I’m so glad I’ve met such great people to be traveling with. We’re all easy going and willing to compromise so everyone is able to do/see what they want to. We are starting to plan our spring break trip in May (Greek beaches!)
Final exams and papers are starting to rear their heads…seems like I need to start preparing for the end of the semester. Thankfully I will be finished soon at least.
Exams are done very differently in Ireland, and because I am taking a combination of Irish classes and International classes I have it different than the Irish students do. For my international classes my end of term papers are due the last week of March, and 2 final exams also take place that week. For my Irish class my final assignments are due the end of March as well but I do not have my final exam until May.
The first three weeks of April is spring break and the last week of April is the reading week but you still have to attend classes (seeing as it is the last week of classes). My last exam is May 1st and then I’m done!
Last Wednesday I headed off to Scotland on my own (seeing as I didn’t have class the rest of the week anyway). I stayed in Edinburgh at a really fantastic hostel. It was all girls and fairly close to the city center. The woman who ran it wasn’t much older than me and had moved from Australia a few years ago. She baked bread for everyone for breakfast every morning which was delicious and the place had a very homey feel. I met a lot of great people there, mostly girls traveling by themselves on spring break or who were living in Edinburgh after finishing their master’s thesis.
This was one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever visited. It felt how I always imagined old Europe, with very classic old architecture and castles dotting the horizon. On Friday I did the Royal Mile, where most of the sites are clustered and saw Parliament and Hollyroad Castle (Where Queen Elizabeth II lives in the summer months). The castle was incredible; I saw the furniture and tapestries bought by Queen Victoria and the apartments of Mary Queen of Scots. I can’t even imagine having tourists pay to go through your house while you’re gone. But I guess I wouldn’t really be complaining if I was dividing my time between a few different castles every year. Honestly it seems to be a great place to live if the weather would make up its mind. Within a half hour period it rained, then was warm and sunny, then it hailed and snowed, and then it was sunny again. I don’t know how people get used to that.
The Elephant House
This is the café JK Rowling began work on the very first Harry Potter book. And I ate lunch there, trying not to hyperventilate and giggle like a fangirl. But actually I had a great Panini and wrote postcards home and tried to act like it was no big deal I was there and didn’t spend a half hour tracking it down and passing a half dozen other restaurants that looked delicious.
On Thursday I took a bus tour, which was the best money I spent the whole trip, to go through the highlands and Loch Ness and Glencoe. Scotland is small enough I was able to see quite a bit of it on the 12 hour drive (we made stops along the way to various sights).
I’m not a big lover of mountains, more of a beach person myself, but the Highlands were absolutely breathtaking.
Loch Ness was huge but the rain prevented me from seeing any sign of a monster unfortunately.
We had about an hour to explore Urquhart Castle, which is on the bank of Loch Ness, and was blown up so really visitors can wander around the shell that remains. The views from the castle was quite pretty, but shrouded in clouds. (The weather during the rest of day was nice though!)