Thursday, April 30, 2009

My Spring Break!

OK. I know I'm awful at this, but I promise that for my last month here, I will be better. SO much has happened since my last update that I think it would be best for me to just post some fun videos and keeping the writing to a minimum. More fun for you to watch, plus I'm just lazy....



So it seems I should start off with my parents' 2 week visit over here. We did a grande tour de UK, and hit Edinburgh, Oban, Skye, Glasgow, York and the Lake District. It was absolutely wonderful and I think we all enjoyed ourselves a great deal.

Here is a pretty good video from Oban:

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And at nighttime:


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The Scottish man we are talking to in that video is a drunken Donald Langston MacCauley. He started chatting to my mom while she was taking pictures, and, well....never went away. Eventually we tried to walk away from him to find someplace to eat dinner, and he followed us! He just kept talking and talking and talking. He was very nice and all, but pull yourself together man. Finally we parted ways, and we were free to find some food!

After 2 nights at a bed and breakfast in Oban, we set off to Skye. The drive was fantastically gorgeous. I took a bunch of video, but this one is nice and short and gives you a pretty good idea of what we saw the whole drive up:


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No idea where that video was actually taken, but that's okay! We finally made it to the Isle of Skye, and although the weather wasn't ideal, it was still pretty good considering the Highlands are famous for rain. The landscape was way different that the mountains and lochs we drove by on the way up...instead, it looked really desolate but still beautiful in its own way. I took one video there, it's not the best but it's still worth watching.

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While in Skye, we stayed in the "main town" of Portree, though it was fairly unpopulated. They had cool hippie shops and some tasty restaurants (where I had the best lasagne of MY LIFE). It was a very cute little port town, and we stayed in a bed and breakfast right outside the town center. The best part about the place we stayed in was the people we met during breakfast our last morning there. We met silly old Scot named...ummmm....something old sounding. I forget. But he was adorable! Plus there was a couple from the Netherlands with a newborn baby. CUTE.

After Skye, we trekked back to Edinburgh in one day. It was about an 8 hour drive, but the scenery was so gorgeous that the ride wasn't painful at all. That night, we ate at a pub along the Royal Mile and met this really nice (but super obnoxious) American couple. Sadly, my dad had to fly home the following morning, but this began my and my mom's England adventure!

We spent 2 more nights in Edinburgh so I could show her around some more, and then spent a night in Glasgow. We walked around, did some shopping, and saw a funny British film called "The Boat that Rocked." After our one night in Glasgow, we ventured off to York, England! Here is a video of us crossing the border...forgive my stupid commentary, but clearly I am slightly biased in favor of Scotland...


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We finally got to York after another long drive. York was pretty cool, and had some really neat architecture (including the largest gothic cathedral in Europe or something) but for some reason, it wasn't my favorite. It had everything: museums, history, pubs, shops, cute streets and more, but for some reason I wasn't in love. It did have a super cool craft market type thing which was a lot of fun, though. The funniest part about England by far is the eating manners of English people. It's insane! They cut everything so perfectly and they all look like they've just graduated finishing school or something. Plus they all seemed so stuffy! My mom and I were constantly looking a fool compared to all the other natives eating in the restaurants. It was hilarious. Here is a quick video of York, I didn't capture anything too great, but I suppose something is better than nothing.

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After York was one of the real highlights of the trip: The Lake District! We chose to stay in Ambleside, which was unbelievably gorgeous. We checked in to our lovely hotel which was right on the lake and then headed off for a walk. We stumbled along this little stonewall-ed off area were sheep were frolicking by the lake, so we hopped over the fence and tried to make friends. We noticed this one sheep making funny faces at us, so we stood and watched it for a while. Then it lied down and made all kinds of crazy motions. 5 minutes later, a tiny lamb baby popped out. We accidentally saw a sheep give birth! It was pretty gross actually, and I won't get into the details, so just trust me. Ick. But the baby was cute! And I got to chase around the other not-with-child sheep around the grass which was fun! I felt a lot like Spyro (anyone ever play that video game when they were little???) Later on, when we were walking back from dinner, we somehow managed to stop and talk to an old English couple. They were so nice, and told us how much they love visiting America and how lovely our country was. And, of course, they asked us how we liked Obama and went on and on about how much they loved him. How sweet!

Here are two videos: One is of the English countryside seen during our drive to Ambleside, and the other was taken near the banks of a lake in Ambleside. Both are quite gorgeous!

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The drive back to Edinburgh from the Lake District was quite eventful, to say the least. Our GPS had no issue with telling us to take crazy narrow backroads, so my poor mom had to deal with 1) driving on the wrong side of the road 2) narrow roads 3) rain! It was a great adventure though, and the scenery was so marvelous. Of course I had to document it with video, so hopefully you enjoy it! Sadly, my camera can't possibly do it justice, so you'll just have to go see it there for yourself. (Only, of course, if you make Scotland your primary destination first!)

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All in all, the trip was a complete and total success. Everything was spectacular, it was great to see my dear parents and show them around my home, and it was great to see some parts of Scotland that I probably wouldn't have been able to get to otherwise! I highly, highly, highly suggest that you all find some time in your lives to visit Scotland, it is such a beautiful and welcoming land that it is impossible to not fall in love. England, especially the Lake District, was very nice too, but as you all know by now I am extremely partial. Vive le Scotland!

Also, tonight I went to the Beltane Fire Festival which was INSANE in the best possible way. Considering it's 5 am here, it will have to wait for tomorrow, but check back again because I took some cool (and creepy) videos/photo for you to enjoy! It certainly was an experience...

P.S. A special thanks to my parents for making this trip possible, and for making it as wonderful as it was! :)