Brandon Goes To Scotland

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One of my very last trips was to visit Paris, France. From the Louve to the Eiffel tower to even Moulin Rouge, I think I managed to see most of the popular attractions! A fascinating city with plenty of culture and history. 

Here are some of the better pictures of my trip to London including pictures of iconic buildings and places, as well as my experience with meeting the Red Pandas in the Paradise Wildlife Park. 


Sorry it’s been so long, I’ve been really busy since around Thanksgiving until now. I’ll be posting a few last entries to cover the rest of my trip before returning home.

This post is comprised of pictures from my family’s visit, which encompassed Glasgow, Edinburgh, as well as highlands as north as Inverness, to as south as Oban.

Included you’ll find some nice scenery, more castles, and some sunsets!

It’s been a while, my apologies, the past few weeks, and the next 2 will continue to be extremely busy. I have plenty more to post, but this will have to do for now, since it’s 12:30 and I need to wake up in 5 hours for more.

This past weekend I travelled to Ireland, a very wonderful country. I visited Trinity College as seen in the first picture, saw the Book of Kells, a book circa 800 (or 5x older than America). 

From there we spent a lot of time walking around the city, which like Amsterdam and Scotland, also has very different architecture from buildings in the U.S.A. Obviously some of them are extremely old, so that surely lends itself to the different architectural styles. The Brazen Head is the oldest pub in Dublin, which is believed to have been established in 1198 (more than 3x older than America), which we Americans simply have no comparison to. It was truely fantastic to see buildings still standing and moreover being used regularly, and in fact the Brazen Head was even being used for filming a movie inside it this week.

I included some pictures of the streets as to give an idea of what the city looks like as well.

I additionally visited a handful of Tourist Locations such as Temple Bar, the Guinness Storehouse, what is left of the Dublin Castle, and more!

As I said above, I’ll be posting a lot more in about a week, once the majority of my classes are finished, because I’ll have plenty of time.

Cheers!

Nov 6

This past weekend I went on a weekend trip to Amsterdam in the Netherlands with some friends! 

We first visited some of the tourist attractions, such as the above pictured “I Amsterdam” monument. Another extremely popular attraction is the Van Gogh Museum, so I included a self-portrait of Van Gogh above as well. These tourist scenes, while really fantastic, did not feel like the true city.

Once we saw the tourist areas, we proceeded to get to know the city on foot. Through our dozens of miles of walking around the beautifully laid brick roads, as well as around and alongside canals, Amsterdam began to take on a whole new beauty. A thriving yet quaint city, where most people ride bicycles or take the trams, and where cars are never bigger than an American mid-size SUV and sometimes they actually seem toy-like.
 
The pictures I provided simply cannot do Amsterdam justice. The canals, brick roads, and architecture was simply stunning. Unfortunately time was too limited to do some of the things I wanted, like rent a bike to ride around, or take a ride on the canal tour boats, but that’s fine, it just gives me another reason to return one day.

Amsterdam is truly a wonderful place.

This past weekend, I went to the Firbush Outdoor Centre, to get some real hands on experience with Nature in the Highlands.

We did many things from Hiking, to Kayaking, and visited a range of places, such as some historic sites and even a famous cave from Monty Python’s quest for the Holy Grail.

The first two pictures are of Rob Roy’s grave site, and the one following that is his putting stone. Rob Roy is somewhat of a folk hero, like a Scottish Robin Hood, and the giant boulder is joked to be a stone he throws for fun. 

Following that are a few pictures of the mountain we climbed over, and while it was a bit damp, it was surely an amazing experience. Some of the vistas were simply so surreal.

We learned about some traditional dances during a small Ceilidh, a Scottish traditional celebration, and all had Haggis as well.

The second to last picture is the Ore Mine cave that was used for the Killer Bunny scene in Monty Python’s Quest for the Holy Grail, and there were even white plush rabbits inside left from the fans that travel to that location.

The last picture is the remains of yet another small castle, complete with a Mausoleum and outdoor beheading pit. Times have certainly changed.

It was a fantastic weekend to say the least.

Two weekends ago, I went on a potholing (or caving) trip in Yorkshire with the Glasgow University Potholing Club. We went through cave systems that ranged from wet to waist deep in water, rappelled down underground waterfalls, and saw some of the most surreal scenery. Unfortunately, since it was so wet, it was impossible for me to bring my camera. I did snag some pictures from someone who brought a waterproof camera though!

The large pit that is included here, is over 70 meters deep, or about 230 feet. There is really no way to give a proper sense of scale, of how large this sinkhole is, but it’s beauty is on par with something from a movie.

Additionally, since we were out in the countryside and nothing around for miles, we had a great opportunity to experience how the locals spent their free time when not caving. Many games were played, some more skill oriented than others, and of course music is an essential part of life here, so there was some guitar and fiddle as well!

Highlands Weekend Trip: Part 3.

This last part is mainly for pictures of the landscape, because the last section of our trip was being toured through different parts of the Highlands on our way back toward Perth. So enjoy some pictures of the rolling hills and mountains of the Highlands!

The very last picture is our group for the trip, with a Scotland Flag in the background. Thanks to Arcadia for putting this together for us!

This weekend is a potholing (or caving) expedition with Glasgow Uni, so I’ll be super busy taking more pictures and getting very dirty. Keep an eye out for the next post, coming up soon!

Highlands Weekend Trip: Part 2.

The first 5 pictures are of the Culloden Battlefield, where the Jacobite Army was brutally defeated. The Jacobite Army was Led by Charles Stuart, of the House of Stuart, and they were a group of Scotsman trying to rebel against the House of Hanover, and return the House of Stuart to the British Throne. The Rebellion led to a brutal crackdown on the Scottish people, with many slaughtered, not to mention additional penalties that were created to weaken Gaelic culture and attack the Scottish Clan System.

The very next picture is a panorama of the bow of a boat that’s taking us across Loch Ness (Loch means lake, so don’t call it Lake Loch Ness), to Urquhart castle, a medieval stronghold used many times until 1692, when it was partially destroyed to prevent the Jacobite (Scottish) Rebels from using it. While mostly in ruin now, it is still possible to see just how large it once was.

The next post will be the 3rd part of the highlands trip pictures, and that’ll be posted tomorrow!

Oct 9

Highlands Weekend Trip: Part 1.

The first two pictures are of some of the typical landscape found in the highlands, as we travelled to our first destination: The Blair Athol Distillery.

We arrived at the Blair Athol Distillery, which was a very modest complex, encompassing of only a few extremely old buildings. The distillery, which is in Pitlochry, was established in 1798 making it one of the oldest functioning distilleries in Scotland.

Unfortunately we were not allowed to take pictures in the various areas of the tour, so the outside was really all I have pictures of.

Next, we headed to Leault Farm, to see how local farms operate. The first few pictures are of the sheepdog demonstration, and how the Farmer could give distinct whistles to give specific dogs individual commands, allowing him to effectively remotely control where the sheep will go.

A video can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_SH0YWl7hR0

Border Collies, the dogs pictured here, are widely considered to be the most intelligent dog breed in the world. One border collie, in 2011, memorized 1,022 distinct words, and could respond appropriately to all of them, putting them on par with young children. 

We also got to hold some of the newest born puppies, the one I am holding in the picture above was only 4 days old.

The one sitting on the ground was 2 weeks old, and part of a different litter, but it is old enough to start playing with the bigger dogs.

And the last picture is the widely recognized Highland Cow, a very common type of cattle in Scotland.

Coming up in the next two parts are a Battlefield, Loch Ness, Urquhart Castle, and more!