Thursday, July 21, 2011

Edinburgh, Scotland

The day after school let out we took a trip to Edinburgh, Scotland. I guess I should stop here to mention a little about Cam's experience in teaching here in Belfast. In his words, " I came here for a different experience and that's what I got." He experienced many challenges with the structure of the education system at St. Louise's, the girl's attitudes about learning, and the curriculum. There were good experiences however in the midst of his trials as he developed relationships with the staff and teachers and learned much about the culture in Belfast. All in all he was glad to have this experience and was thankful for the opportunity to teach in a different environment but is looking forward to going back to Canby High.

The Fulbright Teachers Program had a end of the year debriefing weekend in Edinburgh and so we took the opportunity to do a little sight seeing. We took a ferry from Larne to Troon, Scotland and then drove the hour to Edinburgh. While Cam was in his meetings with Fulbright the kids and I explored the city.
We went to the Princes park beneath the Edinburgh Castle and explored the beauty on the first day. Then the kids and I walked to the National Museum of Scotland where we spent the rest of the day. We had a great time exploring in the museum and the museum had great activities for the kids to do to keep them well entertained.
This is the view from the Princes park beneath the Edinburgh Castle. In the evenings, when Cam was done we got to do more sight seeing. We walked the Royal Mile, toured the Scottish Parliament building, heard the Queen speaking from the Holyrood Palace where she resides when she is in town, and toured the Edinburgh Castle.
This is the front of Edinburgh Castle. A truly amazing castle, the best I have ever seen. We spent hours here.
A view from atop the castle overlooking the city of Edinburgh.
The Holyrood Palace.
We explored the Royal Botanic Gardens.

The Royal Botanic Gardens have one of the biggest glass houses exhibitions in the world. Amazing exotic plants and ponds.
Our friends from England, Kevin and Alison meet us in Edinburgh on Monday evening after Cam had finished his conference so we would have a chance to see them once more before we headed home. There is an old volcanic mound, called Arthur's Seat that overlooks Edinburgh that we climbed. Everyone made it, even Elise. The view was spectacular and sharing it with Kevin and Alison made it a perfect day.
From atop Arthur's Seat.
A stay in Edinburgh wouldn't be complete without our first taste of haggis. Haggis is the liver, heart, and lungs of a sheep boiled in a sheep's stomach. If you don't let your mind know what your body is eating it isn't too bad. It tasted a bit like meatloaf. We managed to finish it.

We took the ferry back to Belfast that Tuesday night and started the huge task of saying our final good-byes, packing, and finishing up our adventures in Northern Ireland.

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