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A Castle (or 4) Fit for a Princess

I mentioned in my first blog post how I was excited to see all the castles in Scotland and I have not been disappointed. I have seen castles of all ranges from ones in ruins to ones their full glory. Each time I see a castle I get very excited and wish I could be a princess who lived in these castles. All of them were placed a top a hill with a beautiful, scenic background. They stood with elegance and grace that cannot be replicated (although I will try to with my pictures).

I was on the streets of Edinburgh looking up at the Edinburgh Castle when I took this picture.

The first castle I saw was the Edinburgh Castle. It is massive and sits high above everything else in Edinburgh. So high, that if you get lost all you have to do is find the castle, start walking in that direction and you will be back in familiar territory. This rings true as I did manage to get lost (numerous times) and was able to find my way back by walking towards the massive castle. When I found out you could actually go in the castle, I was ecstatic.  It was as breathtaking from the outside as it was from the inside. It was all made of stone and had perfectly manicured lawns inside the castle. Inside the castle were various other buildings you could go into that displayed historic pieces from the castle. The best part was I got to see the Crown Jewels! I wish they would have let me wear the crown…

The view from the top of Edinburgh Castle.
This building was inside the Edinburgh Castle!

 

All that is left of the Dunrue Castle. It sits on top of a hill. It is surrounded on three sides by land and the other, the ocean.

Another castle I went to was the Dunure Castle in Dunrue, Scotland. This castle was in ruins but what was left of it was preserved. This meant I got to go inside and climb around on the rocks. I even got to look out what was once a window and see the ocean spread out before me. I also got to climb up the stairs to the upper level and see the view from here. I can only imagine how grand this castle once looked. The environment around the ocean was calm and quiet. Nothing else was around except the castle and the ocean. I wish I could have stayed here all day. This was one of my favorite castles because I got to freely explore without worrying about any fragile artifacts that could possibly break. There were no guidelines or restrictions on where I could go so I went everywhere!  It was just me and my classmates having the time of our lives exploring this exquisite castle.

I was standing on a rock near the shore line when I took this picture. The castle is behind me and the ocean spread out before me. You could smell the salt in the air from the ocean.
This is the view from the window I found.
I had to sit in front of the window because it was just that cool.

During my last week in Scotland, the group took a bus tour up to the Isle of Harris and then back down towards Glasgow. Along the way, we also stopped at Eilean Donan Castle in Wester Ross, Scotland. It was a 15 minute stop to go to the bathroom and take pictures and then we would be back on the road. This had to be one of my favorite castles even though I wasn’t there for long. I really wish I had a tiara and a pretty dress to take my pictures in front of the castle (I know, I’m that girl). There was a long bridge that leads up to the castle and is the only entrance into it. This is because the castle was built on a peninsula so the other three sides were surrounded by water. Behind the castle was various mountains with the clouds hovering over them. It was a beautiful sight to see. I wish we had had more time here so I could see what the inside of the castle looked like. The bus driver/tour guide Rich told a story about the castle. I don’t remember all the names and dates but essentially the castle was burned down and many years down the road a family heir wanted to rebuild the castle. He

This is one of my favorite pictures I took on my trip. I love how you can see the castle, the mountains in the background, the bridge leading to the castle, the water surrounding it and the land.

had never seen what the castle used to look like or had any blue prints so he made it based on an image he had in his head. Later, a hidden room was found in the Edinburgh Castle that held the blue prints for a majority of the castles in Scotland, including the Eilean Donan Castle. It turns out that the rebuilt castle was a 95% accurate match to the original! Who would have guessed!?

 

Of course, I had to take a picture with the castle. Now if only I had a tiara…
I took this picture of Stilring from the bus as we were driving up to it.

The last castle I saw was on my last day in Scotland. It was the Stirling Castle in Stirling, Scotland. I was

This walkway was inside of the Stirling Castle and looked over the gardens.

there for about two hours and ran around in pure joy. Some parts of the castle were a museum with artifacts displayed while other parts were empty rooms that you could crawl around in. I liked how I could walk around and touch the walls of the castle and be in rooms you aren’t normally let into. It felt like there was some mystery to the room by it being empty. I could only imagine what it once looked like, who had been in these rooms, and what had occurred here. I was enthralled and felt like a little kid in a candy store. I enjoyed my time running around the castle and seeing everything that was there.

