While I'm on revision break, I thought I'd let you know how my wee trip went.
I travelled with three of my friends around part of Scotland and we went to Stonehaven, Aberdeen and Inverness. We had sorted ourselves an itinerary, and had originally planned to visit approximately 6-7 castles. Well, Jane left the itinerary in her room and our adventures began from there!
We got to Stonehaven station properly, and then from there we had to walk to Dunnottar Castle which was on the coast about two miles away from the town. When we were almost at the end of our hike, it started to rain. Rain while walking on a windy cliff is not a good thing and its even worse when the rain is cold and feels like it's slapping you. That only lasted a few minutes, thankfully. The castle ruins were nice and it was sunny while we walked around in there. We spent three hours there instead of our scheduled two (and that's not including the time it took to walk there). We had lunch at a cute little restaurant by the beach and then set off for Aberdeen.
Inverness, I have to say, is the most beautiful city I've seen so far. Maybe it's just because the weather was so good while we were there, but the scenery was breathtaking! One day, when I have enough money, I think I want to get myself a summer home in Inverness. We had our "lunch" on the castle grounds at half five. We sat on a bench overlooking the Rive Ness and shared our meal with a seagull. We named him "Alfredo". The Inverness castle is currently used as a courthouse and for some other government purposes, so we didn't get to see the inside. But the outside is lovely.
We spent the rest of the evening walking along the banks of the River and enjoyed the beauty of nature all around us. We ended the evening in a pub in town where there was live folk music playing.
The next day we set off for Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle on a tour bus and cruise. We got a 30 min cruise down the Loch and got off at Urquhart Castle. We walked around those ruins a while, saw a short film about its history at the visitor centre and went back to Inverness by the bus. It was beautiful. Loch Ness was so amazing, the scenery, the air, the freshness, all lovely. It made me really happy.
We had lunch at an all you can eat Chinese buffet restaurant where we stuffed ourselves and spent the rest of the afternoon in the Inverness castle museum and later sunning ourselves on the grassy slopes below the Castle itself.
Then it was time to pack up and take the train back. The trip was a great experience and I'm glad I did it. It was teh first time I'd ever been in hostels and the also the Scottish countryside is so pretty, especially in the spring. Plus the fact that the sun doesn’t set till ten is a huge bonus. So much more time to explore!
My Easter Break has been going well so far. I had a 4 day retreat in the North of Scotland. It was held at this Benedictine Monks' Abbey in Pluscarden and was organised by the St Andrews Catholic Society. The place is lovely with a serene and prayerful atmosphere.
The boys got to stay in the abbey and eat with the monks. Us girls had rooms in a place about a five minute walk away from the abbey, and we got to cook our own meals. There were tons of pheasants all over the place and a few of us were eager to catch and eat them ;). Daffodils were springing up all over the fields and the sides of the roads, making everything look quite pretty.
The retreat was very helpful. I knew that I had been missing something crucial for a while and as I had suspected it turned out that I was missing God. The retreat helped me reconnect with Him and helped me to figure out what was important in my life. We went to prayers when the monks had them. We didn't have to go to each and every one during the day, but we went to most, especially to Mass and Compline. On the last day, I made it a point to get up at half four in the morning to go to Vigils and Lauds which starts at a quarter to 5 and goes on till a quarter past 6. I got a bit fidgety in the middle, but I don't regret going. Prayer is always good. :)
After that, I spent a few days in Aberdeen. The weather was quite lovely the whole time I was there and Aberdeen is a nice place as well. The beach is pretty and I saw the ships in the harbour which looked quite impressive.
I had a long train journey back to London from Aberdeen on which a woman who sat next to me reprimanded me for being anti-social with my laptop. I tried to explain that I really only had my laptop open to keep me from getting bored and people in today's world generally don't speak to each other on trains and planes. But she got me and the guy sitting across to shut out laptops and engage in conversation. The guy turned out to be a young physics professor. Interesting. I'd like to know what your opinion is on the issue. Should people talk to each other more on public transport? Is technology making us more antisocial? Let me know in the comments.