Sunday, February 13, 2011

Red Hot Chili Pipers

Okay, who has been to Scotland? 
If you haven't, close your eyes and imagine what it looks like. 
Lots of green, right? Hills? Kinda rainy? Sheep roaming around? Kilts? Charming Scotsmen everywhere? 
Okay open your eyes. 
That's exactly what it is and SO MUCH MORE!

I won't give the play by play of how our long weekend played out because while I think it is fabulous and so exciting, I fear others will not feel the same. I'll give some highlights, accompanied by PICTURES!

P.S. the title of this post in reference to a hot band called the "red hot chili pipers" that we discovered

Day One: wake up at the crack of dawn to lug our crap around tube stations and train stations to get to Edinburgh, Scotland, we had some good moment along the way. The best being Heather saying after discussing Chris Farley, "Chris Farley!? He's in my ward!" Oh Heather! Anyway, arrive and check into our hostel and hike up the Royal Mile to get to the Edinburgh castle. After exploring, checking out incredible views, and getting some historical facts we wandered around gift shops, saw a textile mill where all things plaid are made, went in the St. Giles Cathedral, pub for dinner then to top off the day Heather, Devon, Laura and I went to see Annie

(Yes I hated that music for a good portion of my life but what do you expect when your sister's name is Annie and that's the only movie you watch your whole childhood!?). We loved it despite the fact that the little Annie actress hardly cracked a smile. 

Day Two: Wake up bright and early to hike Arthur's Seat, forget Blake along the way, retrieve Blake to which all he can do is shake his head and reiterate, "Cooooooldblooded". Whoopsies. 

Notable hiking events:
1) Losing some stragglers along the way
2) Heather humiliating us by making the slowest appearance in a group photo
3) A beautiful blue sky
4) me slipping multiple times followed by falling on my butt and laughing hysterically
5) singing "The Hills Are Alive" as we frolic down the hills
6) discovering the ruins of an old chapel (photo op!)
7) Blake's confidence in his hiking boots failing him as he has his own slip n slide in the mud
8) laughing so hard at Blake that Devon also falls in the mud

As you can tell: rough day for Blake. After having a re-group after the hike we ate lunch at a place called "The Chocolate Soup". Yes it is as awesome as it sounds. There is real soup which is great and then there's chocolate. You can even get chocolate shots. Which people did indeed get, i refrained. Then we went over to "The Elephant House" where JK Rowling doodled on a napkin and it was there, that Harry Potter was born. We later returned to eat dinner there running into our professors and families. It is strange how in all these foreign cities we run into people from the program EVERYWHERE. 
Anyway, (feel free to tune out) Laura, Heather and I went down to the Holyrood Palace where Mary Queen of Scots spent her days and where the current monarchs reside when they visit Scotland. It was pretty cool PLUS they had some Abbey Ruins that were so pretty- we just love those, a mini Fountains Abbey (google it, we went there a few weeks ago).

After visiting the palace, we we meandered up the Royal Mile visiting various tourist shops, cemeteries, and of course our "Green Hill Faraway" that had GORGEOUS views as the sun was going down. 
We then returned to the "Elephant House" for dinner, discovering the bathroom's decor is Harry Potter themed and it included instructions to get to Tom Riddle's grave! So we decided to venture over to that cemetery. Remember how Blake was having a rough day? We had to drag him into the graveyard after the caretaker, through the light of his cigarette said, "you can come in." creeeeepy. We were rewarded with fried candy bars for fighting our fears and taking a picture with the grave. 

Well, after this our days are fun butttt not quite as exciting. We went to New Lanark where there was a thrilling ride entitled, "Annie MacLeoud" and we hiked to a waterfall that had a strange yellow tint to it. We then went to Stirling (no, not Sterling, VA), and went to see the castle there and then ate dinner at a place called the Kilted Kangaroo. Considereing there isn't much of a nightlife in Stirling we cooped ourselves up in our hostel that was in a cemetery and swapped boy stories and life stories, as usual. 
Final Day in Scotland: we hiked up William Wallace's monument (just for you Braveheart fans!), it was exhausting considering Laura and I booked it up the hill and the 246 stairs. Beautiful views... especially of boys in kilts. 

Oh Scotland, how I love you. In my previous post I stated that I wanted to live in Dulwich, I change my mind. I'll marry a Scotsman and live there forever. I'll even wear a kilt! It was such a fabulous weekend, with a lot of great memories made. We even had an eventful, 6-hour long train ride home where Blake, Julie, Devon and I kind of lost our minds. It's cool. It happens.

Scotland, I'll do my very best to come back. I miss you already.

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