Sunday, April 18, 2010

Weekend Trip in the Highlands, Day 1

This was the most awesome trip I have ever been on with the International students! We traveled around some of Scotland and spent a night in a hostel in the Highlands. It was so much fun and I will never forget it.On Saturday we got up early to meet at 8:30am at Uni. Since there were so many of us going on this trip, we took two buses. I was on the "cool" bus with all of my friends. I was so happy that we got split up with the people we are always around. Usually we are just split up randomly, and that's annoying.
Our first stop was at Loch Lomond. It is a beautiful Loch that a lot of people travel to because it is pretty close and it's the largest surface area of fresh water in the UK. We spent about a half hour there walking around and taking pictures. It was so nice to see some water and spend time with my friends. I have been wanting to visit Loch Lomond anyways because I know a lot of people have already been there. So I was happy we hit so many important places on this 2 day trip.
Our next stop was called "Rest and Be Thankful." Our tour guide, Simon, (who was awesome and told us SO many awesome stories that I can't even remember) told us that back in the day when soldiers were heading this way, they would stop at this point and give thanks for making it alive so far. Since there were only dirt paths then, and people traveled mostly by foot, they would be exhausted. Hence the resting part of it. But I thought that was really cool to stand up there and look over the huge valley. The air smelled so fresh. It was awesome.
After spending a half hour here, we got back on the bus and headed to a small town for lunch. I can't remember the name for the life of me now, but when I do...I'll change this. Haha. So, since me and the girls brought our lunches, we just had coffee's and latte's in a little restaurant and we were going to eat our real food when we got back on the bus. We only had 40 minutes there anyways. The town was really small and cute. It looked so old-fashioned, like everything does here I guess. It was nice to sit in somewhere and relax.
After we finished, we made our way over to the bus where Gary told us that if we're planning on drinking tonight...we'd better buy our supplies here before we go. So EVERYONE went into the tiny gas station across the street to buy their alcohol. What a sight. 66 kids squished in a gas station and all of them buying beer. Real cute.
After everyone was happy with their 12 pack purchase, we got back on the buses again and headed toward Dunadd Fort. In Scottish Gaelic it means 'Fort on the Add (River).' The weather was really cold, but decent. We started climbing up the big rocky hill, and half way there Simon stopped us to tell us a little bit about Dunadd. At the end of his story, he pulled out two bottles of Whisky made on an Isle near by. Everyone took a swig and passed it on. It was too funny, and totally Scottish. I don't know what else I was expecting?When we got to the top it was raining and SO windy! We took pictures and laughed about how ridiculous it was. We were so soaking wet. It was so much fun.After trying not to slip on the wet rocks and die on the way back down, we made our way to another wee place that had some very old Stonehenge. I really love that kind of stuff so I was SO excited! Some of the stones had weird markings on them from a long time ago. Simon said (haha, Simon says) no one knows for sure, but the markings probably had something to with astrology and figuring out how the world works. So cool!The stones were set up randomly in this HUGE field where there were rugby posts and sheep. It was so weird that such history was no big deal to the people who live there and they just walk around it every day. We walked through the field and passed the sheep to a place called 'Nether Largie Cairn.' It looked just like the bottom property at 166! Hahah. But unlike the bottome property, instead of a fire ring in the middle of the big circle of stones, it was a little grave where they used to do ceremonies or sacrifices. Remains of bones were found there earlier. Crazy!
We walked to a couple different spots. One of them we could even crawl inside! It was like a little cave hideout. About 10 of us could fit in there. I don't really know what it was for, but it was pretty cool.After a while looking and exploring the Stone henge, we stopped by an old church for a restroom break before going to a castle. The girls room, of course, only had one stall and ALL the girls had to go. So I went to check the church out while I waited. On my way around the back, I found a stone on the ground that looked like it had a cross on it. So I picked up and put it in my purse. I think it's really neat. The church was beautiful and had such old gravestones.Some of the boys (and Canadian Liz) played football (soccer) while the girls got done. It was cool to watch them because they all grew up playing. Just like us with American football. They were having so much fun.
I FINALLY got to use the restroom and we all got back on the bus. We made our way to the castle. Well, we actually had to walk a ways to get to it. We walked up a big hill, through a herd of sheep. Haha. Oh my. It was a really cool castle and the grass all around it was piercingly green. I loved it. We walked all through the castle, looking out all of the windows and trying to fit into every hole we possibly could. It's always so much fun to explore new castles. There are soo many here! After some of us were done, we just layed on the side of the hill and waited for the others to come out. It was nice to lay and just hang out around a castle. Not many people get to do that nowadays I guess. Heheh.Since the castle was our last stop, we were now bound for the hostel in Oban. I was excited to get there since it was such a long day and I knew it was going to be a fun night. We got to pick who we wanted to room with which was awesome. We got a room with 8 beds and there were only 6 of us. A French girl and a German girl said they would stay in our room, but ended up not so it all got messed up some how. Unfortunately, we got stuck with two boys in our extra beds. A Spanish boy and an Italian weirdo that we always make fun of but never talk to. We were not too thrilled. Good thing is, they hung out with their friends downstairs all night so we had the room to ourselves to play games and talk.We played a couple drinking games with the beer we bought earlier while the boys went for a walk to a castle nearby. By the time they got back they were ready to party. They heard us playing a really funny and loud game so they came in to join when they got back. After hanging out for a while in the hostel, we all headed to a pub that was only a 10 minute walk away. They had a live band playing and we, as usual, stole the dance floor. The band played so many good songs including 'Sex on Fire', 'Time of Your Life', and 'Sweet Home Alabama'. It was so much fun to dance again.During the last song, I don't know very well might have been me, someone started the train. It started going around the TINY bar packed with too many people and it was hilarious. I was right behind my friend Claudius and Beth was behind me. As we were training past our friend Michael (really huge guy from Denmark) Claudius lightly pulled on his shirt to tell him to come join. Next thing I knew, ALL of the buttons on his shirt came flying undone and he was standing there with his shirt WIDE open, bare stomach hanging pale. All of the other Internationals were in on the train, so he was standing there in the middle of this random pub all alone with everyone staring at him. He didn't even noticed until he looked down and had the most confused look on his face. I really almost died of laughing and for the rest of the song me, Beth and Claudius stood in the middle of the dance floor laughing hysterically at what just happened. I still can't help but laugh out loud when I think about it. It was so ridiculous.We headed back to the hostel around 1:30am (early for us Glaswegians). Everyone was pretty tanked and acting totally insane. After I saw Michael drinking straight whisky while I was walking OUT of the pub to go home, I knew it was going to be an interesting night. Michael spent the entire night in the girls bathroom over the toilet. The weirdo Italian in our room spent most of the night over the sink in the same bathroom. I kept screaming at everyone that he WAS NOT sleeping in our room tonight and he's so creepy. He had one of the top bunks, which meant if he DID have to get up in the middle of the night, it was pretty obvious he was going to fall and die. But...the boys still took him in our room and put him on that top bunk. Gross. Later when we all went to bed, me and the girls were laughing and screaming about the weirdo Italian's cat-like snore. After a half hour of not being able to sleep because of the weird noises he was making, me and Karen got up and started shoving him to wake him up. Nothing worked though. He was completely unconscious. We just had to suffer. (Look closely for Michael's feet hanging out under the middle stall. Haha!)
It was an awesome day and a hilarious night. We had so much fun together and I love my friends so much. It will be so sad to leave them at the end.

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