The Elephant House caught my eye on my first day in Edinburgh for the simple reason that it had the word 'elephant' on the front. After a brief moment of freaking out because I love elephants and the place looked cool, I walked on to discover more of the city with my travel buddy Zach. It wasn't until the next day that I noticed the sign in the window that informed me that J.K. Rowling had been working on the first few Harry Potter books in there. My jaw dropped and hit the floor. Then, illogical as I am, I walked on and didn't say a word about it to Zach. Lucky for me he seemed to be able to read my mind: on our last day together he took me to The Elephant House for breakfast.
On a nice Sunday morning in March Zach and I didn't check when The Elephant House opens and got there an hour early. We killed some time by visiting Greyfriars Kirkyard and taking loads of pictures there, When we returned, a small crowd started to gather in front of the red doors. Apparently I wasn't the only Potterhead who wanted to get breakfast there.
A few minutes after 9am the doors opened and a member of the staff apologized for opening a few minutes late; the were one staff member short that day. I didn't mind. I'm never hungry before 9am, so this actually worked in my advantage.
Zach and I were amongst the first to enter and didn't have to wait long before we were seated. Yes, we were seated, all fancy like that. We got a table at the window looking out over Castle Rock (sadly my camera decided to focus on the window instead).
We ordered breakfast, a full English (or was it Scottish?) for Zach and some Scottish pancakes for me. Zach also wanted some Scottish coffee, but as it was morning and there's alcohol in that stuff, he couldn't order it. Even though I'm not a fan of coffee and alcohol, I was slightly disappointed. Zach ordering a drink usually meant I could steal at least half of it and I was pretty curious about this one.
We waited mostly in silence, both of us tired from three full days of running from one side of Edinburgh to the other. I just enjoyed sitting there, looking at all the elephants. Did I mention I love elephants? The place was perfect for me. For the first time in months I managed to forget about my college struggles completely.
Then our food arrived and I proved to suck at travel blogging by devouring my pancakes right away, instead of first taking a dozen pictures. I don't know what was so Scottish about them, but trust me when I say they were delicious. Zach didn't say much about his breakfast, but from the way be completely zoned out while eating it I gathered it was good.
When we were done eating, we both got our travel journal out of our backpacks and wrote. You can't go to a place where J.K. Rowling worked on Harry Potter without putting pen to paper yourself. My blog post on Edinburgh's Vaults was drafted right then and there.
After a while Zach and I exchanged notebooks. Since it was our last day together we wrote something on the cover pages of each other's notebooks. Of course this made me way too emotional, so we decided to pay before I'd start bawling my eyes out in public.
On our way out, as Zach paid for our breakfasts and I managed to hold back my tears, I noticed all the cakes on display. Even though I'd just eaten, the mere sight of all these different cakes made me hungry all over again. Sadly, I was already broke at this point in time and couldn't afford cake. Just typing those words makes me sad all over again. I'd already decided I needed to go back to Edinburgh as soon as possible, but having breakfast at The Elephant House without being able to buy cake made me more determined to do that. I can't wait to write more drafts or work on my novel (yes, I started writing my crazy vampire story again!) in a place where I felt at ease in a difficult time in my life. I'll definitely be back.