 

This was inside some of the rooms I got to crawl around in. All the rooms were made of stone and had small windows cut out of them to let in light.
I was so excited to be in a castle! It had been a few weeks since I last visited one.
This was inside the castle in the gardens.
An outfit a Queen and King used to wear. There are many layers to these outfits that can’t be seen from the outside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope you find a castle (or four) along your journeys fit enough for a princess (or prince).

-Nicole Wilhelm


Nicole Wilhelm is a sophomore at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Nursing. Nicole is spending the month of July in many different cities in Scotland with the UMKC Honors College Program in Scotland. Nicole is involved in UMKC’s Campus Ambassadors, Swim and Dive Club, BHS Society, and Student Nursing Association.

Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.

Alone in a City of 8.8 Million Residents (Plus Thousands of Tourists)

Big crowds scare me, especially if I do not have someone I know with me to help distract from my

A model of Stonehenge made from the rocks along the coast of the Butt of Lewis lighthouse

imaginings of all the potential things that could go wrong and cause widespread panic. So why would I ever dream of or even feel excited for a day spent all by myself in one of the most crowded cities in the world? I can’t seem to answer this question, but somehow I ended up convincing my friends to leave me behind in London as they traveled to Bath and Stonehenge without me during our weekend excursion.

 

A wax figure of Mary, Queen of Scots, a subject of our studies, at Madame Tussaud’s

The first thing I did on my solo adventure was find my way to and attend Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum. I could tell during our first night in London while we were planning our weekend that my travel companions were not too excited about this suggestion, even though they tried to conceal it and not disappoint me. So I was happy to go to this attraction by myself and spend the time I wanted there without feeling rushed or sorry for making my friends spend valuable time and money on something they didn’t want to do. Afterwards, I returned to the hostel we were staying in and was surprised and happy to find our 20-person dorm room quiet and completely empty, giving me a great opportunity to finish writing my speech for class without any distractions.

With the weight of an incomplete assignment off my shoulders, I found myself with quite a bit of free time. I decided to just wander around and explore the city, and eventually found my way to a tea shop in a district of the West End of London called “Soho.” The shop was incredibly busy, so I barely fit my way into the door and up to the counter to order. Once I got my pastry and pot of tea and sat at a newly vacated table, the charming shop owner asked me if I would mind another customer sitting with me. I spent the next hour or so talking to a gentleman who had lived in London for around five years, who told me all about the hidden treasures of the city most tourists would never discover. After warming back up from the rain and sharing a table with yet another local customer (although he was much quieter), I walked across town to the London Eye, where I would eventually meet back with my friends.

A view from the top of the London Eye, a giant ferris wheel

The crowds of visitors eventually became too much for my nerves, so I wandered away and eventually found myself talking with another Londoner, this time an older gentleman being treated at the hospital I was seeking refuge from the rain in. He asked me what I was studying and what career I eventually wanted to have, and he told me his experience with England’s healthcare system after I expressed my wish to become a doctor. Speaking with these local citizens showed me their perspectives, teaching me much more about the city than I could ever get from simply visiting the most popular attractions.

 

Another view from the London Eye showing Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament

Even though I began the day alone, I ended up meeting and chatting with three other young travelers from Canada and Australia, as well as three people from London. I think what gave me the opportunity to meet them was the fact that I was by myself and therefore open to interacting with people I didn’t know instead of focusing on prior friends. The best part about this “lonely” day, however, was that I could do and see what I wanted without worrying about making others miss out on what they wanted to experience. I was able to get a much more in-depth experience in London by taking the time to explore the city and meet new people, and my friends and I each formed new stories during our time apart to be able to share with each other.

 


Kathryn Smith is a freshman at the University of Missouri- Kansas City majoring in Psychology and Pre-Medicine, with the goal to become a psychiatrist. During the month of July, Kathryn is participating in the UMKC Honors College Program in Scotland.

Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.

