The Travel Bug

Signe Trewyn's blog

Archive for June, 2016

A Scottish Farewell

Posted by Signe Trewyn on 10th June 2016

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As I wander the halls of Dalkeith house for the last time, I remained pensive about my final hours in Scotland. This morning was spent watching students depart for elsewhere in Europe, either to Paris or Rome.

I was proud of their tenacity to explore the world so independently.

Earlier today, I took the time to read my Harry Potter book in the library which had a view of Montagu bridge. Reading in this setting proved to be the most magical part of the entire experience.

I flipped past every page faster than I would have at home and smiled to myself when I discovered every surprise the book had to offer.

Today was a day I took for only myself, given the fact that Experience Scotland has been my own experience. I wanted to make it the best it could possibly be by exploring the grounds of Dalkeith house.

Eventually, I found myself surrounded by forest and small forest creatures, I put my fingers upon a spider crawling on the railing after just viewing a duck swim down the river.

I walked a bit farther to see that the river continued on to reveal even more dirt trail.

I thought this was one of the best ways to say goodbye within the forest while looking at Dalkeith house in the distance. To be honest, I did not feel lonely simply because I was in the forest surrounded by beauty.

The floor of the trail was lined with bright green vegetation with the occasional flower being pastel blue or pink. These little surprises proved to be one of the best ways to suppress my sadness of leaving for the summer.

As I walked closer to the house, I saw an older man with his dog who was running after a stick. I regarded him briefly while walking at the same time.

He spoke to me about where I was from and asked if I liked it here, I agreed and felt the sadness creep up on me once again.

Near the end of the afternoon, I felt as though the journey had come full circle with the people I talked to and the opportunities available. This is what makes the end all the more satisfying and bittersweet.

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A tale of two fairy tales

Posted by Signe Trewyn on 3rd June 2016

Standing on the balcony of Linlithgow palace was a magical affair to look over the city much like those who ruled years before. While on the balcony, I couldn’t help but feel as though I was standing in the shoes of Mary, Queen of Scots. The palace was spacious with large towers that lead up to the very top of the palace to see the entire town of Linlithgow.

Being at the palace proved to be educational because I got to explore a wing with a small museum featuring items found throughout the castle. One was a sword placed next to a gun, other items were shards of bowls used for cooking.

Most of the morning was spent exploring the palace, searching for the perfect angle in which the view the fortress so perfectly preserved. The magic thrived at this castle because of its medieval theme.

Sadly, I felt myself slipping away from the fairy tale that was Linlithgow palace, a part of me was still excited for what Stirling castle had in store as I walked through the doors.

Upon reaching Stirling, I knew the castle there was going to be big. We had to walk at least a mile up to it and once I reached it, I was very surprised to see the sheer size of it. This castle took on the identity of those that appear in horror novels and Game of Thrones episodes. I found this castle to be much larger than the palace I had just visited.

I was a part of the guided tour that pointed out significant locations where battle occurred, there were also bloody battles that went on in the castle as well.

The tour was quite informative about the history of Stirling castle including the battles and how people lived in the castle. During my time at the castle, the consequences of battle were explored, there were skeletons found of those who sustained injuries.

The entire property was so large in fact that once I was done with my guided tour, I became lost for a measurable amount of minutes looking for people I had arrived with.

Suddenly, I felt as though I was alive during the medieval time period and that walking around the castle was a daily activity.

Traveling to the castle gave me that rare opportunity to be part of the historic battles that occurred while seeing how people lived their lives. Getting lost was one of those rare opportunities to explore on my own and become part of the history of the castle.

The most surest way of witnessing history right before your eyes is to visit the places where it happened and to take in every detail.

 

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Great things to do in Glasgow on a budget

Posted by Signe Trewyn on 2nd June 2016

Imagine that you have been given eighteen hours in Glasgow with a limited budget and a sense of adventure.

Kelvingrove Museum 

The museum is the best place to start, especially for those who just flew into the city with a desire to know more about the development and history of Scotland. The museum offers something for everyone, with stuffed animals near the entrance as well as a statue of author Robert Louis Stevenson. Visitors may be surprised to find that Robert Louis Stevenson was once a native to Edinburgh. The convenient hours at ten to five at night also serve as another reason to take full advantage of the museum’s exhibits.

The museum offers floors and floors of exhibits, including one on Ancient Egypt, one on armor, and a good deal of art. Familiar names can be found such as Van Gogh. The fact that the museum is free makes it all the more likely to be explored as an art gallery and as a museum. Arms and Armour cannot be overlooked, nor can the floor showcasing Scotland’s natural history.

