Harry Potter Bridge, Glencoe and...studying?
Updated: Mar 8, 2019
Hello readers! Another week has come and gone. It feels like I've been here for a while, but in reality it's only been twenty-five days. Huh, almost a month--didn't realize that until I just counted it up. I'll start with last Sunday--my trip to the Harry Potter Bridge and Glencoe!
Rachel and I booked this trip through ISUK Tours. They are very well organized and knowledgeable! I would 10/10 recommend going on any tour with this organization. Our first stop was Loch Lomond. It is the largest inland stretch of water in Great Britain with the surface area of 71 km. Before we arrived, our tour guide played, "Bonne Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond," a popular song which obviously features Loch Lomond. It's got a pretty catchy tune if I do say so myself. It was raining pretty hard when we arrived--but it stopped by the time we got to our next destination...typical Scotland weather I should say!
Our next stop was Glencoe to see the Three Sisters. The Three Sisters are three beautiful mountains sitting along the River Coe. FUN FACT: three Harry Potter sets were built in Glencoe including Hagrid's hut, complete with a pumpkin patch and a smoking chimney. The sets have since been dismantled and the hillsides have been returned to their natural state. Also, Glencoe is where the Massacre of Glencoe took place in 1692. I can't recall the story in my own words, so here's the description they gave us in our itinerary for the trip, "On 27 August 1691, King William offered all Highlands clans a pardon as long as they took an oath of allegiance before 1st January 1692. However, Alastair Maclain, 12th Chief of MacDonald Clan of Glencoe, waited until the last day before setting out to take the oath and finally he took the oath on 6th of January 1692. The Secretary of State, who heard about this decided to make an example and five the highland clans a lesson! Eventually, on February 1692, a troop of 120 under the command of Robert Campbell arrived in Glencoe and murdered MacDonalds for missing the king's order deadline. Thirty-eight men and women of Clan MacDonald died in Glencoe Massacre." Our tour guide told us that the Campbell's sought shelter with the MacDonald's and on the last day of their two week stay, they slaughtered the MacDonalds. Hence why the MacDonalds and Campbells DO NOT like each other.
Our main attraction was the Glenfinnan Viaduct, which is the Harry Potter Bridge! Right beside the bridge was Loch Shiel, which is the fictional Black Lake where Harry takes on challenge number two in "The Goblet of Fire." We got to take lots of pictures in front of both filming locations. The loch was so beautiful. The weather was perfect when we arrived, so we got to walk along the rocky shore--I even took a rock souvenir for myself! This trip was so much fun and I would definitely recommend these locations for everyone, especially Harry Potter fans! Since we were pretty far up in the highlands, our tour guide put on "The Goblet of Fire "for us to watch on the coach's TV!
I don't have much to report on school here. Like I've said before, it's very different than the U.S. I feel like I'm getting a routine down with when to study and figuring out what I have to do for the week. The readings are intense and I'm not gonna lie, I don't always understand the literature in the journals they have us read. I'm just gonna keep trucking along and hopefully I will do well enough to get a passing grade (but the perfectionist in me is going to try to get that A). It's honestly the same amount of work as it would be in the states, but they just don't give you credit for it. You would think that would take the pressure off a little--like it wouldn't be a big deal if I skipped a reading. HAHA, you would think. The professors are more strict here and expect you to show up for every class and do every piece of reading. They will call you out for it if you don't do it, are late to class, or are talking during their lecture/seminar. I've found my study spot though. There's a Starbucks in Cineworld (a movie theater) which has lots of seating. HUGE shoutout to my mom for sending me a Starbucks gift card! If anyone else wants to send one my way, I would more than appreciate it ;)
Today Rachel and I went to our first church service since being in Scotland. We went to Harvest Glasgow. I found it from a link that a Salt Company staff member sent me when I asked about churches abroad. It's a part of the Gospel Coalition--so it's similar to the way that Cornerstone teaches their sermons. I absolutely love this church. From the moment Rachel and I arrived to when we left, we had a member of the church talk to us. They were so nice and welcoming to us. They realized we didn't live the closest to them, so they offered to set up rides for us on Sundays to we could get to Harvest Glasgow. It was honestly so touching how welcoming and helpful they were. I was fully expecting to have to call an Uber to take us back to our dorms, but a member of the church offered to drive us back. It's funny because as much as I miss Salt Company and attending Cornerstone, I kind of forgot what it was like to be part of a small church community. I feel like God has placed me within that church for my remaining time here. I think that I can get caught up in the massiveness of Cornerstone and then I get nervous about talking to people within my church family there. This is a good shift for me, to relearn the importance of building those connections within the church family. I hope I can join a small group and get to know the congregation even better for the short time I am here.
As of right now, Rachel and I don't have any solid plans for this coming weekend. We want to go somewhere, but we haven't decided anything yet. Do you guys have any suggestions? Feel free to comment on here directly or go back to my Facebook post and comment it on there! Until next week, enjoy these pictures from my trip to the Harry Potter Bridge and Glencoe!