Thursday, August 16, 2012

Aug 11 - last day Petland Hills

that was no "hill." Definitely mountain climbing on the last day. Not a lot of sounds happening in the way of music on this day. A few odd things did happen to us on our adventure though. Every time the bus turned a corner it sounded like a bandsaw turned on in the back of the bus, and we got to witness the better part of an arrest while sitting at a red light. The climb up the Petland Hills was rough, but well worth it for the scenery, Arthur's Seat seemed to get smaller in the distance the more we climbed.

After Petland mountain climbing, Kerry, Alex, Katie and I hopped off the bus at Princess Street and hit the Walter Scott Monument. It has about 40 more steps than the Wallace monument and not nearly the walking space. If you thought it was cramped on the Wallace Monument, don't go up the Scott monument. The stairs narrowed so much at the top that we had to turn sideways to get our shoulders through the doorway. There is very little space to walk around at the top of the monument, but it is a great view of the city.

This is a view of the Princess Street gardens from the top of the tower.

After we all had dinner together, we thought we'd head back to the Halls, pack a little bit and try to catch the lights show up on Arthur's Seat. We weren't really sure if we actually saw the lights show. We saw something, but we were on the wrong side of the Craggs to really get a good look at anything. We were able to see the Edinburgh Castle from this side though, during a Tattoo performance for that night.

 Kerry snagged a few Canadian flags from the lobby of our residence hall. We both had a hard time coming down from Arthur's Seat that night,  but two years ago we never thought we'd be back again so knock on wood for a third alumni trip in a few more years.

It is not often in Scotland that you don't hear bagpipes playing somewhere off in the distance. We may be sensitized to it, being Edinboro students but it doesn't have the same feel hearing them on campus as when you hear them in Scotland. They sound like they are supposed to be there, innate. 

this video doesn't really belong in this post but I wanted to end with some bagpipes soo go with it.

Aug 10 - Glasgow

In the morning we visited the Kelvingrove Art Gallery, which is super cool. Most of my pictures are devoted to the floating heads exhibit, which is my favorite part of the gallery

Before we walked over to the Cathedral, some bands were practicing for the piping festival. I think this group was from Canada, I can't tell if they are waiving at me in the video orrrr telling me to get away. Either way, I captured a little bit of their practice

On the drive to and fro Glasgow, I caught some naptime and listened to a little Fun. on my iPod. The frontman used to be a member of a band I really enjoy called The Format, who described themselves as "desert pop." The sounds are very similar among the two bands, still poppy but not total crap. I enjoy them.

That evening, we went to the Three (Free) Sisters to catch a free comedy show. The show pretty good, but I got lost and seperated from everyone for about 20 minutes, so I bought another beer and walked around to people watch while hoping I'd bump into my friends in the chaos. The bar was playing a lot of Beyonce dance music including some "Single Ladies" and taking it back with "Bootylicious"

Aug 9 - ARRAN

Another day of frequent traveling to get to the destination. The ride to the ferry alone was just about 2 hours, I put on some more nap time music and listened to instrumental covers of popular songs by Maxence Cyrin (the video is on the creepy side, but the music is great an cover of "Where Is My Mind" by the Pixies). By the time I got through that album, we were only halfway to the ferry, so I put on some Birdie. She also has a few covers on her album, in particular her cover of James Taylor's Fire and Rain. By the time I got through the Birdie album, it was time to board the ferry. I don't remember much apart from the sound of the turbines on the ferry because as soon as we sat down, I was Out Cold. I know Katie was too because Kerry so kindly took a video of her snoring with her mouth hanging open, good friend. 

When we finally got to Arran, we went to the distillery for a minute so we could all purchase some Arran Gold. We were able to drive around the island for a little bit, and see some of the sights of the Highlands, and smack our heads off the roof of the bus on that tell tale bump

Katie in front of the distillery while we wait for everyone else to buy their booze of choice to smuggle back to the states!

While driving around the island, we stop at Lochranza castle ruins right on the water (well when it's high tide)

After Dr. Thompson sees that Jake scaled the wall to take some pictures, he gets up there himself to see the view

...but who's really going to kick us out for breaking the rules in an abandoned castle

the ferry was running late, so we all kind of just lounged anywhere we could find some room and took in the sun. When we were finally on the ferry and moving, some seagulls were flying in the draft from the ferry boat, they were a little hard to snap a picture of - they kept flying off every time we put a lens up like they knew what we were doing.

