Three Cheers For Not Getting Bucked Off! By Katie Hollemans

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After visiting the Harry Potter Experience in London, our whole group has had Harry Potter fever. That opportunity of seeing where the making of the movies took place and walking where all the famous actors walked everyday was awesome to say the least. The whole wizarding world of Harry Potter would not be in existence if it wasn’t for J. K. Rowling and where she began writing her novels in Edinburgh, Scotland. This is the exact city where we are staying in Scotland. J. K. Rowling has multiple houses, but her mansion in Edinburgh is only a couple miles away from our place. Today we visited a couple sites that brought inspiration to J. K. Rowling and were the places she began writing the series that would soon make her into one of the richest people in the world.

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First stop was to the the Greyfriars Cemetery. This is where J. K. Rowling went to find inspiration for the names of the characters in her books. She would wander the cemetery taking deceased names from the tombstones and making those people alive again through her novels. Pictured above is Tom Riddell’s tombstone, which people would know as Tom Riddle in the Harry Potter series. It was amazing to think such an astounding author walked the same cemetery pathways we did today and turned her life from rags to riches from it. Other names of professors and the Potters were given their names due to the deceased who lived centuries before our time.

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After the cemetery, we headed to the two different cafes where J. K. Rowling wrote her books. Before she got famous, Rowling was a single mother who lived off government welfare. In order to get her daughter to fall asleep, she would take her on walks and once she was napping then head to the cafe to write. The Elephant House is considered the “birthplace of Harry Potter”, due to Rowling writing her first book there. From the back windows in the cafe you can see the Edinburgh Castle that gave J. K. Rowling inspiration for Hogwarts. The other cafe she spent most of the time writing her books at was called Spoon. It is located on the second floor of a building situated at a busy street corner. This is where we enjoyed tea and cappuccinos today, thus to be able to say we hung out at one of J. K. Rowlings usual writing spots. Overall this morning was filled with learning more about the history of Harry Potter and realizing that it all happened less than a mile from where we are staying. Seeing all these places in person was mind blowing.

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To end the day a group of us took a bus ride thirty minutes away to a barn, where we went horse back riding in the hills and trails in the countryside of Scotland. I felt like I was in a movie. We went through trails that had the horses walk through creeks, and rolling hills that were grazing ground for numerous sheep. The views were picturesque and something of a dream. I had to keep reminding myself I was horseback riding in Scotland. I tried to look all over to make sure to take in everything that was around me. This experience was by far the best twenty pounds I have ever spent. Our ride was longer than an hour and incorporated trotting of our horses, which was scary yet exciting! I love seeing the city and countryside parts of each country to ensure I am experiencing different parts of these amazing places. I’m thankful I didn’t get bucked off today and for sure will need a butt massage after today as well!

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