All The Way to 1124- A Hermit and an Abbey

Last Wednesday, my Scottish Architecture Before 1650 class went on a trip to Inchcolm Abbey.  Check out this awesome 12th Century ruin!

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Inchcolm Abbey- Built in 1125 as tribute to David 1’s brother Alexander.

Yes, I get to go visit ancient abbeys and castles for class credit 🙂  I love Scotland!

Last Wednesday I hopped on a train at Waverly Station headed for Dalmeny.  The train stopped just before the famous Firth of Forth (or as my mom and I jokingly say, the Forth of Firth… I still can’t get it right).

Forth of Firth

 

From the train station it was a short walk through the trees to the waterfront.  Inchcolm Abbey is located on Inchcolm Island in the Firth of Forth.  The ferry dock is right at the base of the bridge, you can just see a blue smudge of a ferry in the middle image above.  My teacher arrived with his two adorable dogs, who accompanied us all day!

Let's Get Married on a Boat!

Good to know if you have the urge to get married on a boat!

The ride was COLD (Yes this Alaskan can admit being COLD) and we got splashed a few times on the hour long ride to Inchcolm Island.  Besides the wind, this place was amazing!

Inchcolm Details

We wandered through the abbey, up tiny spiral staircases and up the tower.  Oh, correction… The rest of the class went up.  After the first tiny claustrophobic spiral staircase, and in the memory of the never-ending staircase at St. Andrews, I opted to skip the tower this time.  I think I can sleep soundly without being haunted by that decision 🙂

Hermit's Cell

The last place we visited at Inchcolm before we left was the Hermit’s Cell.  This was the original building on the island back when Alexander I and his crew were rescued here, and before the abbey was built.  There is enough room for a pallet and a place to kneel to pray.  I really liked this little place- It was peaceful, set back in nice foliage, and had a sacred feel to it.  I would love to go back just to sit in this little alcove.

After Inchcolm and the ferry ride back, we visited Dalmeny Church.  I don’t know much about this church, but the details were beautiful!

Dalmeny

 

This weekend… Halloween Shenanigans (Scottish, of course) and a trip to the Highlands!  Stay tuned for more photos!

Halloween Preview

Halloween Preview 🙂

Have a great week!

Love and Laughs,

-Taylor

 

 

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Settling In, Branching Out

Alright, I KNEW I would be horrible at keeping up on posts!! Sorry for the month-long gap, guys…

I have been in Scotland for a month and a half now, loving the crap out of most of this adventure and yelling expletives at the rest of it.  These are a few of my favorite things…

These are a few of m favorite things

My 9 flatmates are AMAZING (Say hello to Celine!) My Scottish Architecture professor is fantastic (he even brought his dogs on our class trip) And these amazing old buildings still leave me breathless.

Oh, and you should SERIOUSLY go listen to this clip on Soundcloud.  Celine and I found this guy when we were exploring one day and we were both hooked 🙂

Super boring picture that means I am FINALLY able to sleep :')

Super boring picture that means I am FINALLY able to sleep :’)

The whole adjusting to a foreign country thing isn’t always hunky dory, I’ll admit.  For the first month I couldn’t sleep AT. ALL.  I had forgotten the perils of dorm beds and their complete lack of padding.  I would seriously wake up in the morning with pressure bruises on my elbows.  I resorted to sleeping on top of my duvet for a little bit of cushion, just hoping to get a few hours rest.  I had pretty much given up hope of sleeping this year, BUT THEN, when my dividend check arrived, I decided the best dividend gift to me would be a lovely MATTRESS TOPPER!! Now my bed is like being wrapped in clouds and marshmallow fluff and unicorn hugs.

The other fairly annoying point was our completely empty kitchen.  The University Accommodation website advertised the flat as “equipped with necessary items.”  That meant a microwave and refrigerators.  Every other university accommodation I have been in at least offers utensils and a few baking pans!  Nope, we split our money and slowly built up our kitchen so we could actually cook.

Collage 2- Food

We’re still missing a few things, but I think we manage, don’t you?

Food, Check.  Sleep, check.  Lots of random city adventures between classes, check!

I try to take as much time between classes to wander the city.  So far my meanderings have found me an independent bookshop that loathes Amazon.com, where I found a book of horror stories by comedians. Let’s just say they have truly tortured minds… I also found an amazing art shop full of prints, and they offer a student discount!  I finally found something to put on my last plain white wall!  Two Art Nouveau portraits and an oil painting of a bowl of flowers.  I’ve also found a stationary shop, a plethora of charity (thrift) shops, an awesome pizza joint and of course, plenty of coffee shops.

Collage 3- Adventures

A bagpiper playing lovely hymns, the view from Greyfriar’s Kirkyard, and my favorite giraffe statue 🙂

Oh, SCHOOL you say?  I guess that’s worth mentioning 😉

I love my classes!  I have two core classes for my degree program, and one optional course to reach my credit requirement.  Sustainable Context and Theories and Sustainable Methodologies are the two cores, and they are both fascinating.  We went to a small village and a seaside town as part of our first class project, which was a blast.  The village was literally a block of houses and a train station- the project was to focus on implementing infrastructure that could accommodate the town if it grew to be an outer suburb of Edinburgh, so we were starting from the ground up.  The seaside town is called North Berwick (pronounced Berrick) and my whole class wandered the town before beach-combing and getting coffee at the Seabird Institute down the beach.  All this for class credit!

My optional course is Scottish Architecture Before 1650.  I kid you not… This class is entirely learning about castles, cathedrals, and abbeys in Scotland!  Best class EVER.  Well, best elective ever, haha. We went on a trip in this class too, out to an abbey on an island that was built in 1126!!! On the way back we also stopped at a church uphill.  Post on that trip coming soon.

 

Besides that… We pretty much just buckle down and work… No fun to be had at all…

Yahia's Photo

Photo from my classmate Yahia. He was attempting a nice portrait…

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Three of the lovely ladies from my classes! Nehaa, myself, Cristina, and Delia 🙂

 

My next post will be from the lovely Inchcolm Abbey!  I’ll try to have it up in the next few days 🙂

Thanks for reading!

Love and Laughs,

-Taylor