Aug 8 - Midnight at the Boars Head

Another open day on the trip. We returned to the Zoo Southside venue to see the Fine Chisel's second show they were putting on for the festival called Midnight at the Boars Head. This performance was spoken all in Shakespeare's words, not necessarily one singe work of Shakespeare, but a story and plot they put together themselves. It was a little hard to follow, but it was a lot of fun to watch, and even be a part of. Again, they come in high, break your heart again in the middle, and end on a high note (giving us poppers, silly string and balloons)...I fell victim to silly string in the face by a reviewer for the Fringe. The Fine Chisel as a group are a ton of fun to watch. Their performance sucks you in and the music just amplifies it. The group includes a fiddle player/tin flute/whistle player (plays both), acoustic guitar, mandolin player who also played what I can only describe as a wooden box drum, I haven't seen anything like it before, but it was a very good sound that was cohesive with their sound. The members are 3 guys and one girl who said they just threw these shows together for the Fringe. They have one more show they are putting on for the festival but it doesn't start until the 19th, so we are missing it. We kind of became their groupies this week, they recognized us from their first show we went to and we were able to chat with the box drum player after the show and get on the mailing list. They do not have any recordings yet, but we are hoping they put some out after the Festival. 

Aug 7 - Glencoe

Another looooong bus ride, getting up towards the highlands. I put on some Johhny Cash Live at Folsom Prison for this ride. I needed a change from some of the usual stuff I had been listening to. It was too monotonous, Johnny Cash never fails.

We walked up the lane to see the Massacre Monument for the 38 members of the MacDonald clan who were killed

We weren't in Glencoe very long, but long enough for Kerry to jump into the water and flop around a little bit

We walked back the road a little ways along the stream that cut through the back of the town. 

 It would have been cool to be able to stay longer and hike around some of the mountain trials in Glencoe, but we headed off to Oban to see some more sights.

 Oban is a gorgeous little port town we were able to wander around in for a few hours. We trekked up a street that had to be on a 90 degree incline to reach the "castle" at the top. There was a great view of the town and the water and ample grass for napping in the courtyard in the middle.

 Since it was so nice out that day, and we had about 2 hours to kill, the four of us parked it in the grass and actually got a little sunburnt at the top of that hill in the castle. 

Aug 6- Fine Chisel cont

street performance of the Fine Chisel on the Mile

Aug 6 - first encounter with Fine Chisel Theatre

This was our first open day on the trip. Alex, Kerry, Katie and myself trekked up the Royal Mile to the Camera Obscura, which I was really skeptical about, but turned out to be pretty cool and totally worth the 9 pounds we had to pay for it. Apparently there are only a few of these "Camera Obscura's" in the world, and one of them is at the top of this building in Edinburgh. It allows you to see all around the city, though some building owners caught on and built their windows too small for the camera to see into them. The image is reflected into a sort of big bowl in a small room on the roof and the guides show us (and the children in the room) how to pick up the people on the street with a notecard, shake them around, and put them back down on the street. They said we could try, but I refrained (reluctantly). 
View from the top of Camera Obscura. We were able to look through binoculars and see all around the city

There was a photobooth in C.O. that allowed you to morph your face with the person who was just in before you. Kerry and I tried it because people always ask us if we are sisters. It was eerie how little the picture changed and how it perfectly morphed our faces together. Too creepy.

We had to hop into the Ames room and see what it would feel like if I were bigger than Kerry for once.
It was weird. I've never been taller than anyone.

On our way back down the Mile, we stopped to do some souvenir shopping and discovered The Fine Chisel Theatre playing outside one of the shops. We stood for a good 20 minutes watching them perform and grabbed some flyers for their shows. They have an English/folky feel, very fun. We went to their performance later on that day and it was fantastic. We didn't realize that they were all in character when we first walked in, may have made fools of ourselves (just another day). The performance was sort of an acting musical. The story really sucked you in and I know at one point we were all feeling it pretty deeply. They lift you up, slam you down and then end on a high note. They were great fun, we even went back for another one of their shows a few nights later. After doing a little research and reading their blog, I think the first show is based on a real life experience of one of the members losing his father a few months before. Hard stuff, but they made a pretty poignant short performance out of it.