Corinne’s Scotland Journal

Adventures in Ulster!

Ulster is one of four provinces of Ireland, and it is often used when referring to Northern Ireland. I was in Belfast recently, and was informed of this by a kind cab driver who shared suggestions for adventures, restaurants, pubs and clubs, and walking tours of the city. A small group of friends from Lewis & Clark went together, just for a short four days. It was a really spectacular trip, and I will try to recall the best parts for you!          

Thursday was travel day, beginning with a train ride from downtown Glasgow to Stranraer. Stranraer is a small town on the shores of Loch Ryan, and is best know as one of the main ports between Scotland and Ulster. At Stranraer we transferred to a massive ferry for about a two hour trip across the Irish Sea to Belfast. After taking some wind blown pictures on the outer decks, we decided that trying to stand straight was beyond tricky, so we parked ourselves in big chairs at the front of the boat, and just faced forward! It was a pretty rocky ride, but the very pretty too! Thursday night was a relaxed evening because by the time we made it to our accommodations everyone was just ready to eat and have drinks. We were staying very close to Queen’s University Belfast so it was fun to talk with local students, and hear about what we ought to do and see!

On Friday morning Haley and I prepared a big breakfast for the five of us, and we decided to spend the rest of the day exploring downtown. The city center was having a big outdoor market for the holidays, with lots of booths representative of many countries. Lights lined the streets, and there was a tree up in the middle of the market. After plenty of walking around we found our way back home, and spent the night in with a few movies and some delicious Dutch fudge from the market!

Saturday was another big day of sightseeing, but instead of going to the city, we hired a cab tour of the Irish Political Murals that have been painted on buildings throughout Northern Ireland. These murals depict past and present divisions between both religious and political parties. From 1970 over two thousand murals have been recorded. It was helpful to have an informative driver, who let us explore different neighborhoods and was delighted to answer any questions we had for him. By now we were ready for a big meal downtown and enjoyed some lively discussions from the morning. Saturday night brought plenty of shenanigans in the city, ending, naturally, with fresh fish and chips!

We left our cozy rooms mid-morning on Sunday and made our way back to the Belfast-Stranraer ferry, a bus, train, taxi, and home again to Glasgow! I am now back to routine, with a full day of classes yesterday, and a nice dinner with my flat mates. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, so I hope you find yourself with some family and good friends for a little break and a tasty meal!     

best,

Corinne

26 November 2008

A weekend away

I am headed to Melrose for the weekend! Melrose is a small historic town, in the Scottish Borders. As part of our Scottish Culture class, we are presenting final research projects, and visiting historical sites in the town, including the home of novelist Sir Walter Scott!           

It has been a busy week here in Glasgow, so I am excited to relax a little after the presentations and spend time outside the library.

On Wednesday night this week I was walking home, and I think I felt a few snowflakes! It has been very cold lately, and there is probably as much rain here as in Portland. I really hope we do get snow though; it would look so amazing and magical against all the old, elaborate buildings.

Because there is not all the Thanksgiving bustle here, Christmas has proudly made its way into the shops and in the city centre. It is fun to sort of compare how holidays are treated in a new place.  

take care,

Corinne

14 November 2008

Greetings from Glasgow!

Nine weeks have passed since I arrived in Scotland at the end of August. It is surprising to think that this means I am roughly at the halfway point of my adventure! So far my experiences here have been just wonderful. I will try to write a summary of what has happened until the beginning of November, and then attempt to post stories at least weekly!

I started my semester abroad with a brief trip to Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital city. In September I moved into my flat just near the University of Glasgow. By this time most of the Lewis & Clark students on my program had arrived as well. We then traveled together to the Highlands of Scotland for a delightful week before classes began. We were able to stay with a lovely family in the town of Glenelg, also called the ‘gateway to Skye’.

There are parts of the West End of Glasgow that remind me a lot of Portland, and some areas that feel even more urban. I am staying very close to the river Clyde, which runs through the city, and has really nice walking paths along both sides. The Clyde was once a significant source for trade and shipbuilding in the British Empire, but now it is mainly known for its modern draws, such as the Glasgow Science Centre and the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre. The BBC Scotland is also right on the river. At night there are lights on each bridge, all different colors, that reflect over the water. It makes for a really fun little study break walk, less than five minutes from my door!

This week I have been trying to spend more time on classes, but of course there are always good distractions in the city. I have Celtic tickets for this Saturday, which will be my first official ‘football’ match! Though, at this point in the semester, essay writing is a must, so Sunday will have to be a little more serious I suppose. But, I do enjoy the University library, all twelve floors! From the top, the views of the city are incredible! Kelvingrove Park is another one of my favorite quite spots nearby, and hopefully I can post pictures of a few of these highlights for you soon.

all the best,

Corinne

7 November 2008