Sunday, May 14, 2006

Scotland, you really should visit

slightly long update but it covers most of a very very interesting week while leaving some stuff out!
update assez long mais ca couvre les evenements improtants, et les textes sont un peu differents dans les deux langues alors ca vaut la peine de lire les deux!

Ceilidh at the castle

Last Saturday, I headed off by bus to St.Andrews, the town by the sea where Prince William went to university. That wasn't of very much interest, the guy graduated in 2005. What was though was the fact that in the ruins of the St.Andrews castle there would be a ceilidh. Now what is a ceilidh you may ask? I had no idea myself until it all started. It's a dance where you dance Scottish folk dances. If you have no idea how to dance, they explain all the steps and then you have a try at it. It was all great fun! And I even danced with a guy in a kilt! And the setting was beautiful. The ruins are next to the bay of St.Andrews which is just part of the North Sea. So you feel the breeze from the sea and hear the waves crash onto the shore while you are twirling around to Scottish music.

Samedi passe, je suis allee a St.Andrews. C'est une petite ville sur le bord de la mer ou il y a des ruines d'une tres vieille cathedrale et d'un chateau. Dans le chateau, il y a eu un 'ceilidh', une danse ou l'on danse des danses folkloriques ecossaises. Il y a meme eu une danse traditionnelle canadienne! Le chateau est sur le bord de la mer alors la vue etait magnifique! Et j'ai meme danse avec un gars en kilt! En revenant a Glasgow,


After St. Andrews, I hung out in Glasgow a bit more. Then we drove up to Kintyre which is in the West side of Scotland. On the way we drove through the edge of the Highlands. Even though they are just mountains with sheep on them, they are spectacular. And the sheep seem to add something. It's probably b/c in Canada, you don't see many sheep in the fields, there are mostly cows and some random horses, and there certainly aren't any on the side of the road! We stayed for one night and the next day walked up through a sheep pasture. I think I got about 20 photos of the sheep and the lambs. Some day once I figure out how to post photos, the best ones will be up. To get back to Glasgow, we took 2 ferries and drove part way on a one lane road with passing stops. It doesn't sound like much but it involves a lot of stop and go and cars and trucks appearing in front of you all of a sudden!


Edinburgh was the next stop. I arrived on Thursday and wandered a round a bit and saw a museum. A nice thing about Scotland is that a lot of the museums are free! I got a room in a hostel and then phoned up the son of the upstairs neighbours of the ppl I'm staying with in Glasgow. He had said that if I showed up that he would show me the town. So I finally had 2 pints of Tennets beer, a Glaswegian beer, in a Scottish pub in Edinburgh. Since the owners of a cafe that the guy knew were celebrating the 1 yr anniversary of the opening, there were a lot of ppl in the pub, so a lot of ppl to talk to. We eventually headed to another pub a block away and had some chips (aka fries) before going in. Apparently if someone in Edinburgh offers you sauce with your chips, you have to accept! And the sauce is really good! Had there been any cheese curds, it would have been Scottish poutine! The stereotype about Scots drinking a lot was upheld to a certain extent, people much smaller in stature than me drank several pints and were still very coherent! Luckily, the hostel I was at was only a half block from the bar so I didn't have far to go to get a little bit of sleep. The next morning involved visiting the Edinburgh castle (highly recommended) and waiting for the 1 o'clock firing, where a canon is fired to indicate the time. Even if you are expecting it, the sound is very loud and a lot a smoke is created. The Scottish parliament has very interesting architecture. There doesn't seem to be a single straight wall in the building. I wandered a bit more before catching the train back to Glasgow for a good night sleep.

Jeudi, je suis allee faire un tour a Edinburgh. En sortant du train, pres d'un parc, il y avait un gars qui jouait de la cornemuse. Il portait un kilt et un peu plus tard un autre gars en kilt est venu le remplacer. La musique etait tres bonne. J'ai visite un musee avec beaucoup de toiles et quelques sculptures. Apres avoir trouver un lit dans une auberge, j'ai appelle le fils des voisins d'en haut de la famille avec qui je reste a Glasgow. On est alle a un pub pour celebrer le premier anniversaire de l'ouverture d'un cafe dont le gars connait les proprietaires. J'ai finallement bu deux pintes de biere, une biere fabrique a Glasgow, dans un pub ecossais a Edinburgh! La soiree etait le fun, on est alle a un autre bar plus tard dans la soiree. Chauqe bar etait a un demi block de l'auberge alors j'ai pas eu tres loin a aller pour dormir quelques heures. Le lendemain, j'ai visite le chateau de Edinburgh, tres interessant. L'apres-midi j'ai fait un tour au parlement d'Ecosse. C'etait tres interessant car l'architecture est tres tres moderne, aucun mur exterieur n'est droit!

So the time spent in Scotland has been really interesting and fun. I think I've done most of the things one would expect to on a visit to Europe and Scotland. Castles and their ruins, cathedrals and their ruins, museums with art from the middle ages all the way up to modern art, more scientific ones, roman artefacts, a night on the town, drinking at a Scottish pub and eating chips, seeing the highlands and the sheep, going to a fresh water loch, having problems understanding ppl's accents and them not understanding you (good thing it goes both ways!) and a ceiligh . And the transportation has been incredibly varied: plane, train, car, bus, double decked bus (both the tourist type and the ones use for real transportation), ferry, foot, subway and bike (yesterday we biked up to Loch Lomond and took the train back, all of 26 miles on the bike and the guy I was with is 62, and much faster than I was!). Next stop is Whitehaven and then it's a day's worth of train and a day's worth of ferry to get to Guernsey where I hope to update again.

Alors je quitte l'Ecosse demain pour le nord de l'Angleterre avant une journee en train et un autre en bateau pour me rendre a Guernsey. Le temps que j'ai passe ici a vraiment ete rempli. Les choses que j'ai vues et faites inclus tout ce qu'on peut faire quand on visite l'Europe. Et les moyens de transport etaient extrement varies: air, terre et mer, et sousterrain incluant un tour de velo de 26 milles. Ca fini par faire mal au derriere! Alors je vais refaire mes bagages ce soir et c'est un autre depart demain.


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