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Posts Tagged ‘scotland’

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This is a bit of a (very) late update. After about two years of waffling about in Scotland (first year when I was still doing my undergrad… and now doing my MSc), I finally got a chance to head down to Edinburgh in August to watch the world famous Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

A word of warning for those who’s never been about Edinburgh in August. This is the famous Edinburgh fringe festival season so expect the whole city to be mobbed with people and the prices of accommodation to go through the roof! Don’t do what I did and do it two weeks in advance. Plan ahead!!

A friend and I finally managed to get ourselves down there for a weekend when he had finally had some space on his busy schedule to catch the very last show they had on. We had a quick stroll around the Edinburgh castle to kill some time before we headed to dinner.

We had a craving for some sushi but seeing as how we had no reservations and it was packed, we decided to try our luck at the Grassmarket. The Grassmarket is a smallish area just behind the castle where it’s lined with pubs and restaurants. The ambiance is great and it was full of people laughing and drinking. We had walked by a pizzeria before and seeing as how my friend was allergic to gluten and they had gluten-free pizza, we decided this was the place for dinner. While we were waiting in line outside to be seated, this sign caught my eye:

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Go on, did you also do an immature little giggle like I did when I first saw it?

The place itself was quite good. I’ve never had gluten-free pizza before and while it wasn’t quite the same, it wasn’t bad. The crust is a crunchier texture but when it’s packed with cheese and pepperoni, nobody can go wrong really.

We relaxed there and people watched for a bit and managed to get through about two beers each before we decided it was time to head up for the 10:30pm last show. There was a huge crowd of people waiting to get in and we joined the masses. To be fair, it was quite quick and we very quickly saw ourselves being directed to the far section of the arena that was set up just outside the castle. The program was spectacular and other than the traditionally expected bagpipes and drums, the troop was accompanied by other military bands from around the world including Korea, New Zealand and even Mongolia. New Zealand’s band took the prize away as they played several popular favourites such as (surprisingly) Gangnam style… but first came out with their trademark Haka even before the instruments touched their lips. My friend was so amused by this he recorded it… and wouldn’t stop playing it for the entire trip after that.

All in all, it was a good short weekend trip. If any of you are thinking of going for next year, I would definitely recommend it just for the experience! There’s a televised version of it but it really is more spectacular when you’re there in person.

Getting ready to start

Getting ready to start

Getting to the big finish

Getting to the big finish

The big finish joined by all the bands who participated

The big finish joined by all the bands who participated

The crowds on the way back

The crowds on the way back

 

And of course, seeing as how we were in Edinburgh, I took my friend up to Calton Hill just to see the city from the top of the hill and the monument up there.

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There’s a Spanish canon there that I always take a picture with…
Yes, that’s what I do… I take ridiculous pictures of myself riding things.

Cheers,
~JGM

 

 

 

 

 

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A Miracle!

So, this weekend a miracle happened.

It was sunny and warm enough to wear shorts in Aberdeen!

I have been cooped up inside for so long that it took me a while to adjust to the sunlight outside *hissssss*. In any case, while the rest of the UK (and the rest of the world It seemed like) enjoyed an unprecedented heat wave, Aberdeen managed to experience a tiny blip of it before the clouds and wind and rain came rolling back in.

I don’t suppose I can complain though considering that it’s not completely freezing just yet.

In any case, my weekend had been rather eventful if just a bit unproductive. I helped a friend move (voluntarily I might add), went to take a look at a flat since I will be essentially homeless in a few weeks, and checked out the International market in town before going out to a pub to catch a rather good cover band and danced the night away. We had a beautiful day on Sunday so my roommate managed to drag my alcohol addled brain and aching feet up and out to head to Duthie park, one of the green spaces in Aberdeen.

As parks go (in my experience), it is rather small but big for Aberdeen. It was sunny enough to lounge on the grass and soak up some sun before we took a walk around to see what the park offered. There is a small garden there which boasts all manners of plants. They have a tiny Japanese garden and even more impressive, a cacti garden. They even had venus fly traps! I have never seen one up close. They were tiny and actually, quite adorable as fly-eating plants go.

All in all, it was a good day to spend out in the sun and away from the topic of our dissertations.

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Oh look, two grad students.

And of course, there was a small little hill called The Mound where that was a flag pole sticking out of it. OBVIOUSLY, we had to climb it. And OBVIOUSLY, sillyness ensued.

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If you don’t get the reference without the second picture below, it’s possible that you’re too young.

Two more months before my dissertation is due, 8 more weeks before I see my significant other again, 10 more weeks before I am in Spain to soak up even more sun and feed myself to bursting. 

The weeks are flying!

 

Cheers,
~JGM

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Oh Scotland!

Just a quick little post:

I am now situated in Edinburgh as I am here on placement (yay free labour!). The other day, I was walking back from Princess street to head to a coffee shop when I saw the oddest thing ever.

There was a young man sitting near the stairs down to Waverly station… holding a lamb. On a leash. In the middle of the city. Just off the busiest main streets.

It was the oddest, most incongruous thing I have ever seen. I couldn’t help but break into a giant grin when I walk past. Unfortunately, I did not have a camera and couldn’t take a snapshot of this strange moment.

C’mon Ireland, you need to up your game. I didn’t see a single lamb on a leash when I was there!

~JGM

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