Posts Tagged ‘haggis’

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Andrea: You take the high road, and I’ll take the low road…

April 1, 2011

Everywhere I have traveled thus far, I’ve thought, “THIS is my new favorite place!”, but I really mean it this time for Scotland! My friends and I were fortunate enough to have beautiful weather our first day there, the day that we spent exploring Edinburgh on foot (it’s a pretty small city anyway).

Not far from where we were staying, we found Bobby. Greyfriars Bobby was a Skye Terrier who became known in 19th century Edinburgh after reportdedly spending 14 years guarding the grave of his owner, John Gray, until he died himself on 14 January 1842. The story sounds a little like Hachi, I think…

We visited the National Museum of Scotland which displayed the country’s past from pre-history to the present. Apparently, a Scottich lock would have had some interesting creatures 400 million years ago…

I also saw the bones of a Plesiosaur which were found at the bottom of what was once a coastal lagoon. Some people think that Nessie is a Plesiosaur.

Afterward, we stopped for lunch at The Elephant House. I’m not really a Harry Potter fan, but I guess this is where J.K. Rowling wrote some of her early novels. It’s also where I tried haggis, neeps, and tatties. I loved it.

We also visited Edinburgh Castle. Perched on an extinct volcano, this instantly recognisable fortress is a powerful national symbol and part of Old and New Towns of Edinburgh World Heritage site.

 

St. Giles Cathedral:

The next day we took a trip to the highlands and saw a few highland cows, or heilan coos, as they say there. I’m a sucker for anything cute and fuzzy 🙂

We also passed through Glencoe and the Inverness Mountains which were absolutely beautiful. My photos do not do them justice!


And of course, we stopped at Loch Ness.

I’m a believer 🙂
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Claudia: Scottish observations & the Pope

September 19, 2010

So I wanted this entry to be focused on pictures, but it’s not letting me upload any, so you’ll have to use your imagination until I put up a link to an album.

I feel like I have, for the most part, been carpe-ing the diem. However, I am incredibly exhausted at this point, and I think a lot of the other students are as well. I remember back to Welcome Week of freshman year, how much I wanted to just start classes and have a routine with set places to go every day, and I think a lot of people here are starting to get that feeling, including my flatmate, Caroline. To give a point of comparison to anybody reading this who experienced Welcome Week, Freshers’ Week is like Welcome Week on speed. Since the drinking age in the UK is 18, almost all of the events involve alcohol in some way, and for the first several nights, there were at least 3 Uni-sponsored parties to choose from every night. In the next few nights, that will be the case as well, but the last two nights have been pretty relaxed.

In the first two days of Freshers’ Week, I went to my first ceilidh, which is a traditional Scottish dance (pronounced like kay-lee). It was so much unlike anything I have ever done in my life, and it was probably one of the most fun! When I was waiting in line to get into Teviot, one of the student union buildings, I started talking with a group of girls in front of me, and we ended up hanging out at the evening’s events. First, we waited in an enormous line for our share of the free food, of which the main attraction was, you guessed it, haggis.

Now, I had been dreading the eventual moment when I was going to have to eat haggis, but when I started to smell the food, it did not seem like a bad idea at all. Also, I was not (and still am not, really) entirely sure what haggis is. I’ve heard that you just have not to think of what it is (just like hot dogs), and it will be okay. I was imagining a sausage-like food of a nasty creamy or stomach-y color, but it just looks like ground beef. So, I got my plate with my haggis, stovies, tatties, and maybe some other kind of food but I can’t really remember what anything was called, and we all sat down. Here’s the kicker: haggis is DELICIOUS. It’s kind of spicy, and warm and comfort food-y, and just really yummy. As are stovies (I think it’s some sort of root vegetable mashup stuff), and tatties (mashed potatoes). Haggis really just reminded me of shepherd’s pie. So, with that conquered, I went on to my next authentically Scottish experience, the ceilidh.

There were so many people crammed into the room, and we had had to sneak in, since it was full. Anyway, I guess a ceilidh is sort of like country dancing, because there’s a lot of swinging your partner round and round involved, and everybody’s kind of in a line. The wonderful thing is that in all of that swinging round, you meet loads of folks in a night. I could tell that the two Scottish girls who were in my group were a little frustrated with the rest of us for not catching on too quickly to how certain dances went, but we were all having fun, even if we were doing it wrong. There was one that I felt I was doing okay at, but then when we switched partners and I was dancing with this one guy who seemed to be an expert, my self-confidence failed a little. Then, we went back to dancing in a big group and it was good again!

So much has been going on that I can’t really remember what day anything happened, but at some point between Sunday and Monday, I went to Edinburgh Castle. I was pretty excited about seeing Mary, Queen of Scots’ chambers, and just in general seeing the castle. It was as cool as I had hoped! The castle is a mish-mosh of buildings from various time periods and monarchs, all the way up to the present day. It houses an active regiment, and affords some gorgeous views of the city and the Firth of Forth. Luckily, it was another beautiful day, and at that point, I still hadn’t experienced any of the bad weather for which Scotland is rather well known.

On Monday, there was a West Coast Swing taster session. I was so jazzed to be able to dance again. Of course, it was all incredibly simple and we didn’t get to do any free dancing or anything, but it was still nice. There’s a social dance tomorrow night, I think. Otherwise, there are a lot of venues for swing dancing around the city. After that, the main event was the Headphones Party. Again, none of my flatmates wanted to go, but a girl from my program met up with me, and we went. It started late, which caused us to be the first to show up, which was super awkward, but then, the whole point of a headphones party is pretty awkward. Everybody gets a headset, and the radio station DJs from like 9 pm to 3 am, with two channels to choose from. So, it’s a “quiet” dance. It was hilarious to take off my headphones and just watch everybody rocking out, or sing along to Don’t Stop Believin’, or do the YMCA with no music. I’m so glad I went, because we met a cool third year and a PhD student who invited us to their house party this weekend, so we’ll get to meet some more people who are our own age. Read the rest of this entry ?

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