Thursday, 4 September 2014

Days 3 & 4

Updating because it's fun except that I have to do it on my phone that is impossible to type on.

Day 3 Edinburgh 
More orientation blah blah blah but we did finally get to talk to someone from Glasgow University that had been emailing us and helping to set us up. We got our class schedules and found that a lot of us got the intro to Scottish culture class! Super excited because I've heard it's so popular that it's hard to get into! It was also reassuring to talk to her. She also explained where our apartments are-or flats.  They're all really spread out so a walk from one to the other can be 40 minutes away!!!

Next we had lunch which was nice because it was the first time all the Glasgow girls had lunch together! We'll be a good group. Then we had a tour of the National Museum of Scotland by this old adorable grandpa. He had a tweed coat, maroon pants, and a bowtie! He was actually a very fit one-he got up those stairs just as fast as we did! 
Then we went on to our homestay. Sophie and I were paired with a family together. All we knew was basic info and that they had kids! Steven, the dad, picked us up and we chatted on the way to their house which is in Wallyford, a suburb only 20 minutes outside of Edinburgh.

Wallyford is a very small town; mostly families living there that commute to Edinburgh. It's filled with small houses, and we stopped at one. When we got out a little boy was playing in the backyard, that was Max. He's a little shy and sometimes puts his face into the chair when he doesn't want to talk. But when he does want to talk, he will go on and on. The mom Pauline was really really nice (lovely as people would say here). We had dinner (also called tea) and talked a ton with the parents! They wanted to know all about us and what we did and helped us plan out the next day. Ellie their daughter came home later; she's hilarious because she's definitely in that teenager phase. Both Sophie and I have sisters that age too so we feel that pain. (Hi Julia). Basically we felt so welcomed and at home, and they're amazing!

Day 4 Edinburgh
The next morning we took a train to meet the rest of the Glasgow girls and the coordinator to take a tour of the Parliament at 11. After more walking and a wrong turn, we got to the building which apparently not very many people in Edinburgh like. It's extremely modern so it does stick out in skyline. It was finished in 2005 ish kinda don't quote me. It's right across from Holyrood Palace where the Queen stays for about a month in the summer! It was pretty cool to be in their debating chamber and learn how it worked again, but the hour went pretty slowly.

Afterwards, the coordinator took us up Carlton Hill where there were views of the entire city as well as the Acropolis of the North, aka the disgrace of Edinburgh and another tower. It was a small hike up so we were a bit tired coming down. Then we decided we wanted to see the Edinburgh Castle with our free entry, so we hiked up the Royal Mile, past all the gift shops and bagpipers. I also withdrew money for the first time, successfully, although my bank charged me $5 for the withdrawal.
Edinburgh Castle was pretty cool. There were basically mini museums all over plus views of the city from the opposite side. We went in the room Mary Queen of Scots gave birth, prisons, a chapel, a memorial, and got to see the crown jewels of Scotland which was pretty cool.

By that time we were pretty exhausted and wanted to find somewhere to eat. (And of course I was starving). Six of us ducked into a tea room and proceeded to have the worst time, although it was slightly comical. They had to give us two things for free because they forgot about them and took forever, were rude, and didn't know what we were talking about. The manager wasn't bad though, she was clearly upset we got bad service. 

After that we split up more and Sophie and I headed to Jenner's, the Scottish department store. It was huge and had so many different areas. Little beyond our price range though. Especially with the conversion. You constantly have to remind yourself that isn't its full price. By then it was time to meet Pauline after she finished work to take the train back home. We talked to her friend on the way back who happened to be the community/charity organizer for their department store, John Lewis, which is something I'm interested in. That was good to hear, and sounded really interesting, especially because John Lewis is very involved with charities and the like. 

In 20 minutes we were back at their house. Pauline prepared haggis, neeps and tatties, traditional Scottish food. Oh and black pudding. We didn't talk about what was in it until after. It really didn't taste bad! Haggis was okayyy, didn't really care for the texture, but black pudding wasn't bad! They're made from sheep intestine and blood and oatmeal, respectively. But neither is what I expected, especially because black pudding is like a beef patty toasted. No bloody taste at all. Neeps is like mashed turnips and tatties are roasted potatoes. I ate it all with ketchup on the side. Yay for trying new things!
Acropolis of the North, or Edinburgh's Disgrace (pretend that's me up there)
Edinburgh Castle!
It's hard to get a picture of all the castle because it's so big, but here's a group picture!

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