1: crowded cemetary
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Our day was full and enjoyable.
We woke up early to have breakfast with Alex, Christina, Xavier and Theo. Toasty warm blueberry scones with marmalade and French press coffee. So good! Jer and I woke up a little late—despite our exhaustion we both awoke for about an hour in the middle of the night. I had just drifted off when we had to get up for the day. Our preparations for the day—our first showers since departing Seattle—made everyone run a bit late. We saw Theo off to pre-school and Xavier to his class. There are no school buses in Scotland so the parents must take their kids to school themselves. It was different, seeing the kids in the playground area lined up in neat little rows awaiting to go inside the building.
Afterwards, Alex gave Jer and I a tour of the University of Aberdeen’s campus. Included was the old town square of Aberdeen and the school’s beautiful and wonderfully old church. We also got a peek into several of the other buildings and Alex’s office before leaving him for the day. Alex suggested a route for us to take back into town which included an old medieval
Aberdeen's Old Town Square
This is now a part of the University
bridge. We took his advice, and as usual, he did not let us down. On the way we stopped at an old church, St. Marchar’s Cathedral, the yard of which was crammed with tombstones dating back (as far as I could tell) to the late 1700s. We toured the cathedral. The interior was incredible. Notable features included massive stone columns a wooden ceiling decorated with dozens of coats of arms, and incredible stained glass windows.
From the cathedral, we trekked downhill to an incredible park. A formal garden was situated directly at the foot of the church. A bendy river defined one edge of the park and we followed a pathway downstream in hopes of spotting the medieval bridge Alex had mentioned. Eventually we found it. It was quite an impressive structure. The bridge is quite a feat of craftsmanship—lots of stone and cobbles high above the waters.
We then proceeded back to the heart of Aberdeen and back to Alex and Christina’s flat. We stopped for a bite and a pint at a pub before heading into the Maritime Museum. Jer and I were quite exhausted following that adventure. We took a short nap before supper.
After eating another tasty, homemade meal, Jer and I headed out for a drink at a pub. We first visited Old Blackfriars, had a dram of whiskey each, and visited another pub for a pint of Guinness. We people watched a little…girls were dolled-up and the boys were…um…well, do you remember the scene in Trainspotting at the dance club that switches back and forth from the girls and then the boys? That was pretty much it. Minus the heroin use (so far as we know). Rachel had relayed tales of Blanchard Street covered in discarded chip plates, vomit and urine, and girls so drunk they take off their heels to walk barefoot through the muck. Well, the night was still early, a sobering 11:00 when we departed the “fun,” although it was easy to see where the evening would eventually lead. Jer actually gasped a couple of times when we walked past a few notably “tarted-up” girls. Lots of eye makeup, lycra minis so mini they were more like belts, and platform stiletto heels that would make any stripper proud. We in The States would have described these girls as “skanky.”
Jer and I shared a, “Were we ever
like that when we were that age?” moment (our answer was that we were certainly not) before heading back to the flat. Alex and Christina were both still up. We visited for a little while before all of us retired to bed.
Tomorrow we pick up the rental and head out on our own. We've really enjoyed staying with Alex, Christina and family. They have been splendid hosts. It truly is comforting to stay with family. I'm sure we will fare okay out and about, but it is a nice to know we will be returning to Aberdeen and staying with them again.
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