Archive for March, 2012

Celebrating the Big 21

Posted: March 21, 2012 in Uncategorized

One of the things I get to experience in Scotland is my 21st birthday. Rather than celebrate in a normal American fashion (ie not remembering the experience), I decided to combine multiple aspects of both cultures. In tradition American celebration we went to Fubar (a youth club) on the night before and celebrated when the clock turned midnight. The club had a Willy Wonka theme that night. They had chocolate paint (sadly not edible) and confetti cannons. It was great not having the pressure of turning 21 as Scotland does not have the same connotations for the birthday. It was a great experience but the best part of my birthday came the next day.

To celebrate the day of my birth a group of friends and I booked a bus tour to Loch Ness. My family has a great love of Nessie stories. There is a television series on Discovery Channel which centers around the search for the Loch Ness monster (known as Nessie). Along with Looking for Sasquach (another golden gem of the Discovery Channel) my family and I love joking about the search for Nessie. In honor of this family tradition, I was very excited for Loch Ness. Image

The best part had to be finding (at least in a roundabout way) Nessie. I was very excited and took multiple pictures to send home. I also found some small glass Nessies to bring home with me (they are adorable). The tour guide was wonderful and extremely informative. He loved his job and you could tell.

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When the weekend was sadly over, Monday turned out to be just as surprising and great as the weekend had been. My parents sent me a surprise birthday package! Of all the things I was thankful for it was most definitely the jar of peanut butter. Other aspects of the package included cheesy American magazines, oreos, ramen noodles, and many other great things. I was so pumped I spread it all out for a picture. The package also had messages written on it including “smelly cat smelly cat Monty says hi!”

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Glasgow

Posted: March 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

In search of the prefect outfit for my birthday, a friend and I went to Glasgow last Wednesday after class. One of the greatest parts of living in the UK is the availability of the public transportation. For around £8 I can visit the largest city in Scotland. Glasgow doesn’t have the same archaic beauty as Edinburgh it still presents a great wonder to observe. Walking around Glasgow it was fun to see all of the hustle and bustle of urban life. We spent some time relaxing in a cafe called simply “Eat” and watching the people of Glasgow walk by. There are around 8 shopping centers in the city. Two of them are on each end of the main street. The train will drop you off two streets over and is only an approximate five minute walk from many different shops.

While I thoroughly enjoyed Glasgow, I did find out how much Stirling has to offer. Many of the shops in Glasgow are also in the Stirling City Center. For being the same size as Grand Forks, the city center is very nice.

In the end, we ended up spending the majority of our time (and money) in H&M, a shop available in Stirling. Moral of the story, you don’t have to travel to get the best shopping. Often the best experiences are right on our own doorsteps!

 

 

An Edinburgh Adventure

Posted: March 5, 2012 in Uncategorized

Over the past weekend I traveled to Edinburgh. Armed with only a hand drawn map from a friend, we managed to find the Royal Mile, the famous Elephant Cafe and hike up a giant hill only to discover it was the wrong one.

When we arrived we first stopped (upon recommendation) at a cafe called The Chocolate Soup. The only words to describe the cafe are amazingly delicious. The “chocolate soup” they serve is a fondue of sorts of pure chocolate which you can get separately or mixed into your drinks. Both are extremely good.

Our next stop on the ‘tour de Edinburgh’ (which eventually became a tour de chocolate). Was the Edinburgh Museum which is happily free to visitors. The museum is extremely large and one could spend days looking at all the interesting exhibits. In the end we spent a large amount of time in the animal section asking the eternal question. “Why did God make narwhals but he couldn’t make mini giraffes?” Seriously, mini giraffes, think about it. We also found  (fake) Nessie hidden among the fossils.

After the museum we walked along the Royal Mile enjoying rare Scotland sunshine and the novelty of the Waverly Station bagpipe player. Soon we arrived at a crucial aspect of our journey: The coffee shop J.K. Rowling began Harry Potter in, The Elephant House. Much nerdy conversations and a mocha later, I discovered a hidden drawer in the table overlooking the Edinburgh Castle and the graveyard in which Rowling discovered the name Tom Riddle. The drawer was filled with notes and napkins some messages to Rowling herself, others addressed fellow fans, and a few included Elephant drawings.

A meander through the Grass Market later, we found ourselves looking up a giant hill. After deciding that the hill must be Arthur’s Seat. We trekked up to the top, a long and strenuous haul. Arriving at the top, we discovered a larger hill with paved paths and a small statue at the top. We had climbed the wrong hill!! Too tired to endeavor for the real Arthur’s Seat, we retired to, yet again, The Chocolate Soup. Round two was just a good.

Moral of the story: even the highest hills require some good chocolate, after all there’s no calories in anything shared!