Monday, November 12, 2012

Jen's European Adventure: Going Back in Time, Riding On the Wings of Love, and A Harry Potter Experience

Oh my, why is it taking me so long to get the next post out?  It's not like I have a full time job or anything.  But I'm getting it out today in honor of my friend, Cassandra.  She made me realize that it was high time for another blog post.  So Cassandra, this is for you.

The next day began with a trip to Craigmillar Castle.  It was super cool walking around in it, picturing what it must have looked like hundreds of years ago.  Not to mention the courtyard was beautiful.

Don't we look so regal?
After Craigmillar Castle, we made our way to Stirling Castle, which was pretty cool, because they re-did the inside to make it look how it did back in the day.  We got these awesome passes, so we got free audio guides that we never listened to... but hey, at least they were free.  (And we also completely walked out of the castle with them around our necks.  We were almost to our car when we realized that we had stolen them...)

That jacket just suits Ben, doesn't it?

After the tour of the castles, we went to go have dinner with a family Josh knew from his mission, the Campbell's.  Let me tell you, this trip was so fun, because I felt like I got to experience the Scottish culture in a way that I never would have if I had gone on my own.  We got to meet several British families, who were all so caring and sweet, and it was such a good experience!  So the Campbell's are this sweet couple who are both converts.  We sat and chatted with them for a while, and then the missionaries came over for dinner.  It was really great to have them over.  When I'm in a foreign country, I feel like I always have to be on my guard, making sure I'm saying and doing the correct things.  So when these missionaries came, who are all from the States, it was like a breath of fresh air, because I felt like I was a little bit back at home.  Plus, I got to try custard for the first time, which was scrumptious.

After dinner, we made our way to Aberdeen, where we would be spending the next few nights.  We met the family we would be staying with, the Waby's, at a ward party, which was AWKWARD (the party, not the Waby's), to say the least.  We went back to the Waby's house after, and as soon as we stepped inside, it felt like home.  We never wanted to leave.  The Waby's are the nicest family, and I loved being able to stay with them.

The next morning we woke up bright and early to drive 3 hours to get to the HOGWART'S EXPRESS!  Yes, my friends, I, Jennifer Scott, rode on the one and only train they used in the Harry Potter films.  It was amazing.

We took this picture as the train was pulling away, so we didn't get all of it.
But before I get into more details, I have to tell you about the actual trip getting to the train.  So we left at 5:30 in the morning, and believe it or not, I still had jet lag, so I was quite content to sit in the back and take a little nap.  But these were full on country road that we were driving on, and Josh knows how to drive these roads.  I was actually comfortable with it, but I think Ben was getting sick.  Good thing he had a bag full of medication to help him out.

So we were listening to the radio, BBC Radio 2, which is the wackiest radio station ever.  One second it will be playing a rap song, and the next song will be "June is Busting Out All Over"... which would be an interesting title for a rap song... but that's beside the point.  So the DJ, Annika Rice, kept mentioning the fact that lots of people were getting married, and if you are getting married, you should call in with your information and they would play a special song to celebrate.  She had been announcing this for over an hour, and it will still pretty early in the morning, so none of us in the car were talking.  But we were all super curious as to what this song would be, since Annika had been leading up to it for an hour.

Finally, the anticipation was over, and Annika played this song.  Really?  On the Wings of Love?  So, after none of us saying anything for over an hour, I pipe up from the back seat, "Ugh, worst song ever."  Which, of course, led to all of us busting a gut.  And, naturally, this song became the theme song of our trip.

So the car ride was supposed to take 4 hours, but because Josh handled those country roads so well, we made it in three.  So we were early for our train.  We made a stop at Morrison's and got some elevenses, complete with sandwiches, caramel shortbread (which is heaven, I tell you), and angel slices.  After we stuffed ourselves, we went over to our train.  We parked, but then found out we needed change to pay for our parking, which, surprise, we didn't have.  So it was BACK to Morrison's so Josh could get some money out of an ATM.  Ben and I decided to just stay in the car, which turned out to be a bad idea.  Do you remember the last time Ben and I stayed in the car while Josh ran an errand?  Well, it happened again.  Josh left the car, and not thinking, locked it.  So as soon as Ben and I made one little movement, the car alarm was off again.  To which Ben responded, "Oh damn."  I was uncontrollably laughing.  Luckily this time, Josh was still outside at the cash machine, so he heard the alarm, and thankfully knew exactly what happened, and ended it promptly.  Oh geez.

So after we got change, we headed back to the train station, parked, and casually made our way to the train, thinking we had plenty of time.  We walked up to the train, and started looking for our carriage.  We were wandering aimlessly when a train conductor yelled at us, "Are you guys trying to get on the train?"  We nodded.  He waved us back, and we hopped on the train.  Less than a minute after we boarded, the train took off.  We were shocked, because we thought we still had 15 minutes until the train left, but apparently we got the time wrong.  So we just barely made it.  Whew!

The ride was beautiful.  And it was so awesome, because we took the same route they film in the movie, so I felt like I was on my way to Hogwart's.  We even passed over the famous viaduct that's in the Harry Potter films.  Don't know what I'm talking about? Here, watch this, and you'll remember.

Now, does this look familiar?  Amazing, I tell you!

And here are some beautiful shots of the scenery, for your viewing pleasure.

And one of the best parts was when we went through tunnels, the steam would build up, and it would get all "foggy", so I put my hand to the window, and replicated this classic scene:
Oh, it was fun, I tell you.

But the train ride was two hours long, so we needed a way to entertain ourselves, which led to lots and lots of games of hangman.  Note that all of the words have to do with our trip... minus the surprise party and hallucinogenic mushrooms...

The train, sadly, did not take us to Hogwarts, but the pleasant, windy, fishing village of Mallaig.  

We were going to get fish and chips here for lunch, but were stuffed from our elevenses, so instead, took a hike.  The boys needed to go to the bathroom about half way up, so I stood as the look out while they tried not to get pee on everything because of the wind.  We made it to the top with the Isle of Skye in the background, and this is where we discovered that we really didn't have any pictures of all three of us on the trip.  So here was our first try at it.

After we looked at this picture, we busted up laughing.  Josh's hair, my face, the wind... oh my.  So we tried again, but the second shot wasn't much better.

Ah well, at least it has all three of us in it.  

On our trip home, an awkward Italian sat next to us, but we just playing more hangman to pass the time.  After the train, we went to Loch Ness, and yes, we did see the monster, in case you were wondering.  It waved to us, and we took a ride on her back.  An experience to remember.

 After that, we experienced some nice British cuisine, by going to Jimmy Chung's, an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet.  It was surprisingly good.  And then we made our way back home to the Waby's, where we spent the night watching a movie, and eating Honeycomb ice cream (so good).

Well, that was a super long post, so stay tuned next time for our trip to Continental Europe, full of lots of McDonald's, culture shock, and "Che Che De Leche".