Saturday, June 9, 2012

June 9: Back to the Mainland

Hello all,

It's been a long day. We were awakened in the wee hours of the morning. 5:00 in the a.m. to be exact. We then proceeded to eat a continental breakfast of cereal ad toast. After that we boarded a long ferry, which took us back to the mainland. It was a wee bit bumpy. After we arrived Edward, Patrick, and Stephen busted out the fishing pole that they bought earlier in the trip, however casting the line right next to the ferry proved ineffective. We then took the coach all the way to Loch Ness and Urquehart  to try and see the monster. Needless to say, we saw it... In the gift shop. We also learned that the Scots blew up Urquehart in defense from the Government, so that neither side would have the strong-hold. All we got to see was a pile of rubble that used to be the castle. We did not have time to tour as the ferry left almost right after we arrived. It was interesting to learn how much history there is in Loch Ness other than its famous monster.

Then, we  stopped in Inverness, which was full of kilt-shops and other stores, where we received free chocolate, and our waitress busted her knee cap in the most awkward way possible. The bustling streets were full of all sorts of people. People of every race, and every different talent. We saw a group of highland dancers of all ages dancing in uniform to bag-pipe music. We saw many other street artists as well, like a girl playing the violin and a one man band playing up to four instruments at a time. He was strumming a guitar with his hands, playing a full drum-set with both of his feet, while switching off between singing and playing the harmonica. It was cool for me seeing all different kinds of music, because music plays a large part of my life, and it was inspiring to see a man with so many talents.

We then boarded the bus and went to a battle field called Culloden, where the Scottish skirmished the English in an unsuccessful attempt to keep clan power. It was amazing how much of a focal point the clans played in the history and government of Scotland. We saw the types of weapons that were used in the battle, and we even watched a reinactment movie of the battle. I'm not sure how blown out of proportion it was, but nonetheless it was very eye-opening to see the amount of destruction that humans can cause when fighting over something they believe in.

We then went to the hotel, where the first thing we saw was a putt-putt course. Have you ever tried to play putt-putt with an iron? It proved difficult, but someone still hit a hole in one. We met an entertaining elderly man who was the manager. he quizzed us on Scottish history, and proceeded to tell us that we wouldn't get dinner if we didn't know the answer to when St. Columba went to Iona. Thanks to the internet and our mobile devices we learned that the answer was 563, allowing us to get dinner. He then proceeded to tell us that we were "gonna make it". I feel we connected, and he will probably be the recipient of my next gift.  Then we ate a three course dinner at the hotel, and now we find ourselves blogging to all of you. The whole group seemed to grow closer as we experienced all of this. This seemed to be more of your stereotypical touristic day in Scotland, as we did not visit any churches or religious grounds today. But don't worry, tomorrow is Sunday, and we all know what that means. It's been a blast so far, as Scotland is so beautiful and cool. Well that's it, we're signing off for now.

Stephen Borrelli, and Patrick Hayes

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