Two Weekends Decidedly Spent Not Studying For Classes

Picture this: you’re hiking in the picturesque Scottish Highlands, enjoying nature, and breathing the fresh mountain air. You hear a bird song coming from the tree a little to your left.

Suddenly, it hits you. You have two assignments due Tuesday that you haven’t even thought about starting. And the best part? It’s all ok. Something like that may or may not have happened to me the weekend I was on the Isle of Skye.

Long story short, I spent two weekends in a row completely outside of Edinburgh and now I’m in a bit of a recovery mode.

This little ride of two weekends started in Dublin. I’d always wanted to go to Ireland, that is, if always was for the last year and a half. I took a modern Irish literature course last year and it gave me this wonderful desire to see the place that could create such beautiful incarnations of the written word.

Dubin, Ireland: A “Dirty Old Town”

It was a bit of a whirlwind to say the least. I got in at 9AM Saturday and left 9PM Sunday. Right away from getting in, we hit the ground running with a walk around Trinity College, and a nice traditional Irish lunch where they actually played some of the classic Irish music (like Dirty Old Town and the Wild Rover). I got something called a Dublin coddle, which was a bit of an odd sausage stew. Very sage-y and hearty, I’d definitely recommend it. The afternoon was a time for more exploring and more fun!

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The sunlight made a BIG difference in Dublin

Sunday, we started just as quickly, making it to an early tour of the Dublin Castle. Not much survives of the original castle (rumor has it that the prince committed arson/fraud to get a better accommodation). Regardless, it had a fascinating history spanning everything from the Vikings to Easter 1916. We then went to see the Book of Kells a gorgeous old book. But more than that, the entire exhibit was filled with fascinating books. Of particular interest was the Yellow Book of Lecan, which contains a lot of the stories that we’re currently discussing in my Celtic Literature course that I’m currently taking at Edinburgh. Then, all too soon, after another wonderful lunch, I was leaving Dublin back to another week of classes before… THE ISLE OF SKYE!

The Isle of Skye trip was with a group called Citylife Tours, and I went with a bunch of other students from my home institution, Caltech. We mostly spent a lot of time on a bus, but we got a bit of time to go out hiking and exploring the island.  First thing… we saw Nessie! Well, not exactly. We did go to Loch Ness and saw an interesting looking stick. But close enough? The biggest thing I realized was that Loch Ness is massive. It’s about a mile and a half wide and 23(!!) miles long.

We ended up stopping for the night barely on Skye although, we did get a stop at another beautiful castle on the way over the bridge as well. We got a nice dinner and slept until bright and early the next morning.

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The next day we bussed around the Isle of Skye, stopping at the Kilt Rocks, and the Old Man of Storr. That was the real highlight of the trip to me, we had about an hour and a half to hike up (about 600m high) so we more or less set off trail speed-walking. We reached a beautiful overlook, and, after a few-near death experience (ok not really, but my footwear wasn’t quite right for the hike), we were able to make it all the way to base of the rocks and lick them. Because geologists have to lick rocks, obviously. After that it was a long drive back (with a stop for some ice cream). Basically, nap time.

And yes, I got the assignments done. Everything turned out great, except my sleep schedule.

By Chandrew.