I apologize for the 12-day absence of posts, but my workload decided to repeatedly murder my free time. After some not very careful counting, I think that it has been 5 days since I had at least 6 hours of sleep. 2 things: first I found out why I cannot upload the kite festival videos, and I cannot fix that, so do not expect those anytime soon. Second, Blogspot has revamped some things and one of the side effects is that I cannot seem to spatially organize the pictures, so they will be like a giant stack. Thanks, Blogspot. Anyway, this post is about my weekend in Scotland.
I did not get to sleep until very late Wednesday night, so getting up at 5 AM on Thursday morning to catch the early train kind of sucked (the train ride was 4 hours by the way). I sat down on the train and Professor McGinnis, our primary senior design adviser, came to talk to us about an upcoming proposal we had to do (we were not in any kind of trouble; he visited every group on the train). However, somehow between my sitting down and his coming over to talk to us, 45 minutes had passed (so you can scratch out that "immediately" if you so desire). I am going to wager that it was due to me sleeping and not a ripple effect from a time-space rift in another universe, but I'll let you decide which you want to believe. Anyway, I was nodding off for the next 90 minutes when I saw the beautiful landscape in one of my awake moments, and that woke me up. The was not much of the highlands on this train, but there were rolling hills... with sheep and endless fields... with sheep, and even lots of farmland... with sheep. Ironically, despite the sheep population, I got very few pictures of them. Here is the scenery from the train window.
|We did not dress her up out of disrespect; she was just so scary looking that we needed to cover her up.|
|90 feet of hydropower.|
|Close up of said 90 feet of hydropower.|
|In case you did not guess, I put all the beans to the side, where they remained abandoned for the rest of time.|
The ride had one redeeming feature; it let you off at the roof garden where you got some great views.
We got back on the bus (which I slept on) and headed for the Falkirk Wheel, passing more lovely scenery. In case you cannot tell, I have a thing for scenery.
|Ah, looks just like New Jersey.|
In the morning, we had a 3.5-hour tour of Edinburgh. You read that right. Unfortunately, instead of being 3.5 hours wiser about Edinburgh, the information overload caused an information implosion, so I recall precisely nothing about that tour. However, I do have pictures of... uh... Edinburgh.
|Another puppy statue!|
I already felt kind of bad because of the fast, but the I find out we are touring Edinburgh Castle, which is two miles away up a step incline. Anyway, I actually did surprising well on the way up to the castle. Though I had already seen a castle (at Castle Park, Bristol) this was much more how I envisioned a castle. It was immense, labyrinthian, and fortified. There was a brief (30 minute) tour of the castle, in which we learned of its history and use, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I was not surprised to learn it served as a defensive fort over the years, as it is ideally positioned at the top of the rock face. I give you Edinburgh Castle.
The rest of the weekend was ours to do whatever we wanted, so Steve and I headed to Pleasure Beach, Blackpool, which is an amusement park. However, when we arrived in Blackpool, the weather was... uh... bad. It was about 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit), which is not so bad... except that the wind was a constant 30 mph and it was raining moderately hard. Oh well. We braved the elements and went into the park, though with the rain, I got very few pictures. The first ride we went on was Grand National, a 75-year-old wooden roller coaster that honestly took both of us by surprise. It was really good. In fact, it would wind up being our favorite ride in Blackpool. Next was a 52-year-old wooden wild mouse coaster very tactically named Wild Mouse, which was also very enjoyable. By this point we were both soaked, but I had thermals on so it was okay. Steve, however, suffered. We then hit the grandfather of the park, Big Dipper. Big Dipper is 87 f*ing years old, and yes, it was also a great ride.
|Marketing The Big One|
About now, the time had come to break the fast, so I went to a hot dog stand. I asked for a foot long and they said they were out, so I grudgingly got a regular one. It was a foot long. I don't know how long they think feet are over here but I am not sure I want to. Anyway, the next ride was another marketing ploy: Irn Bru Revolution. This was a launched coaster that dropped, looped, went up and came back backward. If you read my Thorpe post, you would know that backwards makes me sick. However, this was short enough that it was okay. I took a break after this while Steve did a second Steeplechase run. Then we went on the bobsled coaster, Avalanche. I couldn't help but yell, "Cool Runnings!" every 5 seconds. As my ultimate ride for the day, we went on some flying swings that were themed to missiles or planes or something like that. BIG MISTAKE. The very thin raindrops were like needles to the face for 2 and a half minutes. After that I was done. Steve, the trooper he is, went for one last ride on Grand National before we called it a day.
We walked along the coast looking for dinner/dessert. We would find both. We went into a small cafe for dinner, but for dessert, we found fudge and rock.
|Rock in jar form.|
The next morning was unremarkable except for the fact that it was STILL RAINING. WHAT THE F*! ITS BEEN RAINING FOR 30 HOURS STRAIGHT! Yep, exact same weather as yesterday, maybe even a little colder. We spent the morning riding the same rides we did yesterday (Steve defeated my mass on our second Steeplechase encounter). Then we went on a ride we didn't yesterday: Alice in Wonderland (based on Disney movie), a dark ride. We had the fortune of landing a car with only three empty seats. The fourth seat was occupied by a permanent decoration of the white rabbit (human sized). Cool. I want to sit next to the rabbit. It was only after my restraint was in that I realized no, I do not want to sit next to the rabbit. The rabbit was looking right at me, and looking at me very (for lack of a better word) rapist-like. This was all exacerbated by the fact that he wasn't wearing any pants. The ride was pure fluorescence and trippy stuff all around, as it should be. The only problem beside the fact that there was a sexual predator in our car (of a species known for baby-making) is that the ride was done to the music of "I have a Golden Ticket". Wrong movie. After the ride, we went to Grand National for one last hurrah (which it provided), and headed home. We had finally been defeated by the weather. We headed home and prepared for class tomorrow.