The day started off with everyone boarding a small, yet very comfortable bus, at 8:45am. Then we were off to our first stop, Robert Burns's Birthplace. Robert Burns is a very famous Scot because of his poetic contributions. He is celebrated throughout the world on his birthday (which I talked about in a previous blog). He also has more monuments and statues around the world than any other author. It's about a 45 minute drive from Glasgow to Alloway where the Burns Cottage and Birthplace Museum are located. Once we arrived in Alloway we headed to the Burns' Cottage, but unfortunately we arrived early and it wasn't open yet so we took a wee walk through the town. The town is really only made up of one street so we meandered for a while then decided to head back. Once we got into the site our Professor who was accompanying us told us some facts about the house before we were joined by a tour guide who would be accompanying us until we reached the museum, a short walk away. The cottage was built in 1757 and is still standing today in great shape with only one mishap occurring during a winter storm soon after Burns' birth. His father fixed that wall very well and it is in great shape today. The cottage is made up basically of four rooms, one to keep the animals at night, one for milking, churning, and cheese making, one as a parlor/family room, and one as the bedroom. This was typical of the time and the Burns were not terribly poor people. They had some cows and William Burns was a groundskeeper for a more prominent member of society in the town.
|One of the scarier aspects of the cottage|
|William Burns' grave|
|These poor people lost 3 children in 3 days|
|remnants of the auld kirk|
|and the newer kirk|
After the museum we made our way to Culzean (kul-layn) Castle which is absolutely stunning. It is right on the water and is associated with a large piece of property with several gardens, walking trails, ponds, and a deer enclosure. We had about 2 hours to wander around the grounds as we wished. Unfortunately the actual castle was closed to visitors but we got to see a good deal of the extensive grounds. Most of the class went together to wander but a couple of people went their separate ways. We started off by going up to the castle and looking at the structure and then wandered down to the beach to climb some rocks. Then we ventured into the woods in an attempt to find the Swan Pond. Along the way we passed the old gunpowder tower as well as some other vestigial structures. Upon making it to the pond we watched to birds for a little while then headed to a pagoda where the family used to keep monkeys. After that Becca and I decided to check out the adventure playground while the others went to find another beach. Unfortunately the playground was intended for people under 16 and there were a lot of kids and families there so we didn't stay long. We decided to leisurely walk back to where the bus was getting us and pass the walled gardens and a greenhouse on the way. The gardens weren't all that spectacular since we're just starting to get any semblance of warmth over here but it was interesting none the less. The greenhouse was also very pretty. It's not really a greenhouse per se but I'm not exactly sure what you would call it. It was made mostly of glass and had potted plants in it though. We made it back to the bus after a lot of walking but it took a while to get everyone back. We were then off to get back to Glasgow. It was a really great day and I had the chance to get to know some of my classmates a little better. It was also really great to see such a beautiful castle and a location of such cultural importance all in one swoop. I am very grateful the program planned this trip and the people in charge are trying to have some more afternoon outings planed so I'm really looking forward to those.
|Arch that was made to purposely look like it was in ruins|