Willow Tea Rooms

After the museum,  freshen up at Willow Tearooms with quality tea, averaging three pounds. The setting is fancy with white cloth and pastries included by order. Petite desserts can be ordered with drinks as well along with a sandwich. To keep things cheap, it is a good idea to just order tea and maybe a small dessert as well. As far as a meeting place goes, the tea room cannot be passed up, with an opportunity to enjoy quality tea or a sandwich over a conversation with a long lost friend. The tea room offers tables just for two friends getting together for a short afternoon. The atmosphere is peaceful making conversation and enjoyment easy as pie.

Glasgow School of Art 

For the art enthusiast, there is one location that offers the whole song and dance. The best part of the tour is that profits benefit the school. The school offers walking tours for an hour or two and a half hours, ideal for a traveler on their own planning to spend a good part of the afternoon. The tours are reasonably priced with a good background history on Mackintosh and his design for the buildings.

On the front of the building, the original plan by Macintosh himself is visible over the stairs leading to the entrance. One important item to note, a great majority of the school was lost to a fire on May 23rd 2014.

The Pub Still

Those who wish to have more down time with friends need not look any further than the Pub Still with its tastings every Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. Single Malt Scotch Whisky can be ordered from here for only ten pounds or less. Located on Hope St. it proves to be the perfect hangout spot for natives and foreigners alike.

Glasgow offers several activities to do while on a budget that are both entertaining, informative and enlightening to those who take advantage of them while on foot.

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Isle of Sky conversation

Posted by Signe Trewyn on 2nd June 2016

It was on the bus to the Isle of Skye where I met Richard Galaway; a thin, tall, handsome adventure guide with a lot to say on the bus ride to Skye and back.

While on the bus turning away from Edinburgh we passed a series of brown houses and Richard spoke in a truthful tone. “That’s J.K. Rowling’s house.” He ended up just joking, causing everyone to laugh because he had convinced them that she lived in that house.

Often, while on the bus he would ask, “Ready for a song, this band is Chvrches, they are from Glasgow.”

I thought to myself and said yes, because I really love music. Soon, the bus filled with the music playing softly against the engine’s rumble.

I said to the young woman next to me, “This is my favorite band.” She smiled; and said she was from Montreal.

Introducing bands was one of his favorite things to do while on the bus; he showed us bands local to Scotland. Throughout the bus routes, he continued to introduce several new rock bands.

Upon arriving at the Isle of Skye, as the bus passed several innocent blue and red boats sitting in the harbor, Richard said, “A warning to the females on this trip, see those boats, those are for nuclear activity.” At this, I became distressed and did not have much of a response, but I smiled because I figured he was joking.

We checked into the hostel, and then we walked across the beach to a restaurant. The location looked like a beach town with boats.

While on the way to the Old Man of Storr the windows showed off the mountain we were about to climb, and Richard said, “The mountain of the old man of Storr looks like an old man lying on his back.” he said and everyone on the bus began to laugh.

My impression of the Isle of Skye was that it would be surrounded by mountains and waterfalls, this came true upon arrival. On the Isle of Skye, we stopped at a point overlooking a cliff, with water on the bottom and a waterfall. After looking at the cliff for a time I walked back to said “Beautiful place isn’t it?” “Yes,” I said, in agreement.

Late in the afternoon, we took a hike up the Old Man of Storr. It was interesting to see so many rocks formed as spikes, making the mountain of Storr recognizable.

Richard said, as he left the bus toward the trail; “It’s up to you, hike at your own pace because this will take two hours.” He told the students before they departed for the hike.

‘I am just going to take this slow,’ I said.

Once I reached a high point close to the top, I began to walk down slowly, taking in the Old Man of Storr.

Later that day, Richard and I were on the bus, about to leave in order to explore the Isle of Sky further, and I asked him what he loved the most about the country. He said, ‘I like the pubs a lot, I don’t really like the weather.” This held true for him as well, because he was often seen in the pubs where we ate dinner.

At the end of the weekend; as a finale Richard turned on the Proclaimers. The song turned out to be “Five hundred miles.”

‘I bet you are going to dance like an idiot to this song,’ Richard said, and I smiled and laughed while the song played.

As Five Hundred Miles faded out, Richard asked, “Do you want to hear more songs?” I smiled and nodded my head in agreement as everyone else chimed in which caused the bus to be filled with music once more.

Upon returning to Dalkeith house; everyone pitched in and gave Richard several pounds. I said ‘Thank you,’ and he seemed equally thankful for the generosity.

Suddenly, Richard walked slowly back to the bus ending the soundtrack to our journey as he drove five hundred miles toward his next adventure.

 

 

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