Scotland, oh yeah!!!

So, I mentioned in an earlier post that I spent a weekend in Scotland — an epic weekend as you will soon find out.

We left around 9.30 from Cambridge to Edinburgh. The bus was unusually warm, and as we would soon discover it would pretty much stay that way the rest of the 6.5 hour trip. We stopped several times for toilet breaks and what have you, but the best stop came about midway when we stopped at an abbey and got to explore the ruins. It was the type of thing that imaginations are made up of. Large ancient towers, old staircases, and other random rooms of mystery. After our freedom from the stuffy bus, it was torture to get back on. But we all did anyway.

That night we did not do much in Scotland — unpacked, enjoyed a large Scottish meal, and left our dorms to explore Edinburgh. We walked around for a few hours until we decided that everything of interest was closed and that real exploration would have to wait until tomorrow. Admittedly we could have hit up the pub scene, but full tummies and empty wallets decided that would also have to wait for another time.

The next day we started with a full English Breakfast: hash browns, tomatoes, toast, sausage, bacon (but not American style), and beans. For the braver souls there was also black pudding and haggis. While I would have liked to stuff my face, I did not want to be too full for the hike I was leaving for. Several others and I were going to hike somewhere in the Highlands known as Kilin. It was described as a “walk” that was “mostly paved.” Well, I guess that must be a polite way of saying other people have walked this trail, because it was neither a walk nor paved. It was steep, slippery, soggy, and stunning. Despite it being unlike anything I had expected, the hike itself was beautiful — worth every puddle, fall, and achy muscle. But the fun did not stop there.

When we got back to the dorms we were there in time to go grab some food and then party it up Scottish style. Now, if you know me, and some of you do, you know I am not a big dancer. I was not even looking forward to the party because it was going to be a Scottish dance party. Ugh. But to my pleasant surprise it was an absolute blast. We learned several Scottish line dances and since everyone was learning them and messing up it was all the easier to just have a great time.

Our final day of the weekend was wonderful British weather — rain. We walked, but it felt like hiking, to the National Gallery. I must have been exhausted and soaking because I was not a happy camper. We got to the National Gallery which had some really stunning works of art, but it was wasted on me. I just wanted to sit down, no lie down, and rest. Which is what I did once I made the long journey back home.

So after some sleep and a hardy fish and chips meal, I left with a few others to hike up Arthur’s Seat. This hike was rather pleasant, and like Kilin, the views did not disappoint. It was starting to get dark and the wind was blowing a great deal, but everything seemed so peaceful up there.

So great. Why tell you all this now when it happened months ago? Because…I’m going back! If you’ve been following the blog you know that Martina and I have internships lined up with the Scottish Parliament, but now it’s official. We’ve talked with the internship coordinator in Scotland and we just got our work visas to be there. Obviously my experiences will be different than when I went with PKP, but I am stoked to be going back and really getting to see the city in depth and with my wife.

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