So this past weekend about 12 of us went on a weekend trip with the International Society into the highlands. We left bright and early Saturday morning and took the 3 hour bus ride to the town of Oban. Oban is an adorable little seaside town, with great views, and it was a beautiful sunny day. The only disappointment was that apparently most places in the highlands take January as a holiday, so the museums, chocolate factory and brewery we were supposed to tour were closed. But we made the most of it and explored the city, took lots of pictures and hiked up to a huge monument on top of the city. I even brought my new black and white film camera that I have for my photography class, and started trying out the setting for the 36 pictures I have due on Friday. Here are some pictures from our time in Oban!
The city of Oban
Ian, Betsey, Nicole and Christine by the water
an adorable little house in the city
The monument we climbed up to
So after our long bus ride and a few hours exploring the city, all 150 or so of us returned to the hostel we were staying in for a dinner our leaders were preparing for us. It was pasta with chili, which was delicious, and then we chatted with the hostel owner for a bit and asked for a pub in the area to meets some locals. He ended up coming to the pub with us, and played darts and chatted with us about Scotland and the highlands for a few hours, which was a really great way to hear about the country! Then we returned to the hostel and went to bed, because we had to be up early for breakfast and our next adventure.
The next morning we woke up at 8 am to get down for the fresh baked scones the hostel had prepared for us. Then by 9 we headed back to the bus, loaded up our bags, and walked to the ferry to go to the Isle of Mull, a 45 minute boat ride away and where some of the Harry Potter films were made! We stayed on top of the ferry even though it was cold to take advantage of the lovely views, and were in the city by 11. Again, sadly the Island was a bit abandoned since it was January, but it was another sunday day so we found a nature trail and started hiking. Then 7 of us decided to find a place for lunch, so we went to the only pub open on the entire island. The owner was kind of overwhelmed by the unexpected amount of visitors, but the food was delicious, although everything, including my veggie burger, was deep fat fried, which seems to be a trend here in Scotland. After lunch we headed out again, this time walking in the direction of the castle. We found a smaller castle which was privately owned, and got to explore the pastures and look at the horses and other animals. I got some more great black and white photos here, and hopefully they will turn out well when I learn to process and develop them in the upcoming weeks! After making it to a view of the real castle, we returned to the ferry, exhausted from our miles of walking, and then took the bus home and were safe in our apartments by 10, just in time to get ready for bed and well rested for our week. Here are some pictures from the Isle of Mull.
Anyway, I have to cut this blog post short, because I am about to meet people to go to a traditional Burn's dinner. We will get to try haggis, hear bagpipes and some traditional scottish dancing, as well as hear some of Robert Burns poetry read. So Happy Burn's Night to you all, and I will tell you all how haggis is soon!