Dumyat // Highland Dancing // St Andrews

I've been experiencing a lot of fun things the past 2 weeks in Scotland. Last Monday, I did the Dumyat hike -- a tradition that the University of Stirling students do before they graduate. A lot of other international summer school students did the hike as well. One of the interns led the way up. It's funny, the Scottish people call Dumyat a hill; however, we were all saying it was a mountain. I am sooo used to the completely flat land in Wilmington, that I thought this hike would be the death of me. I've done some tough hiking in the past but this one was just killer! The steep path we took literally went straight up the mountain and took two hours. My legs hated me once I reached the top, but the panoramic view was entirely worth it. The green mountains were lovely and it was strange not seeing trees covering the mountains -- which I'm used to back at home. A big metal basket is on the peak and people put a rock inside once they reach the top. I put a rock in the basket and kept one to take home as a little reminder/souvenir. 


Wednesday evening was fun because the ISS program put on a night of highland dancing. This really talented guy named David Vivanco -- he mentioned his YouTube page to us numerous times -- taught us all a couple of different, traditional Ceilidh dances. A ceilidh (pronounced kay-lee) is a traditional Gaelic social gathering in Scotland with lots of folk music and dancing. We are having one next week as a last farewell to studying abroad here. (I can't believe I've already been here for almost 3 weeks!). The dances we learned were a little complicated and involved so much spinning and coordination. I was always left disoriented once the music stopped. They were a lot of fun though and everyone was laughing the entire time because we kept messing up. I really enjoyed the Circassian Circle dance and the Strip the Willow dance. The Australian Bush Dance was my least favorite because it was really slow. I bought the guy's CD for 5 pounds at the end of the night, mainly for the memory behind it. He also showed us how the bagpipes work and played the Star Wars theme on them.

Thursday was an AMAZING day spent at easily the loveliest city I have ever been to: St Andrews. It was a quiet, smaller city compared to the others in Scotland and didn't feel touristy at all (which I loved). St Andrews was where golf was invented so I got to see the oldest golf course in the world. The university at St Andrews is also where Prince William and Kate Middleton met so it was pretty neat walking around the campus. I kept looking around for a prince but didn't have any luck. We also got to see the Northpoint Cafe, where William and Kate had their first date!

My friends and I explored the St Andrews castle ruins which were simple yet intricate. It was the first castle I've been to that felt genuinely authentic, and not like a museum. I absolutely loved it. I went down into the mines underneath the ruins which was a tight squeeze. It was so interesting learning about the backstory of this once-standing castle. In 1546, some men disguised themselves as masons and went through the mine tunnels to secretly enter the castle. They then murdered Cardinal Beaton and hung his body out the window for the public to see. It was eerie knowing I was in the same exact tunnels that the murderers were in.

We then made our way to the St Andrews cathedral and cemetery. If I lived in that gorgeous city I would definitely go to that large, quiet place all the time. We went into the cathedral tower and up a winding spiral staircase that seemed never ending. At the top we were met with a beautiful view of the entire city and beach.

For lunch, my large group somehow got split up so it ended up just being me and my friend Jessica for the remainder of the day. It was actually really perfect though because we could take our time doing whatever we wanted and got to know each other a lot better. We ate lunch at this yummy Portuguese restaurant called Nando's. I hadn't eaten meat in two weeks because I was living off peanut butter sandwiches and pasta to save money -- so their chicken tasted heavenly. We then got fudge donuts at Fisher & Donaldson's bakery and holy butts was that donut GOOD. Jessica and I walked to the beach and ate our donuts by the ocean, then talked about our home lives and faith for over an hour. It has been wonderful having a good friend here who loves God. Most of the people on this trip are more concerned with going out every night to the pubs and clubs, hooking up with local Scottish men, and coming back drunk at 3 am. Hey, you do whatever you wanna do, but those are not my priorities or why I came to Scotland. So it has been such a blessing having some Christian friends who have a similar lifestyle. I don't feel as alone in my faith as I did the first week here.


We ended the day at the St Andrews Botanic Gardens, where I was in cactus paradise in the 'desert room' glasshouse. They had a huge variety of different kinds of plants and flowers in the botanic gardens. It was suuuuuch an easy-going, enjoyable day spent at an amazing city. St Andrews has stolen my heart.

I have a big essay due for my Psychology of Art class on Monday (yes I am finding time to go to class and study, Dad). So I will be busy this week finishing that up before my weekend trip to the Scottish highlands!! SO EXCITED. I'll try to post about my hectic 2 days in England tomorrow if I find the time.


Posted in , . Bookmark the permalink. RSS feed for this post.

Leave a Reply

Thank you, I appreciate your comment!

Powered by Blogger.


Swedish Greys - a WordPress theme from Nordic Themepark. Converted by LiteThemes.com.