Change of Scenery

Last weekend I took a trip to St. Andrews and Dundee with my professor and two flatmates. It felt nice to get out for the weekend and explore uncharted territory. St. Andrews is a much smaller town than Edinburgh. I enjoyed getting away from the hustle of the city for a while. I got to walk on the beach at St. Andrews, visit a castle, and go to a medieval church. On the beach, there was a sandcastle competition going on. Families were busy making their own castles while the ruins of St. Andrew’s castle was just a walk away. My favorite part was exploring the church ground with its towering façade and old gravestones. In its prime the church had been huge – a monumental building to be reckoned with. There was also a ghost of a woman that supposedly haunted the grounds, but sadly I did not see her.

St. Andrews’s Beach
St. Andrews

 

 

 

 

 

 

After spending the day in St. Andrews, we headed to

Dundee. The city had a completely different feeling than Edinburgh. It was compromised of mostly college students and seemed to be on the rebound from a poor economic state. I was able to visit both of the city’s art museums, and I was surprised at how good their collections were. I discovered a story about two Scottish women that travelled the globe in the 1900s to report on the conditions of women from around the world. I thought the art museum was very inclusive and had a lot of information to offer.

 

Claire Woods: Victim of Geography

 


 Samantha Bradfield is a junior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Psychology and Art History.  Samantha is spending the summer abroad with the UMKC Honors Summer Program in Scotland.

Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.

A Weekend Getaway

Sometimes, it’s nice to take a vacation from your vacation. I decided to take a long weekend trip to the Scottish boarder before the UMKC Honors Abroad group headed for the highlands the following Monday. My cousin had flown into Edinburgh on Tuesday and we took a train and then bus to Kelso on Friday, after a delicious breakfast at Elephants and Bagels.

Gluten-free fish and chips at the Waggon Inn

We arrived in Kelso around 2 and stopped for Cock-a-leekie soup and floral teas that budded from green tea leaves at Cream Chimneys. We wandered around town and then checked into our B&B, where we settled down, then went out for dinner at Waggon Inn. We both ate fish and chips, then turned in for an early night in our rooms, where we relaxed for the evening.

Watching the Pipe Band before the Ride Out

On Saturday morning we saw the ride out in Kelso, which was a tradition as a part of Kelso’s Civic Week. There was a pipe band followed by tons of horses that rode out to a local town and back, which was symbolic of cattle ranchers riding out to make sure that no thieves were stealing cattle.

Would you care for a spot of tea with that?

We returned to our B&B to have breakfast and then walked to Floors Castle. It was drizzling, but a good time. The Castle was beautiful and our lunch at the tea room was delicious. Emma and I even had the chance to play on an 1890 Steinway, one of the last to be made in Hamburg. We returned to see the town parade in the evening and then had a late dinner, where I was once again impressed by the quality of seafood.

Sunday saw us again with breakfast at the B&B. We then walked along the River Tweed to see the confluence of the Rivers Tweed and Teviot.

Having fun at Floors Castle

After finding the spot where the two rivers met, we walked to a small Evangelical church where we had coffee with part of the congregation before meeting. A lovely couple invited Emma and me to lunch and we gladly joined them. Janet and Ken were so sweet to us and we had a great time. Ken is partially paralyzed but has a wonderful outlook on life. He enjoys painting and Janet quilts. After lunch, Janet dropped us off at our B&B so we could pick up our bags. Emma and I walked to our bus stop to catch a bus to Berwick. Unfortunately, the bus we got on didn’t go to Berwick. The bus to Berwick would not be running for another 2 hours, which put us in Berwick 3 hours after our train departed! Fortunately for us, we were able to board that same bus (not running to Berwick) and make a connection at St. Boswell’s to Edinburgh. We didn’t use our train tickets, but we arrived in Edinburgh around the same time that we would have if we had taken our original route.

All in all, it was a nice, fun, relaxing weekend with a few surprises built in!


Emily McIntyre is a sophomore at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Marketing and Entrepreneurship with a Spanish minor. Emily is involved with several student organizations, including UMKC Enactus, which uses entrepreneurship to solve needs in the community. She’s looking forward to studying abroad this summer with the UMKC Honors Program in Scotland, where she plans to explore more of her family heritage and country of origin.

Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.

The Highlands or Bust!

How great can five long days in a big yellow bus with the words “Wild & Sexy” written on the side possibly be?

Extremely.

The past five days have been a whirlwind: between ferries, speech drafts and presentations, and essay drafts, it feels as if no time has passed at all, but at the same time, it has been the longest week of my life (well, that may be an exaggeration, of course. We’ve all been through finals week!).  In truth, I don’t remember the names of the towns we stayed in or of all the monuments and national parks we stopped at. All I know is that the 17 of us had an absolute blast.

