Hogwarts & free chai

So, a few key things occurred this weekend.

1) On my way to the catch the coach (bus) to Edinburgh, Scotland, I stopped at Caffe Nero, for the… well… let’s not talk about how many times I’ve been there since I’ve been in England. It’s an Italian chain, cheaper than Starbucks, but better than Dunkin’ Donuts or something. Anyways, in terms of chai, it is also better than Dunkin’ Donuts chai (almost anything is), but not as good as Starbucks (although Panera’s chai is still my favorite, along with that one place in Salem where I got a pumpkin-spice chai in the fall).  Let’s just say I’ve been to Caffe Nero enough to earn a sufficient number of loyalty stamps on my card, and now, I shall recieve a *free* chai the next time I go there (likely tomorrow morning–who am I kidding? if it were open I’d go there right now!).

2) Went to Edinburgh, which was amazing. Amazing! Not much else to say except, yeah. It was amazing. I was sorry I had to spend 95% of my weekend writing my Ulysses research paper in cafes :/

3) Well… I was almost sorry about that, till I happened upon a cafe in my search for writing locales: The Elephant House, where J.K. Rowling began drafting her Harry Potter series! What an interesting little place. They don’t sell chai (hey, nobody’s perfect), but the place has a ton of character. They sell souveneirs inside–but not Potter-themed ones; they sell the elephants that line the bar’s shelves. Very cramped, small little place, but if you go to a back room, there are windows that overlook Rowling’s inspiration for Hogwarts: none other than Edinburgh Castle. I paused to stop in the bathroom, and graffiti directed at Rowling covered the walls. Here’s a sampling of what you can find on the stall walls:

– ‘Thank you for Harry! He makes life so much fun! <3 (This is the only graffitti I’ve ever done, but I think it’s justified!)’

– ‘Thank you for changing my life forever, Harry and JKR <3’

– ‘Harry Potter 4 EVA!’

– ‘I <3 Harry Potter!’

– ‘Thank you JKR for giving my childhood meaning. I will always keep Harry in my heart.’

I wonder if Rowling has ever read any of this?

4) I saw a rainbow–such a giant one!–as I was exiting The Elephant House, and heading down the Royal Mile. I smiled, snapped a picture, and realized that until that moment, I hadn’t seen a rainbow in years. It reminded me of this Virginia Woolf quote: ‘Walk on a rainbow trail; walk on a trail of song, and all about you will be beauty. There is a way out of every dark mist, over a rainbow trail.’

And… now I’m back in Cambridge. Back to work. Sigh. It’s the equivalent of finals time.

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