22 September: Today we toured the recently formed Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. Created only one year ago, perviously the highest court of appeal was a committee of the House of Lords, now they have their own building and have traded the title of Law Lords for Justices. Personally I’d much prefer to style myself Law Lord, but they didn’t really ask for my opinion.
The Court itself is a study in contrast with our own. The Justices are not elevated above the litigants and everyone basically sits in circle like an arbitration. The rooms themselves are lighter and airier, giving a more casual and open atmosphere to the venue than our much more formal and imposing Court.
We were also afforded the rare opportunity of sitting and talking with Jenny Rowe, Chief Executive of the Supreme Court. She is responsible for everything in the Court except for actually hearing cases and writing opinions. It was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity to speak with someone in her position as she guides the formation of and entirely new branch of government and works through how this new Court will work.
24 September: Destiny and I went to see the musical “Avenue Q” today over in the theater district. We had a great time and I found the show’s commentary about life after graduation as relevant as it was hilarious.
Tip XIII: See a show! Even if you’re not into theater, the FSU Centre is only a 20min walk from the best theater district in world outside of NYC. Take advantage of the opportunity at least once while you’re here.
After saying goodnight to Destiny, I went home, packed and met up with Kate, Jen Danielle, Rachel, Michael and Chris, and headed over to Victoria Coach Station. We were on our way to Scotland!
25-26 September: I won’t lie, the bus ride to Edinburgh was less than pleasant, but we soon were rewarded as we arrived at the home of the Scottish Kings. Compared to London, Edinburgh is much quieter, less crowded and has much more natural scenery. We walked through the center of town to our hostel and got settled in.
This was my first experience with a hostel and I was honestly impressed. The rooms were clean, the staff was friendly and seemed to genuinely care for the place. They provided free internet connections and breakfast and there was even a very reasonably priced bar downstairs!
After getting settled, we climbed up to Edinburgh Castle. Wow is it ever an amazing sight! It sits on top of crag and it’s an imposing climb when you’re coming to sight see. I can’t imagine trying to take the place by force. The interior was equally impressive and we spend a fair bit of time wandering around its halls.
When we got back to the hostel, we met a couple of American girls that were sharing our room. We started talking and it turns out they are undergrads at Eckhart College…studying in London…a block from where I live! I literally walk past their study center on my way to class each morning! What a small world.
As we were talking, they told us about an amazing picnic they’d taken from the top of a cliff at the base of the Royal Mile (the main road leading to the Castle). The next day Kate, Danielle, Rachel, Jen and I embarked on climbing up this cliff to see this amazing view. We made the climb and it was strenuous, but despite one bad tumble we all made it up. Then we saw the even taller cliff behind the first.
After some discussion, Jen and I resolved to scale this taller cliff, while the rest of the ladies decided to defend that bar back in town against all comers. The climb to the top of this second cliff (we later learned its name is Arthur’s Seat) was a VERY serious hike. At times the rough hen stone steps more resembled a ladder than stairs.
We were pretty worn out by the time we reached the summit, but we were well rewarded for our efforts. Arthur’s Seat is 823 feet high that offers and unobstructed 360º view of Edinburgh, the sea and the surrounding countryside. It’s truly breath-taking and you never want to come back down to earth. Unfortunately we had to catch our coach back to London, so Jen and I reluctantly began our decent. We met up with the rest of the group at the pub and had a victory pint and we were soon on our way back to London. It was great trip that I’d recommend to anyone.