On Tuesday, we took a ferry up to the Isle of Lewis and made a stop at the Butt of the Isle of Lewis. There, we stood at what felt like the edge of the world – to the north of us was the Arctic ice cap and directly to the west was Nova Scotia. This edge of the world is stunning. Black cliffs, spongy land beneath your boots, and an overcast afternoon make for one heck of a view.

Cliffs at the Butt of the Isle of Lewis

I also had the opportunity to see Loch Lomond. During a brief, unplanned bathroom stop at a visitor’s center on the Loch, I hopped off because I needed a photo. I was a choir kid in high school, and my junior year we sang “Loch Lomond”, a traditional Scottish song. To this day, it is one of my favorite pieces I have ever performed with that choir, and so I knew I had to get a photo of the Loch so I could say I’ve been there (even if only for about 5 minutes!).

The bonnie, bonnie banks o’ Loch Lomond

Despite my attachment to Loch Lomond, I must give the award for my favorite views to Glen Coe, in Clan Donald country. It was another short stop, and even the fifteen minutes we spent there could have easily been stretched to hours, but Glen Coe was a beauty. Standing in front of these huge, majestic mountains, I felt as if I was standing in a super high-quality photograph that people would (and probably have!) paid a lot of money to have on display in an art museum. The mystic beauty of Glen Coe can’t be beat.

Glen Coe
I have to own up to taking a highly stereotypical photo there, because truthfully, I couldn’t resist.

In the end, the Highlands are an unbeatable experience and a must-see if you ever find yourself in Scotland. The experiences I had in the Highlands are going to stay with me forever, and thankfully, so will the photos.


Victoria Davidson is a sophomore at the University of Missouri-Kansas City double majoring in History and Foreign Languages and Literature with a German emphasis. Victoria is spending July abroad with the faculty-led UMKC Honors Summer Program in Scotland.

Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.

UP….UP…. AND YOU ARE IN THE HIGHLANDS

The ocean

Want to know the most beautiful place on planet earth? It is the Highlands of Scotland! Greenery surrounds you almost everywhere you look and the water is restless, but stunning.

Just a small glimpse into the beautiful Highlands

There is always a hanging mist in the Highlands in Scotland and I admit it is really cold here, but if you bundle up and brave the cold it is a sight worth seeing. We took a boat into the Highlands and I have never been on a cruise ship, but that is what I imagined it would look like. It was huge and luxurious with a cafe. I was able to relax for a little bit and enjoy the ocean. On this trip to the highlands we are visiting the Isle of Lewis and the Isle of Harris. There are many monuments here and the start of our journey in the highlands we went to the Butt of Lewis. You read that right. I said the Butt of Lewis (don’t google or you may get some weird images). It is the end of the Island of Lewis and there are cliffs high up that we got to look off and stare at the ocean. I stared at the sea gulls circle around trying to get the fish and there was a seal popping his head out of the water daring the sea gulls to come closer. The water crashed into the rocks angrily and the vastness of the ocean is enough to make the largest person feel small.

There was a lighthouse behind the cliffs and it was everything I imagined it would be. I felt at home here and never wanted to leave. But we made our way back to our Hostel for the night where nine of the girls in my class here all stay in a hostel room together. It was so much fun, it felt like a slumber party! The next morning we had class things to clear up, so we gave our speeches in the hostel. This trip has taught us all how to be flexible and roll with the punches! It has been a very fun experience seeing what our journey will bring us next. The second day we made our way to the Isle of Harris where we stopped at an old town where we learned how tweed blankets and scarves are made. It was interesting to watch and the people there were very kind. A nice man explained everything to us and left nothing but happy feelings in my heart. I will definitely be visiting that town again.

The mighty and powerful stones

Next, we made our way to the Calanais stones which were tall, mighty, and mysterious. These stones are mysterious and no one knows exactly why there are there. After the stones we made our way to the beach and at the beach I got to see a HIGHLAND COW (pronounced coo). If you have been following my blogs you know I am a farm girl and all I wanted this whole trip was to see a Highland cow and get a picture with it! I finally got it and my dreams have been fulfilled.

