The Travel Bug

Signe Trewyn's blog

Archive for May, 2016

A Trip Below

Posted by Signe Trewyn on 26th May 2016


Upon setting foot in the building of the Mary King’s Close tour on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, Scotland there was an expectation for the tour guide to explain the narrative its history. Tours run every fifteen minutes with tour guides dressed in 17th century clothing. Surprisingly enough, the stories about Mary King’s Close are shockingly true and they are worth exploring and reading about. A clash between tragedy, good and evil exist throughout the tour and it is not difficult to see where these themes exist.

During the first few minutes of the tour, the guide took time to talk about the events that went on with an accent and a sense of fear in his voice. This strategy allowed the audience to feel the fear and sadness of the situations described in each room.

The tour guide pointed out several people who lived in one room. Suddenly, there was yelling to alert people in the street of sewage about to be thrown in the street. The words said by the guide in a suspenseful way by capturing the stress of people living in poor conditions.

The second scene showed a man who had been beaten to death, this was so because his wife had gotten angry with him over money. His wife then ended up heading to England and other places to avoid the penalties of her actions. What the tour guide did was effective by stamping his foot on the floor to emphasize the fact that

The tour showed the Black Plague and the Bubonic Plague and the tour guide explained what happened to the people during that time and what people did to prevent the disease. The guide was suspenseful in explaining the Plague. The guide explained the situation in a low voice and by painting a tragic picture of the two diseases. Before moving on to the next room, he said the next place was supposed to be haunted, he turned his head back to the group and said it in a way that was quiet but suspenseful.

The audience was left at that final word of “haunted” which caused chills through every single person in the room. The doll, named Annie existed in the room and that is where the fear occurred when a Japanese psychic visited the doll’s shrine, the tour guide explained this. The room had a bunch of toys that were said to have been left by the psychic, there was also a lot of money on the ground.

The actual Mary King’s Close was located right at the end of the tour. At this point, this location was history at its finest because it was a long and dark hallway that brought with it a sense of fear. This place was where, the tour guide explained, a lot of the sewage was dumped into the streets, exposing those who worked and lived there. There was a workshop where a man was making saws, he was a part of the Coltheart family. There was an opportunity to look down at what the streets looked like at the time, it was dirty, wet and dark.

The tour guide went over why it was called Mary King’s Close because it was a place with a series of streets and small spaces. Suddenly, a sense of fear crept over the audience at the dark hallway. The end turned out to be the man saying the Mary King’s Close tour is officially closed.

The tour guide was effective as a whole with the early century dress and accent. The most impressive aspect of the tour guide’s talent was the fact that he could be able to scare the audience when he emphasized important words. This allowed the audience to listen to the stories being told and react to what was being said.

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First Impressions

Posted by Signe Trewyn on 24th May 2016

Even before my plane landed on May 19th 2016, I was drawn to the green patches that made up the Scottish landscape which was evident once we drove into the driveway of the house.  Once I arrived at the house, my jet lag seemed to pause when I became transfixed in taking in not just the house, but the property of 800 acres of endless green grass and trees. Patty, the Resident Director greeted me at the front door with the plaque that read “Wisconsin in Scotland” in the background. However, I was relieved to be at such an ancient house with such a large history of the people who studied there in the past.

Dalkeith house met my expectations with its overall size, when I came upon it, I thought that it was large and it reminded me of Harry Potter. The house was conveniently situated out in the country with a woods just beyond it. Early on in the program, I got a chance to explore the grounds with my friends I flew over with, we explored the woods and the paths it had to offer.

One of the first locations I explored was a large bridge overlooking a small waterfall, while walking on the path, I looked down on the grass and witnessed a slug moving quite slowly across the wet grass. I thought it was interesting to see the slug as well as bumble bees that were a different color than in the United States. Deer were also viewed with my group on the path which were must smaller than the white tailed deer of the United States.

The best surprise I got while living here is the people of the community let their children and dogs play in the yard, this shows me what a wonderful place this is, it is so fun to watch them especially in the sunshine. Seeing that makes me feel so much more welcome here and I am eager to go out and talk to them. I feel as though they are eager to talk and get to know me. It is interesting to see the different breeds of dogs. The people there turned out to be warm and welcoming to me which was one of my favourite things, feeling welcomed on an abroad trip seemed to be the gateway to adventure. The city of Dalkeith was small with coffee shops and a grocery store. The buildings were stout with a lively interior which is what I expected from looking at photos of Dalkeith.


The first town I explored with my friends from the plane was Dalkeith. Overall, it was a cute town with small shops and cobblestone streets unique to Europe. When I was eating lunch, I experienced a language barrier that I thought was a lot different. I ordered a sandwich with French fries. Upon receiving my meal, I sat frozen not because I was surprised, but rather confused. I had been given an appetizing sandwich with French fries.

What I thought I was going to receive was a bag of chips that I had received when I ordered the food. I asked the waitress for chips, she said I had already received them. I frowned and asked her again, she said the French fries were chips, I smiled and laughed at myself because I thought I would receive the same food as in America. I returned to my food ready to eat it with my friends who had taken me all around Dalkieth.This was another reason why I felt welcomed at Dalkeith house with so much positive energy from those who greeted me.

