Dolphins Overseas: Luck of the Irish… and Scottish?


Bethany Dixon, Staff Writer


Dublin and Edinburgh are two of the prettiest cities I have visited — despite the fact that it rained the entire time I was there. We took advantage of free walking tours in both cities. We lucked out and had very funny tour guides who made light of the fact that these large groups of tourists had picked the rainiest, wettest day to walk around the city for three hours.

Our tour guide in Edinburgh explained to us that in Scotland, rain is actually “liquid sunshine.” Unfortunately, it didn’t feel like any type of sunshine, but after a few hours in the rain we didn’t really feel anything anymore.

What I noticed in Dublin is that the people are about as genuinely nice as it gets. At one point my friend and I were standing on the street with our map out, completely lost. A man came over and took over for us. He even walked us to our next destination — which was completely out of his way. He was ridiculously sweet, just like everyone else we met. People consistently asked us if we needed help and really seemed to want us to enjoy our time in Dublin.

Dublin is filled with beautiful parks, as the rain makes them greener than almost anything I’ve seen; it really feels like a typical busy city until you step inside these parks. One even has a famous statue of writer Oscar Wilde reclining on a rock. That park is really the only place where you feel like every single person there is a tourist.

Edinburgh is a beautiful old city. The castle here was built on a volcano, which gives the city a very impressive skyline. Edinburgh is basically a hill, streets wind around buildings and some streets are actually staircases.

Among other things, Edinburgh is famous because J.K. Rowling wrote the first “Harry Potter” book in a tiny little café in the heart of the city. Of course, as a huge Harry Potter nerd, I had to check out the building. The café just happens to be located across the street from Greyfriars Cemetery, where she got a lot the names for the characters. I will fully admit to walking around the cemetery staring at headstones hoping to find names.

Thankfully we were with a tour guide and she pointed out the important ones — otherwise I would have just looked creepy. Our guide led us to, in my mind, the most important headstone in the cemetery, the grave of a man named Thomas Riddle. For those of you who aren’t crazy obsessed fans, that’s Lord Voldermort’s real name.

I really tried to stay calm and not act like a crazy, squealing 13-year-old girl but it just didn’t happen. I may have made a fool of myself in a historical cemetery in Scotland.

While in Edinburgh we also decided to try a local favorite. No, we didn’t try haggis… we’re way too squeamish for that. We tried IRN-BRU, the top-selling soft drink in Scotland. It’s actually illegal in some parts of the United States because it has been shown to cause ADD-like symptoms. The label of the soda actually warns consumers of that, right under the nutritional label. So, of course we had to try it. How could we resist?

Yes, it was horrible. It tasted like cough syrup and sugar. We figured it was going to taste like oranges or Sunkist or something because the drink is neon orange. It has no flavor in the traditional sense, unless sugar is a flavor. We had unusual reactions to it. I felt like I was going to cry and then I got a headache, one of my friends got a stomachache and the other one, well, she kind of liked it. She told us that the more you drink it, you the more you like it. We made her finish ours.

We did notice some ADD behavior from her for the rest of the day and hated that we were going to be stuck on a plane with her later in the day. The lesson I learned from Scotland: three servings of a beverage known to cause ADD is not good for anyone.