My baby Highland cow. I FINALLY GOT A PICTURE!!

We then made our way back to the hostel and all in all. The highlands were pretty amazing. As always, may adventure find you… even if it is so far north that it doesn’t get dark at night.


Kylie Wilson is a sophomore at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Nursing. She is spending the summer term abroad with the UMKC Honors Program in Scotland. Kylie is from small town Helena, Missouri and hopes to be a Cardiac Intensive Care Unit nurse in the future. She has a pet cow named Betsy whom she loves dearly.

Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.

Coffee, Coffee, Coffee!

One of my favorite things to do while I have been in Edinburgh, Scotland is going to all the different coffee shops. I love coffee and there are numerous different coffee shops all over. Of course, there are some Starbucks, but even more unique, privately owned little shops. I have made it my mission to go to as many of these as possible and avoid Starbucks at all costs.

One thing I have noticed about coffee in Scotland is there isn’t much fufu coffee offered. It is primarily americanos, lattes, and cappuccinos. Adding flavors or making a triple white chocolate mocha latte with extra foam is not a thing. Each coffee shop has been different from the next, none being remotely the same. And the coffee (I always get a cappuccino) has been some of the best cappuccinos I have ever had in my life. I know that sounds very exaggerated, but I’m not even kidding. The foam on the cappuccinos is sweeter and they either add chocolate flakes on top or draw the pretty leaf in the foam. I’m still amazed how they do that and I get excited each time I see it.

I got a heart drawn in my cappuccino! I’m in love.
My eggs on toast at Press Coffee!

My favorite in all of Scotland is this little coffee shop on the corner named Press Coffee.  I pass this shop everyday on my way to class. The outside is a bright, royal blue that made me notice the small shop in the first place. The inside was painted a sunny, shining yellow with small circular coffee tables and little wooden chairs. Here I got my cappuccino with the leaf drawn on top and eggs on toast. Not only was it the best coffee I’ve ever had, but also the best eggs. Everything in Scotland has been so fresh and yummy. You can definitely tell the difference. The bread was thick slices of whole grain bread that had been homemade. I sat here for about an hour with my friend, both of us going on and on about how much we loved this place. It was a very cute, homey little shop that made me so happy. I left with a full tummy and happy mood. We went back a second time before we left and I got the same thing, except this time my cappuccino had a heart drawn in it!

 

There’s a leaf in my coffee!
This is me sipping on my heart shaped cappuccino. It was so good, I had to get a larger cup this time around.
This is the inside of Press Coffee. There are more tables on either side of the picture that you can’t see.
This is my cappuccino from Natural Food Kafe. You can see the chocolate flakes they add to the top. Almost looks like a toasted marshmallow.

Another place I went to was called Natural Foods Kafe. I went here with my fellow classmates to interview the cafe owner for one of my class projects. The owner was an older, hilarious guy. He had a sign posted outside his cafe that read “Eat here or we will both starve. -The Owner.” He was humorous and his cafe was warm and cozy, it felt almost like home. The cappuccino there was delicious just like every other place. The foam on top was sweeter than the foam on the top back home in the States.

Coffee cup from The Frigate in Ullapool. I was walking on the street right outside the cafe when I took this picture.

 

The third place I went to was a place named The Frigate, Ullapool. I got this coffee while waiting for the ferry in Ullapool to take us to the Isle of Lewis. The coffee shop was in a cute little town and inside was just as decadent. There were two walls lined with delicious looking pastries.  You could pick up as many as you want, put in a bag, and take it to the register to pay. Of course, here I got a cappuccino again (I really need to start branching out and trying something new). This coffee was yummy, even more so because it was very windy and cold on the coast. In America, getting a coffee to take home is called “to go” but in the UK it is called “take away.” It has been an adjustment to remember to say “take away” or else they look at you like “what are you talking about.”

My time in Scotland has been fun trying out all the cute little coffee shops scattered around. May your travels be safe and full of good coffee!

-Nicole Wilhelm


Nicole Wilhelm is a sophomore at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Nursing. Nicole is spending the month of July in many different cities in Scotland with the UMKC Honors College Program in Scotland. Nicole is involved in UMKC’s Campus Ambassadors, Swim and Dive Club, BHS Society, and Student Nursing Association.

Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.

