June 30-July 2: The students taking English courses and I headed to Scotland on Thursday. As has frequently been the case, we got a slightly later start than hoped for in the morning, spent four and a half hours on the train, and arrived about 1:30pm. (One lesson I’ve learned is that if there’s a desired departure time, it will be best to announce it as half an hour earlier, because students will tend to turn up at the very last minute, stretching the departure time another 10-15 minutes at least. Sometimes this is OK, sometimes, no.) After getting ourselves more or less settled, we just had time to visit the National Gallery of Scotland, which fortunately holds late opening hours on Thursdays. In this photo, the National Gallery is one of the two classical buildings in the foreground. The spire in the background is the (Sir Walter) Scott Monument:
We had a full day Friday, starting with the Writers Museum:
The Museum itself, filling a historic home, is devoted to Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott, and Robert Louis Stevenson. The close has been dedicated as “Makars [poets/writers] Court” with stones set into the pavement memorializing other Scots writers, from medieval Henryson & Dunbar to Muriel Spark and Dorothy Dunnett:
Having met with one of my former students, Fr. Micah Snell, who’s now working on a Ph.D. at St. Andrews, we visited St. Giles Cathedral and had lunch in their very good cafe. Afterwards, Fr. Micah talked with the CU students about his research on Shakespeare and Christianity.
The afternoon was devoted to Edinburgh Castle, where we were joined by Fr. Micah’s family. His wife Jennifer was also a student at Biola when I taught there, an English major, so it was great to see her again.
After dinner at The Elephant House, famed for being the place (or at least one of the places) where J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, most of us were ready to collapse, but two of the guys went out and climbed Arthur’s Seat!
Saturday, we split up to see a few sights we were particularly interested in, and to do some shopping, than it was back on the train to London. All agreed we’d like to spend more time and explore beyond Edinburgh next time!