bought my tickets months ago, being the biggest fan of the movie – I used to force my mom to watch it every time it was on TV, and in English of course, sorry Mom.

The performance was astonishing. The choreographies were perfectly orchestrated, from the classic ballet dances to the miners’ riots and the police patrols, all mingling on stage to offer a breathtaking show.

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Edinburgh Playhouse.

3. You’ve got an excuse to spend hours in a pub with good friends and good food…

Wander on Grassmarket on a windy Friday afternoon, admire the view on the castle, try some Haggis, laugh until your stomach hurts, take too many stupid pictures with your friends… Well done, you just created some of your best memories from your time in Edinburgh!

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Haggis on mashed potatoes and turnips.

4. …And to tour the countless coffee shops of Edinburgh in search of the best study spot, hot chocolate or pumpkin latte.

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Hot chocolate and studying at the Southsider.

5. You can chase the autumnal colours around Scotland.

The International Student Centre organises trips every weekend. I was lucky enough to embark on a weekend to the Isle of Skye, with some stops in various spots in the Highlands along the way. The views were simply stunning! Our guide was absolutely fabulous, and hilarious! We heard a lot about unicorns, which happen to be Scotland’s national animal. I mean, how amazing is that? These were the best 500 miles we could travel. (Reference to the song by The Proclaimers, Scotland’s unofficial national anthem.) And yes, the song is still stuck in my head after singing it five hundred times in two days!

On the downside, I am taking a class this semester called Conceptualising Scotland, in which we talk about how Scotland is portrayed and sold to foreigners. It opened my eyes on the tourism industry here, and I have to admit that at times, it made the whole trip appear as a big cliché constructed to match what we international students might expect Scotland to be… Anyway, that being said, it remains a wonderful opportunity to see the country.

We’re only half way through October, and I’m sure my list is far from complete, but here is a great introduction to the magic of autumn. I hope to take advantage of it as best I can in the middle of all the upcoming essay writing. Because yes, you ought to know that unfortunately, October is also the month of deadlines at university.

See you later,

Inès

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