Let’s go to the beach (beach)

It’s the thick of July and you wouldn’t expect the beach to be cold.

Dunure Castle

Scotland didn’t seem to get the memo. Last Friday, our program took an excursion to Dunure Castle and Robert Burns’ town. The castle ruins were embedded on a cliff overlooking the ocean. What once looked like a menacing fortress was nothing more than a dangerous pile of rocks. However, its eroded state did not make it any less impressionable. Its skeleton still held tight to its original power, and it cast a rather monumental shadow over the beach. Further exploration of the area led me to the rocks at the bottom of the cliff that extended into the ocean. Even with a chill in the air, my experience at the beach was well worth it.

View of the ocean outside of Dunure Castle

After spending an hour or so at the beach, it was time to head to where the famous Scottish poet, Robert Burns, once lived. This was one of my favorite days and I am not for certain what I can contribute that too. I was able to visit the bridge and kirk that inspired Burns’ poem, Tam O’ Shanter. I also explored the area surrounding Burns’ house. I think I was starting to miss being surrounded by nature. Coming from a rural background, I enjoy the city but not enough to live in it. I think this excursion helped me get over being a little homesick.

View from Brig O’ Doon

Samantha Bradfield is a junior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Psychology and Art History.  Samantha is spending the summer abroad with the UMKC Honors Summer Program in Scotland.

Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.

Dancing Culture

Lots of updates to post in the near-distant future, but for now I’ll share the opportunity I had to see some Scottish Highland and Country dances. My Study Abroad group was required to visit several museums as part of our curriculum, and on Monday we went to our final one: the National Gallery of Scotland.

Country Dances in the Grassmarket

We stumbled upon some Croatian dancers right outside of the museum. Much to our surprise, there had been Scottish dancing performed right before and we narrowly missed it! A few girls and I decided that we would catch the dancers the next day at 2 p.m. in the Grassmarket.

After a workout at the gym (and a shower after that), Erika, Nicole and I headed towards the Grassmarket, a place where regular food dealings used to be held, similar to a modern-day farmer’s market. It is a more authentic area of the town. While many tourists like to visit the area, there are not very many crowds. It is full of pubs with a vibrant and family-friendly atmosphere.

Highland Dances with Edinburgh Castle in the backgroun

We arrived about 10 minutes early and got a great view of the dancers. Many of the dances were country dances, not Highland dances. (Which means that I didn’t know most of them!) I did get to see them perform the Lilt, which is a dance that was performed by Highland women. I remembered performing the dance but I (sadly) didn’t know all of the moves to it.

Pumpkin Brown, the coffee shop I visited

I also had the opportunity to visit this little coffee shop! (And by opportunity I mean I wanted coffee and found the nearest shop to caffeinate me.) I started chatting with the manager and ended up interviewing her for an assignment for class. She was very charming and was more than happy to answer all of my questions. She didn’t even make me pay for the

A gluten-free chocolate raspberry bar and dairy-free hazelnut milk latte

]iced americano that I ordered! (I love the Scottish. They are very friendly, just like those people in my traditional Midwest encounters.) The shop was (wait for it) gluten free, vegan, dairy free, no refined sugar, 100% organic! I returned for a latte with hazelnut milk and a gluten free chocolate raspberry bar a different day. (Delicious!) It’s been very easy to eat gluten free here, which has been one less thing to worry about.


Emily McIntyre is a sophomore at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Marketing and Entrepreneurship with a Spanish minor. Emily is involved with several student organizations, including UMKC Enactus, which uses entrepreneurship to solve needs in the community. She’s looking forward to studying abroad this summer with the UMKC Honors Program in Scotland, where she plans to explore more of her family heritage and country of origin.

Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.

Eat Up

This was one of the streets in Newport. On the left is one of the Scottish museums and on the right (which you can’t see) is a bunch of shops. The streets are all made of cobblestone, which you will find throughout all of Edinburgh.

I set aside the homework for the day and went out to go shopping with some friends in my study abroad group. After a few hours we all had worked up an appetite from all the money we had spent and the miles of walking probably had something to do with it too.

We found ourselves in a part of Scotland called Newtown, which had more expensive shops and glamorously dressed people. We stopped at this vegetarian place called Hendersons. It was a cafe, salad bar, and restaurant all wrapped into one. We decided to do some fine dining that night and sat in the restaurant portion of the building. This was the first sit down restaurant any of us had been to while in Scotland.

