October 15, 2006
Happy (belated) Thanksgiving!! I’ve done and seen quite a bit in the last couple of weeks. The weather has been pretty much the same, rainy and sunny and windy (repeat a few times a day). But, I’ve totally lucked out on the weekends, which is excellent considering that’s when I see most of the sights!
School is going well, I decided to take three classes so that I would have a bit more time to see stuff over here. I’ve also joined the Chorus. It’s a mixed choir, which is a bit weird since I’m not used to singing with men, but it’s a cool sound. I got a gym membership as well, so I can attempt to keep in shape after eating all those deep fried Mars bars, and pizza etc. Haha, only kidding, I haven’t actually had all that yet, but it can easily be found. If you take something to a ‘chippy’ (fish and chips shop) they will deep fry it for you, no joke.
Haggis is something I have had, along with the traditional ‘neeps and tatties’ (mashed turnips and mashed potatoes). It was actually really good. Quite spicy, but excellent, definitely a repeat restaurant item, a good thing because it’s usually one of the cheapest things on the menu!
The days are getting shorter and shorter. The sun rises at about 7:30’ish, and has set by 7. I guess that’s not too short, but its noticeable every day, I think by next week the day will be from 8-6:30, and so on, until our days get down to 4 or 5 hours of ‘sunlight’ each day.
Since the weather has been unseasonably good for most of my day trips, there are quite a few pictures, but this is a very small fraction of what I’ve taken so far . . . I think I’m up over a thousand pictures in the 4 ½ weeks I’ve been here!
The weather was amazing, not just sunny, but actually quite warm! The castle was beautiful and HUGE. Originally built in the 1100’s, it was renovated in the 17th century, and was lived in until the 1950s. It was warm, warm enough to go ‘paddling’ (wading) in the North Atlantic!
Shopping at Tesco :o) I know it sounds stupid, but when you have to walk everywhere, and the busses are pretty unreliable and expensive, making the trek to ‘Big Tesco’ is quite the adventure. Scott, Hanz and Sean and I wait with our four (4!) buggies of groceries for a cab under cover away from the pouring rain! We, along with alllll of our bags, managed to smush in one cab for the short ride home (I think it took longer to load and unload than the trip!)
We (Strathclyde’s International Students) took the train to Edinburgh – on the day of one of the most important Scottish soccer games! Even though the game didn’t start until 5 pm, at 10 in the morning the fans had already started pouring in. Ali (from SFU) and I grab a photo with some (kind of cute!) Scotland fans.
Edinburgh is a beautiful city (more pictures later), and we had a great day just walking around and seeing the sights. We managed to find a pub where we could a) get to the bar, b) see the TV and c) sit down to watch the game, even though we waited until almost the last minute. The friends Ali and I were with are from France – not a good place to be from when Scotland wins 1-0! But the pub was great, and we got a rousing mocking chorus of “Alouette’ when we left.
That’s right people: Canadian Thanksgiving came to Glasgow this year! It was quite the feat: two turkeys (totalling 22 lbs), stuffing, mashed potatoes, veggies, brussel sprouts, buns, cranberry sauce, gravy, beer, wine, apple pie with ice cream, ANZAC cookies, and . . . haggis(!) all prepared in three different ovens, with four flats of students coming together for dinner. It was an incredible night, one of the best thanksgivings ever.
The boys and I booked a ‘Haggis’ tour to Loch Ness that left at 8 am on Saturday from Edinburgh, so we took the train up there on Friday afternoon to see the sights in preparation for the long 12 hour bus tour.
Edinburgh Castle is built on the top of a volcano, and I think that it has been there since about the 1100’s or so, but something has existed in Edinburgh since year 10!!!
Loch Ness! After many, many hours on a bus, some guitar tunes and a couple of pit stops, we arrived at our main destination for the day and ate some ‘take away’ fish and chips for lunch. Since it was such a nice day . . . we decided to go for a swim! No sign of Nessie though! We had quite the audience for our Loch Ness adventure, including the Loch Ness boat cruise that floated past. I think they thought we were nuts, which is only partly true – the water was about 5.5 °C!
So that’s what I’ve been up to. I still haven’t spent a Saturday in Glasgow, but I figure there will be plenty of those in November and December when the weather gets worse. For now, I’m trying to see as much as I can while the sun still shines. Next week is Falkland Palace in St. Andrews, don’t know if we’ll have time to for a round of golf, but who knows?
Hope you are all doing well back home, talk to you soon,