Almost every day, my friends from Whitewater who were involved in the counselling program acted as my tour guides through Edinburgh, I was excited by the fact that I got to see the city with the large buildings and unique churches. I learned that Edinburgh had a large focus on history as well as the offers for the ghost tours scattered around town. They showed me the ways of the city and continued to be my travel buddies throughout my experience in Scotland during the first week. My confidence in traveling on buses and through the sprawling city became more and more evident throughout the first week. While in Edinburgh the first week, I found a museum dedicated to the history of surgery which I found to be interesting and unique.

Edinburgh showed a passion for music did exist. There were many music bars, which painted the picture of rowdy guests as well as people being loud, I went into the bar itself and there were people who danced pleasantly while the music was playing. Me and my friends sat down at the bar and watched an elderly couple dance along to the music, I thought that was a good introduction to Edinburgh.  The previous impression I got from being in Ireland where people turned their passion toward drinking. Those seemed to be abundant throughout the city which meant the Scottish were passionate about their haunted past. Edinburgh also proved to be a sprawling city as well, abundant with busses and cars zipping through the city daily.

Walking through the city, I noticed all its beauty as well as Edinburgh castle which was shown in the photos of Scotland. Seeing the man playing bagpipes in the heart of the city with all the people walking through it was impressive to me because that is how I pictured Scotland to be. The music made me feel welcome and it showed me the Scottish relish local music.


Overall, my experience in Scotland has been quite interesting with many chances to learn about travel writing. There also have been endless opportunities to explore Edinburgh and Dalkeith in order to learn my way around with people from Whitewater who turned out to be my travel buddies. To this day, I look at the plaque and remember the day I arrived and the journeys in Scotland that are yet to come.

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Posted by Signe Trewyn on 21st May 2016

When I first heard the word Edinburgh, I thought it was a rather elegant word, filled with large buildings and a haunted past. the day I decided to go there my expectations were met.

The first thing I did when I got there was to look around at the large buildings. There are large buildings everywhere as well as many people. Once we were there, we walked around until we found a small diner where we ate food, I had a sandwich. My face lighted up at the fact that we were there because I like spending time in cities where the culture is there. Once we finished lunch and the smoothie I ordered which was strawberry banana with real fruit pieces, we continued on to explore the city.

A walk down the street lead us to the museum showcasing surgery, it was quite interesting to see the different surgeries that were done. The museum showcased old skeletons as well as body parts affected by numerous ailments. A quite a bit of time was spent at the museum walking around and seeing different surgical tools used to conduct surgeries. In cases, there were sheers and forceps that were used to conduct surgeries that were without anesthesia.

There was also the chance to purchase a nice t-shirt that was abstractly decorated with a electric guitar which was awesome. I liked the color and the fact that I had the chance to speak to a local about where I was from and what shirt I liked. He was a vendor who was selling t-shirts that day that showed what I was interested in the most which was music because there was a t-shirt that featured guitars on the front.

The museum featured different floors which housed skulls and other body parts. I thought that the museum featured many items that my friends were interested in and it was for sure a different viewpoint other than just a history museum. The museum also featured a story about a man who murdered sixteen people and stole their bodies from the cemetery. This story seemed to be a trend around Edinburgh because there was a dungeon attraction which featured the same story.

We walked a bit farther where more large buildings were viewed which made it interesting because of their size which was neat. The buildings I walked down were traditionally European because of the architecture on the sides. When I turned my head I saw a street that looked like it was part of the older part of town, it featured a building that looked like a castle, it also had characteristic buildings of Edinburgh. I thought that that was a large part of the Edinburgh culture.

I walked down the street which was cool because there was a large building that had the characteristic architecture. There was also a church steeple that was unique because it was black and it looked like a very old cathedral. The history in it was there and I admired it for its design, the color and the magical look of the architecture.

We went to a bar which featured live music and alcohol, it was also green which reminded me of an Irish pub. I thought the design was cute and it featured music legends such as the Beatles on the wall. While there, I was treated to the acoustic music of a solo artist.

An elderly couple began to dance to the music in a way that did not disturb the artist, they moved around the bar without caring who was watching. I thought that that was the best part of the trip. The artist complimented them on their dance skills while they applauded his performance.


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Dalkeith Today

Posted by Signe Trewyn on 19th May 2016

Today, we went for a walk around the Estate which proved to be quite interesting for such an old building. We walked outside of the building said “Wisconsin in Scotland.” 1986.

I thought that was a testament to how long the building has been here and how many students have been through the house and have experienced Scotland.

We decided to walk along the side of the house to where a steep hill towered over the rushing water below, the water continued to rush loudly until it gave way to a waterfall.

This was on the opposite side of the bridge that gave Dalkeith house scope, meaning it was a good photo opportunity for those wishing to view it as a whole.

We continued to walk farther by the trail which lead us farther along the rushing river that was once part of the waterfall. Throughout the hike, we walked around and observed how the deer, birds and insects differed from Wisconsin.

I thought it was really interesting that the bumble bees looked orange instead of the traditional black and yellow. I thought it was a bit comical that the insects looked so different from ours.

The deer also looked different as well because they were smaller and their fur was much brighter red than the deer of Wisconsin.

The birds sounded different and looked a bit different, which was interesting to me because they were still birds because they sang such a pretty song.

The final highlight of my afternoon was when I got to walk along a path with a large rainbow phenomenon in the distance.

I thought it was the largest and most enchanting rainbow I had ever seen, I loved seeing the rainbow because I felt it symbolized the beginning of a great journey at Dalkeith House.

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