On April 7th, a group of 49 students and 4 teachers got on a bus and set off on an adventure to see the beautiful country of Scotland. We drove up through the Czech Republic and Germany, finally ending a long bus ride by arriving in Brugge, Belgium. We had a few hours in that lovely city, and then took a ferry overnight across the North Sea and to the northern part of England.

photo credit: Andrew Gibson

Our journey took us through the lovely English cities of York and Durham, where we enjoyed wandering through Harry Potter-style streets, visiting local markets, and standing quietly in beautiful cathedrals. We then drove up to Falkirk, Scotland, where we stayed for three nights.

Our next few days took us to Scotland’s two biggest cities: Edinburgh and Glasgow. While in Edinburgh we met up with a few of our Scottish friends who have come and will come again to the sophomore Language Building camps. We had gorgeous weather all throughout our six days in Scotland and England, which was unexpected and wonderful. That nice weather gave us a chance to explore much of Edinburgh’s lovely streets as well as allowed us to hike up Arthur’s Seat, awarding us with a view of all of the city.

photo credit: Andrew Gibson

In Glasgow we met up with several alumni from Bilgym. As we ate lunch, the seven or eight of them talked to the students about their experience living and studying in the UK. Afterwards we split up again to briefly explore the city.

Our Scotland adventure next took us north, all the way to Inverness. On the way we visited beautiful places like Blair Castle, where we learned much about the history of the country. We also saw the Clava Cairns (otherwise known as the Scottish Stonehenge), stopped briefly by the sea, and spent our evening wandering through parts of Inverness, a lovely northern Scottish city. The signs were written in English and Gaelic, and they proclaimed Inverness “the Capital of the Highlands.”

photo credit: Andrew Gibson

The next day we drove back down south, and it was a day full of sightseeing. We visited Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle, enjoying the beautiful colors of the water against the backdrop of a ruined castle. We then stopped at Glencoe and Glenfinnan, learning a bit about history and taking photos of the famous “Harry Potter Bridge.” We also drove through the breathtaking Highlands, stopping only briefly to take photos of the impressive mountains against a clear sky.

photo credit: Andrew Gibson

Our last day in the UK took us back down into England, where we visited Alnwick Castle, seeing another Harry Potter film location (with the students learning how to ride a broom) as well as lovely state rooms in the large castle area. We were sad to be ending our journey, but we were all ready to be done traveling on a bus!

We took the ferry again, this time to the Netherlands, and though everyone was tired, the students spent time playing games and chatting. We then drove home, arriving in the wee hours of the morning a day later, glad to be off the bus, but even happier to have been on such a trip to such a wonderful country.

Until next time, Scotland!

Sierra Stopper