Foreign Correspondents: Edinburgh, Scotland


Editor’s Note: This is an installment of the weekly column Foreign Correspondents, which will chronicle Middlebury students’ experiences studying abroad. Here, Hope Allison ’19.5 shows snapshots of her life in Edinburgh.  

I feel I’m at a delicate moment during my life here; three months in, I feel I’ve finally settled in, but there are still moments of newness. I try to savor this feeling, this balance between the foreign and the familiar, the strange and the routine. It’s been a wonderful time to photograph, because everything seems beautiful to me — either because of its novelty or because of its everyday simplicity. I hope this feeling lasts.

I’m struck by the light — by its variety and richness, and now, almost December, by its brevity. There are times it is soft and diffuse, times where the day never really seems to get bright, the days I light candles at lunchtime. And then there are times it is blinding, harsh golden beams striking out from dark gray clouds. The light is in constant flux, making everything seem at once unreal and hyper-real, where even the familiar sights are rendered anew. In the words of Alexander McCall Smith, “This is a city of shifting light, of changing skies, of sudden vistas, a city so beautiful it breaks the heart again and again.” 

It’s hard to believe how quickly this semester went, and I feel lucky to have another one ahead of me. If nothing else, these photos are a love letter to Edinburgh and its dwindling autumn light.

An October sunset in Princes Street Gardens.
Just 20 minutes from the center of the city, the Pentlands Hills make Edinburgh a hiker’s dream city. On this hike in particular, warm sun occasionally made its way through the dense clouds, a reprieve from the gusts of cold wind.
My living-room windows: With the days getting shorter and shorter, this early-morning light is the only direct sunlight that streams into the flat (I savor it every day (gotta get that vitamin D).)
Even at night, Edinburgh’s beauty sparkles. The glass roofs over Waverley Train Station make for a glimmering city center.
A favorite corner in Old Town, featuring the Writer’s Museum (right).
Sunset at 4:02 p.m., from my walk home through Princes Street Gardens.
The morning light can make even the most mundane sights seem miraculous.
An especially gloomy day, as seen from one of the bridges that connects the New Town to the Old.


Though Scotland is known for its rainy weather, most of the rain actually comes in from over the Atlantic and pours on the west coast. On the east coast, the wind makes Edinburgh a blustery northern capital. Pictured is the Walter Scott Monument (right).
One of my favorite streets, Circus Lane.
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