Tuesday, April 18, 2006

More Sheep Than Ireland

That should be Scotland's motto. Well, if they want to attract more people who like sheep. My Scottish young-Mark-Hamil-look-a-like tour guide said there are 10 million sheep in Scotland, and 5 million people. So, 2 sheep for every person. One to eat and one to keep you warm. Ha ha! Okay, so I should be working on various papers and such, but I'm procrastinating. I mean, I figured someone would want to know I survived my traveling alone trip, and hear all about it, and I didn't want to disappoint. Yeah. That sounds better.

Well, I have no super crazy adventure stories about getting lost, or missing my bus, or my hotel giving me problems or anything. Which was good for me. Bad for storytelling. But actually, everything went amazingly perfectly. Exactly as I had planned, with no surprises, which made it a wonderful, stress free weekend, which is exactly what I needed. I took my train from King's Cross to Edinburgh, got there around 4ish, if I remember correctly. Walked down Princes St., then Lothian, then finally Bread St. to my hotel, which was behind Edinburgh Castle. Checked in, and my room was fantastic. Of course it could have looked like crap, but as long as the bed was comfortable, that's all that mattered. Well, I had 2 double beds that I pushed together, plus tons of pillows and down comforters. Yeah. I was set. It was like sleeping on a cloud in Heaven. I really need to invest in a down comforter.

After I settled in and dropped off my stuff, I went in search of the Pret I told you about earlier, and after a little scenic detour, I finally found it about 40 minutes later, and it was closed. But I did manage to find a Cafe Nero and grabbed a nice filling lunch. Then I walked along Princes St. and did a little souvenir shopping, mostly for family. Then I walked through West Princes Green which is the big field below the castle. Spectacular views. Amazing park. I wish Washington Square was more like it. No crack dealers. Well, as far as I could see. And it smelled amazing. Oh that's another thing - despite what weather.com said, the weather was fantastic. Especially that Friday. Perfect weather. Then I walked up to the Royal Mile and to the castle, then to Greyfriar's Cemetery and I basically just wandered around the rest of the day, since everything closed at 5pm. Then I went on the 8:30pm City of the Dead walking tour. It was awesome! I didn't get attacked by the Mackenzie Poltergeist, but it was still pretty creepy. And our tour guide was great. That's gotta be an awesome job.

Saturday I met up with my Rabbie's tour group. An Australian couple, a New Zealander couple, 3 French people, and a whole bunch of Indians. I was the lone American, and the only one traveling alone. But it was cool. Everyone was nice. We set out at 9:30 for the highlands, and the scenery was fantastic. We had a little stop in the town of Callander where we picked up some lunch, but took it with us instead of eating it there. After more driving we stopped in Ben Nevis, and did this awesome 30 minute walk/hike to Steel (sp?) Waterfall, where we ate our lunch. It was beautiful. And the hike itself was awesome. Slightly dangerous, which made it even more appealing. Then we continued up along the chain of lochs, and stopped a little at one end of Loch Ness. Didn't see Nessie, unfortunately. Finally reached Inverness oh, around 6:30 I would say. Everyone else stayed at B&B's, and I was in this little hotel on the river. Cute room, only 1 double bed, but with a down comforter and pillows, so that was again, wonderful. I wandered around Inverness like I did in Edinburgh, but the weather wasn't as nice. So after grabbing some dinner, I stopped at Tesco and picked up some snacks then went back to the hotel, enjoying the wonderful privacy.

Sunday got picked up at 9am, and on with the tour. We went out to Glen Affric, and did a walk along the river, and then up a Little Baldy sized hill and I got some great pictures. Then we went back to Loch Ness and drove down the other side, stopping at the town of Fort Augustus for an hour and a half. I got lunch at this nice little restaurant called The Moorings. A delicious scone, and some scampi with chips (that's fries for all you Americans). Then I did some more shopping. Picked up two Scottish wool scarves for myself, and some other stuff for family, and wandered up the canal a bit and around. Again, the weather (at that point) was fantastic. After Fort Augustus, we drove back to Ben Nevis to a little Whiskey Centre that had free samples. Heather Cream was the best. It's a like a Scottish version of Bailey's, with a little more of a kick, and great chocolatey aftertaste. Of course they didn't have any mini bottles of it though. Then we stopped again about an hour and a half from Edinburgh and there was another neat walk, this one to a gorge and waterfall, which was beautiful. Some families were having Easter egg hunts which was really cute. After driving past the town JK Rowling currently lives in, didn't see her though, we got back to Edinburgh around 7:30. And I was able to walk to my hotel without a map. Boo yah.

I had to get up ridiculously early for my train the next day, and I was tired from the long day, so I didn't do much, but enjoyed the quietness of the wonderfully private hotel room. And the heavenly double beds. Got up at 6am on Saturday, ugh, that's not even a real time of day, and walked to my train at Waverly station. Luckily, it was already sitting there and boarding, so I could just go on and collapse in a seat. Also luckily, King's Cross was going to be open in the afternoon, so I didn't have to get off at Retford and transfer, then worry about taking the tube in or anything. I just took that train all the way back to King's Cross, got in at around noon, walked back to the flat around 12:30, registered for my classes at 2pm (9am EST), and took a long nap.

It was an amazing, fantastic trip. Worth every penny I owe my parents. It was so relaxing, and even though I was traveling by myself, everything worked out exactly according to plan, and was perfectly stress free. I could go to school in Edinburgh. It's a neat little town. There's so much stuff I didn't have time to do, that I definitely need to go back. Just not right now. Papers and such.

Pictures of the coolest stuff are on facebook, so if you're interested check'em out. This was my last big trip, and now I'm all settled with classes and housing for next year, I just need to finish this semester first. Oh, in case you're interested, my schedule for next fall is as follows:

M / 12:30-4:30 / American Film and Politics in the 1980s
W / 6:00pm - 9:00pm / Writing the TV Sitcom
R / 12:30-4:30 / Scandinavian Cinema
R / 6pm - 10pm / New European Cinema

Exactly the same as last fall, except with different classes. New European is with my Representing the Holocaust prof, and I liked her, so that's cool. I'm only taking it 'cause the Orson Welles Advanced Seminar was already full when I asked my advisor about it. Argh. I swore I wasn't going to have another Thursday like that but, what can you do? It's still a good schedule, and I'm looking forward to next year.

But now, this year calls. So I need to stop procrastinating and get writing. Writing things other than this blog. Only 19 more days!


At 4:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Holy mother shizzle. I totally like went in shock when I received your gift. Like, I didn't know there's a sequel. More bitter than ever! I love it. Ashley's eating all the caramel bars. Thank you so much! And, the chick! Yea, I'll be doing some Sloane Tenen on my own. now, back to reading your ridiculously long blog.



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