Hello again!

It’s windy and cold here in Scotland, although today it wasn’t that windy, thankfully. It hasn’t rain/snowed for awhile, which is pretty exciting. Although now that I have said that, it probably will!

These past few days have been orientation days. So we’ve had someone show us where things are in the Palace, what we should expect at Pubs, money information, cultural information and figuring out the bus system. We also got to go to Edinburgh Castle and see the Royal Scottish Jewels. It was really interesting because they have a timeline of historical events that happened in Scottish history. The Castle also has a military museum in its walls because the Castle was originally a military base. There are jail cells that we got to go into and holes in walls, including the one that the Royal Scottish Jewels were buried in. The views were amazing, but it is cold up there. There really isn’t anything to protect you from the winds, so I think everyone was layered up. After that we walked around Edinburgh to find the Elephant House (where J.K. Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter) and then went across the street to eat at Nandos. They had pretty good food, mostly chicken.

We decided to walk around for awhile down a couple of streets just looking around and found this little French café. I got some tea and someone else got some Macaroons. I also got some good pictures of the castle at night, all lit up. We then got to navigate the bus system and what bus stop we wanted to wait at. When we finally got on a bus that went to Dalkeith, we talked to a couple just to make sure that we were on the right bus and they guessed that we were from the program because the man met some students when he was in high school. That was really cool to find out that this program is well known. We also got to listen to a couple of drunk guys… It was pretty cool to listen to the accent. They didn’t have as thick of an accent as some that I have heard. We got off at the right stop and walked back. It was kind of exciting to know that we could get off at the right stop in the dark.

WP_20150130_14_43_07_Pro                                                Edinburgh Castle

WP_20150130_18_02_53_Pro                                                Here it is at night

WP_20150130_16_43_43_Pro The wonderful Elephant House! Sadly it was under construction on the outside and very busy on the inside! 

On Saturday, I had to get up early to help with breakfast and then we had orientation. Orientation was long, but I’m glad that we had it because it does help. After that we went back into Edinburgh for a scavenger hunt. It was pretty interesting to see all the different places, like a Pub, called Jekyll and Hyde, which had a fake bookshelf as the bathroom entrance. It was cool to see these places because I probably wouldn’t have found them without the hunt! We also got a picture with a guy playing bagpipes in a kilt and got some great pictures of the Castle from different angles. I think I will go back to some of the places that I remember how to find and see them in the spring. Apparently there’s a flower clock that is suppose to look beautiful. After that, we again navigated the bus system and didn’t have to ask anyone for help! I’m probably more excited about that than I should be, but it means that I can possibly go back to some of the places that I’ve seen, to experience them again. Also I could go to the free museums or libraries to study.

WP_20150131_13_42_45_Pro                            The bathroom door bookcase at Jekyll and Hyde.

WP_20150131_14_32_29_Pro                                  Another view of Edinburgh Castle

The second scavenger hunt was today. We were able to go up onto the top of the Edinburgh museum and saw some amazing views, including Arthur’s Seat (hoping by the end of the experience to climb up it). We also walked up and down the Royal Mile today, which is the road that leads to the castle and did some souvenir shopping. The Royal mile has a lot of little shops and restaurants and the road is almost all cobblestones. Not a lot of cars go up there so it’s pretty much a pedestrian street. There are also places to do walking tours. It was a lot of fun just walking around and seeing places around there. We then came back and were able to rest before the big event tonight! The program bought in a lady who taught us how to dance some popular dances that are usually seen at a Ceilidh. A Ceilidh is the Gaelic word for party and in the olden days, where people weren’t easily available via internet or cell phones, people from all around the town would come together and dance. No one would be left out of the dances because you didn’t have to show up with a partner. People would dance with everyone and apparently would grab other people that were not on the dance floor on to the dance floor to dance with them. There are also dances that involve more than two people. The largest amount of people I danced in was a group of ten. Nowadays, people still dance the traditional dances at weddings and at universities. It was hilarious and a lot of fun. No one knew how to do the dance moves and we had a lot of people in a medium size room. The music was pretty easy to keep up to and the lady that showed us the moves would call out what to do next. I learned how to waltz, which was pretty fun and we spun around a lot. I think it’s the warmest that I have been since I got here! I think I will try to find a way to go to a Ceilidh again before the end of the semester because it was so much fun and a great way to meet new people.

WP_20150201_12_47_00_Pro                                       View from the top of the museum

WP_20150201_12_49_58_Pro                                      Arthur’s Seat: a volcano in Scotland

WP_20150201_13_14_50_ProGreyfriar’s Bobby. Legend has it that after this dog’s master died, the dog sat at his master’s grave every single day. People (mostly tourists) touch the nose of the statue for good luck, which is why the nose is a different color that the rest of it.

Alrighty, school starts tomorrow and breakfast is at 7:30. I think that I will try to walk around the grounds before class. I don’t have to work tomorrow because I haven’t had training yet. That’s on Tuesday.

So, I will end this post with what the locals say for goodbye,