Monday, October 29, 2012

Pictures from Isle of Skye

Isle of Skye

October 27th & 28th
Set off to the Isle of Skye for the weekend with the International Society. The bus ride was long but was broken up by stops along the way. The landscape is breathe taking and it seems like you are driving through the moors of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Hounds of the Baskervilles. The mountains and the seascape are something that only pictures can describe. The tour was mostly driving from one beautiful site to the next, then briefly getting off the bus and wandering for a few minutes and then boarding the bus and driving to the next stop. Made it back Sunday around 8, I was a frozen ice cube. The weather was very cold, rainy, but the weather added to the mysteriousness of the Isle. The pictures can describe better than I can.

Classes continue

October 22-26
This week brought the realization that I am in fact in Scotland for university and not just to travel. The week to come is filled with exams and papers to be written. This week I got my first grade back. The exam went much better than expected. On the 22 point scale I received a 'very good'. Something kind of humorous is the fact that in the Glasgow grading system there is no 'failing.' Wednesday in photography we were able to develop our second roll of film. I don't think that this roll developed as well as the first but we will see. Half of the pictures I took them in the dark and dim lighting. I was a little nervous that they wouldn't turn out but there were some good ones. The leaves in Glasgow have changed colors and the sidewalks on the way to class are plastered with leaves. It has taken a turn to the cold. I think that next week I will have to cave in and go shopping for a longer and warmer jacket and some boots and wool socks. The posts are getting shorter and the time seems to be slipping by faster. The semester is quickly ending. This weekend I am will be traveling to the Isle of Skye.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Loch Ness and hike pictures

Hogwarts Express and Castle Ruins Pictures


October 20th.. Loch Ness and hiking

Woke up early to venture out into the village. By the time that I had packed everything and made my way out of the hostel it was about nine and none of the cafes were open. Peanut butter and jelly sandwich for breakfast. I made it to the Loch Ness Exhibition center right around 9:30 and was finished walking through by 10:30, it was little eerie. There were movies shown in different rooms that were decorate with memorabilia from the Loch, but I was the only one in all of them. I was a little spooked still from last night too. After the Exhibition Center, I ventured back the way I came from to do a hike up to this fantastic waterfall. I made a few wrong turns but figured it out. I was just about to the top when the girl from the hostel passes me on her way down. She ensured me that I was going the right way and that the view was worth all the sweat. Once again nobody else was on the trail so it was very peacful. Supposedly one of the houses at the top of the hill belonged to the author of Peter Pan ages ago. After resting and catching my breath by the waterfall, I headed back down the hill to try and see if I could catch a boat out on to the Loch. One left at 12 and I had just missed it so I would have to wait till 2 and then hopefully make it back before 3:10 when my bus left for Fort Williams so I could catch my train back to Glasgow. Everything worked out. The tour was ok, I don't know if it I would do it again. The elderly man that was leading the tour seemed pretty convinced that Nessie was real and he kept trying to convince that she was. The tour took us around to the back side of the ruins that I didn't get to see last night in the pitch dark, so that was nice. The weather all day was beautiful. I caught my bus and train and made it back to Glasgow. The train ride seemed to take forever. I had started a book on the way up to Fort William and I finished it on the way back, that is telling you how long the train and bus rides are. I feel pretty proud that I made it on my own! Pictures to come.

October 18th- 19th... Hogwarts Express

Thursday afternoon after classes, Sophia (a girl from my floor) and myself caught a train heading to Fort William where we spent the night in  hostel and woke up early the next morning to ride the Hogwarts Express. That's not really what the train is called but it travels the same railway that the Hogwarts students do in the movies! I felt like just around every bend in the track I would be arriving at  the castle. Even though I never made it to Hogwarts, the train ride was absolutely beautiful. The mountains and the fall foliage we breath taking. Not to mention ever town that we went through the people we lined outside waving to all the passengers on board. The train started in Fort William and traveled all the way north to the costal city Malliag. This is the town that has the ferry to cross over to the Isle of Skye, supposedly the most beautiful place in Scotland (which I will be going to next weekend). We spent a few hours wandering the streets of Mallaig. Quickly before heading back to the train we ate some fish and chips. The train traveled the same route back to Fort William. Sophia and I parted ways once we were back in Fort William. She headed back to Glasgow and I waited for a bus to go to Loch Ness. Friday night I caught my bus and headed to Loch Ness. I was a pretty nervous about spending a night in a hostel by myself. It worked out, the only other girl in the room was from Canada and she had been traveling around Scotland for the last two weeks. We hit it off and thanks to a tip from the hostel manager ventured out in the rain to see the ruins of the local castle lit up and for free. The walk there took about 40 minutes and when I mentioned that it was free, it was only free because we hopped a couple of fences and made our way down to the castle. The manager said that we could and that people do it all the time, so we didn't think twice about it. After taking some poor pictures due to the rain and complete darkness we made out way out of the grounds and were just about to out when I light in a building came on. Panic attack!! Thoughts of being arrested in Scotland ran through my head. Stealth mood activated, we silently climbed the fences and went out the back way. Nothing happened and we made our way back to the hostel with soaking wet boots, pants, and everything else. A quick bowl of lentil soup and then off to bed. Who knew sitting on you bottom all day in a train and bus could make you so tired. Tomorrow, Loch Ness and maybe some hiking.

