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Ireland, Scotland, and England: My CEA Spring Break

Trying to decide where to go for spring break can be difficult, but if you’re indecisive, I suggest you visit Scotland. If you appreciate art, music, and history, you won’t be disappointed. During my spring break I traveled to Ireland, Scotland, and England with two friends from CEA, and we all agree that Scotland was our favorite place. We spent two days in Edinburgh and one day in Glasgow.

For all the Harry Potter fans out there, you definitely want to visit The Elephant House when you’re in Edinburgh. This is the café where J. K. Rowling began writing Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. The food is delicious (and reasonably priced), they play great music, and they sell t-shirts, coffee, postcards, and other good souvenirs.

 The Elephant House in Edinburgh, Scotland

While in Edinburgh, we stayed at the Castle Rock Hostel, located right below the Edinburgh Castle, which is rather expensive but worth a visit. An entry ticket will allow you to visit multiple museums, the crown jewels of Scotland, the oldest building in Edinburgh, and many other historically significant buildings. I also recommend visiting the National Art Gallery, which is FREE! It houses great paintings and sculptures by Scottish artists, as well as American and other European artists. Usually my favorite rooms in museums are the rooms with Impressionist paintings (which this museum has), but I actually preferred the landscape paintings on the ground floor of this museum. The canvases were enormous and absolutely stunning.
 View of Edinburgh from the National Art Gallery. 

If you like music, look for a Gig Guide (we found one at The Elephant House): it lists all the live music that will be going on every night of the week. Our first night in Edinburgh, we went to three different bars to hear jazz, folk, and rock music. Literally every night of the week you can find all kinds of music in Edinburgh; it’s amazing.

After Edinburgh, we spent a day in Glasgow, which is a big university city. Glasgow was not quite as beautiful as Edinburgh, but it had a great art and music scene. We visited the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, which has Salvador Dali’s painting Christ of Saint John of the Cross. It’s also free and is definitely worth a long visit. As our feet tired from all the walking we’d been doing, going to see a movie began to sound more and more appealing. Lucky for us, we happened to be in Glasgow during the city’s Film Festival, so we had a huge list of films to choose from.

 The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow, Scotland.

It’s tempting to try to travel to as many cities as possible during break, but I’d recommend spending your week in a limited area. I feel as though I only scratched the surface of Edinburgh and Glasgow, and I’m dying to go back!

Lucy Havens is the Spring 2014 CEA MOJO in the French Riviera. She is currently a junior at Carnegie Mellon University.

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