Sunday, 11 November 2012

Land of the Highland Cows, Loch Ness, Scotch, and Cashmere

Guid eenin!

One of the gorgeous views while on the train

No I didn't just horribly misspell good evening, but that's how the Scots speak! :) I've just spent about two half days and a night in EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND! I still have to pinch myself once in a while to make sure I'm not dreaming...but I'm not! God is so amazing, he's giving me opportunities of a lifetime like studying a year at York, and getting to travel all over! Just hopping on a train for less than 3 hours gets me to another country!!


Edinburgh Central Youth Hostel

My study abroad program, UCEAP, put together a Scottish Thanksgiving and Ceildh event for all the UC American students studying abroad in the UK/Ireland. They even paid for our hostel, dinner, and reimbursed a little for our travel to Edinburgh with Scottish pounds!

Dustin and I arrived at our hostel with enough time to check out a pub before the Thanksgiving event. Being the first hostel experience for me, I was expecting the worst with the movie Taken being illustrated into a hostel!! It definitely wasn't bad and was decent accomodation! We just dropped off our things and went to the Elm Bar, not too far from our hostel to order a Scottish lager each, Tennents. I'm definitely not a drinker and have no experience from the States, so I had only managed to dent my drink before Dustin helped me 
finish it! Whoops! 

Soon enough, we went back to the hostel to get ready to be picked up in style by the Big Red Buses provided for us! The actual venue is called the Castle Hub, because it's really close to the Edinburgh Castle. It's used for lots of major events and was very fancy! I also caught up with some friends from UCI and others I met from orientation. Dustin and I got to try another traditional Scottish drink, the Drambuie. It's a liquer made with aged whiskeys, honey, and a secret recipe of herbs and spices. It's suppose to be "the drink that satisfies." Oh my, it was very very strong and full of flavor, so in the long run it was a nice experience, but not enough for me to try it again...

Iris, Lilla, Michelle, and I

                         Dustin and I tasting our Drambuie

We had a really nice Thanksgiving Dinner with turkey, chestnut and apricot stuffing, buttered string beans, boiled potatoes, sweet potato mash, bread, and gravy. Dessert was a chocolate tart with cream and raspberry coulis. 

After that, the program went straight into the traditional Scottish dances, the Ceidlhs! We usually need a partner or two to go to the dancefloor and await directions on how to perform each dance! It was really chaotic since there were over a hundred students bouncing about to something they have never done! You end up swinging with many many different partners, sweating a lot, but all in all, having a big hoot of a time doing Scottish dances! 

 Dancing the Ceidlhs! 

We called it a night afterwards but I woke up really early at 7:30am so that I could eat breakfast quickly, then explore the Royal Mile with Dustin. Nothing was really open until 9:30-10am and we were celebrating Armistice Day (Veteran's Day) in Scotland! They have many people in Scottish uniform, memorial services going on, and many red poppies. After searching a bit for Royal Mile (famous tourist street in Edinburgh), we were able to visit some tourist shops so I was able to pick up mini scotch whiskey bottles, a small bottle of Drambuie for the housemates, malt whiskey fudge, scottish terrier shaped walkers shortbread, an Edinburgh t-shirt, and postcards! FINALLY, we reached Edinburgh castle! That was a very exciting moment because Dustin and I didn't really have a plan to explore because we had so little time before our 10:55am train, but we found the Royal Mile, saw some sights, AND saw the castle! It was absolutely breath-taking! I really hope to see more castles, but it was so wonderful to see my first one in Scotland! 

View of the city from the castle! 


Edinburgh Castle

Weather: A bit frosty but bearable!

All in all, a wonderful short trip to Scotland, wish I could have saw more of Scotland! Nevertheless, many more adventures to come, so stay tuned! :) Continuing to thank my Father up above for the blessings in my life, never cease to thank and praise him!!

Guid night an sweit dreams



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