October 14-17 Loosing track of the Days

Once again I have fallen behind. The days are such a blur, I doesn't seem like I have been here for all most two months. Classes are fully under way, exams and papers are quickly approaching and soon the semester will be over. Wow, I am getting stressed just thinking about the fact that a couple of papers and one or two exams will determine my final grades. No homework assignments to make the tests worth less and no caring professors to hold my hand through the paper writing process. Good thing that right in the middle of the stressful week I have photography. I know that it seems that is all I write about, but seriously, photography class is the one class that I look forward to every week. This week was not as successful as last week but I think that was because I developed all my good pictures last week. We got the cameras for the week again, hopefully I will get some good still-lifes this week. This weekend I am riding the Hogwarts Express!! And then I am doing a solo trip to Loch Ness, maybe I will see Nessie....

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Pictures from Field Trip

Day 43... Robert Burns and Castle

October 13
Rise and shine, its field trip time! Today my Scottish Enlightenment class is taking a field trip to the birth place of the famous poet, Robert Burns. After wandering around the small town that Burns lived his first seven years and exploring the thatched house that he lived in we made our way to an interactive museum that was built just in the last couple years. The museum and Burns memorabilia was a bust and was not very interesting. I think that it would have helped if we had a better idea of who he was and what he wrote. I know this is the stereotypical American, but at least half of our class had no idea who he was or something he wrote. After the museum and lunch we made our way back to the bus and headed to the Culzean Castle that resides on the coast of the ocean. Apparently you can look out on a calm day and see many isles and sometimes even Ireland. I don't know if the tour guide was joking or not but we could see many isles in the distance on the horizon. This castle made up for the poor tour guides and boring museum from the Burns pilgrimage. The castle was very beautiful and the grounds were even better. We were allotted about 40 minutes to walk about the gardens. We found a secret trail that lead down to the water and I even found some sea shells. This was beautiful, it was pretty misty and rainy but still fabulous. The Culzean castle is probably my favorite castle that I have been too since arriving in Scotland. After a long bus ride back, I didn't feel like doing much else. But later in the evening, I got a second wind and some girls and myself from my floor decided to head out to a movie. We went to the late showing of The Perks of Being a Wall Flower. I don't know how I felt about the film. It was pretty sad, mom if you read this don't go to it in the theaters, you will cry. Overall, I would say I good Saturday. Tomorrow, church, laundry that I still haven't finished, and studying for my visual test in art history. Pictures from the day to come.

Day 38-42... Classes

October 8-12
This week is going to be spent preparing for my Astronomy exam on Friday. I think that this is  the first time in ages that I have prepared for an exam more than three days in advance, minus finals. After this weekend I was all caught up on my reading and was able to do some studying. Once again the one thing that gets me through classes every week is knowing that on Wednesdays I will be able to go work on my photography. This week we continued printing pictures, I enjoy it so much that when everyone else slipped out for the customary art school break I stayed in the dark room and continued printing my pictures. We still haven't been able to use the cameras again but his week we will get them back and can continue building our portfolios. We had an individual meeting with the professor on Wednesday and she looked over our composites and told us what she thought of them. She pointed out what she thought we liked to focus on. She told me that my 'still-lifes' are very good and it seems like those are the types of pictures that I enjoy taking. Isn't any picture a still life? I think that I enjoy taking pictures that are snapshots into everyday life. Some of the pictures that I printed included scenes of chess, an elderly couple walking and holding hands in the rain and a grafittied wall. Some of the other photographs would have been good if I had focused the camera. Next roll will go much smoother. Thursday I was able to talk to Gabe on Skype for his birthday for almost an hour and a half, that was a highlight to the week right behind photography. I spent the rest of the night preparing for my astronomy exam. I think that my first test went ok here, distances on the exam were in km where as in the book it had both miles and km. That part was a little difficult and also the section that was supposed to be on the sun mostly focused on waves and wavelengths. I was not really ready for that. Saturday we have a class trip to Robert Burns' birthplace and then to a castle along the coast of the ocean, should be fun!