The restaurant had a kitschy, homey feeling about it. It was dimly lighted with a flame candle in the center of each table. There were also fresh daisies in a vase along with a silver bucket full of silverware. On the far edge of the table was a little wooden square that held the drink and dessert menu. The tables and chairs were wooden, some painted a soft, baby blue color and others left with its natural pine, wood color. On the wall across from where I was sitting, was a painting of people out on the farm. Overall, the restaurant had a warm, cozy feeling to it that allowed me to relax and forget about time.

Once my eyes adjusted to the dimmer lighting, I looked at the menu. It was short and sweet. I was skeptical at first of going to a vegetarian restaurant as I tend to associate vegetarians with eating weird vegetables. And from looking at the menu there were a lot of things I couldn’t pronounce or even knew what they were. One of the items on the menu was Hasselback Aubergines. We all looked at each other like, “what’s an aubergine?” We googled it and it turns out it’s just eggplant.

This was the entire food menu at Hendersons. There weren’t many options to choose from.

One of my friends was daring and ordered the Hasselback Aubergines and the waitress asked us if we knew what it was. We told her “eggplant! We googled it.” She laughed and thought it was funny and explained that a lot of people come in asking what it is.

I decided on the Lasagna of the Day (which was vegetable lasagne) with potato wedges and green salad. I was starving and it was the only item on the menu I could fully pronounce and sounded safe, so I went for it.

This was my vegetable lasagna, salad, and potato wedges. So far I have found that Scotland’s salads don’t have dressing on them nor offer a dressing.

When the food arrived my mouth was watering. My plate was full of delicious looking food. A fresh, crisp salad on one side. Two giant potato wedges on the other. And a nice, big rectangular piece of lasagne. I dove in and took a big bite of my vegetable lasagne and boy was it good. I couldn’t tell you exactly what was in it since I couldn’t see much in the dim lighting, nor did I want to look close enough because if I saw a weird looking vegetable I would freak myself out.  So I blissfully and blindly ate my enormous plate of delicious food until I couldn’t eat anymore.

When everyone’s plate was clear the waitress came back and asked us all if we would like dessert. We all eagerly nodded our heads yes. The dessert in Scotland, I’m finding, is just too good to pass up. I got their blackberry pie and it was yummy. It was just the right amount of sweetness and the crust was soft, just how I like it.

This pie was deliciously sweet! The strawberry jam on the side was out of this world.

When we were done we got up from the table and went into the salad bar portion of the building where we had to pay. It was right next to the restaurant, just up a few small steps. There the waitress split up the check by asking us what items we would like to pay for and that was it.

There were quite a few differences I noticed in Scotland’s sit down restaurant than in the United States’. First, the atmosphere was calming and there wasn’t the feeling of being rushed to get us our food and get us out and on our merry way. I felt like I could have sat down there forever and no one would have minded. There was no rush or hurry in the service either. It was like everything was at a slower pace so you could enjoy your time in peace. Also, the waitress didn’t come to the table every five minutes checking to see if we needed anything else. The only times we saw her was when ordering drinks, to order food, once to see how everything was (when we all had finished), and ask about dessert.

If I was in the States eating at this restaurant, most would consider it poor service. The waitress hardly came by, the water wasn’t refilled and so on. Being a waitress myself, I know what Americans expect when eating out, and this was not it. We tend to always want the waitress in sight, glasses filled to the top, prompt delivery, etc. However, it was nice to not have the waitress around so often.  I got lost in time just talking, hanging out with friends, and enjoying great food. There was no rush and expectations from the waitress and it was refreshing.

Also, paying was at our own leisure. When we were ready, we got up to go pay instead of waiting for the checks to be delivered, swiped and returned. There also wasn’t any spot for a tip nor was a tip “required.” By the cash register, there was a small vase for tips that looked like would go to everyone and not just that one waitress you had. I felt like nothing was expected, you could enjoy your time and everyone was very kind.

I thoroughly enjoyed my dining experience at Hendersons and it is one of my favorite places I have eaten so far; I would definitely go back. Likewise, I loved how the service wasn’t rushed as I felt I enjoyed my time dining out much better.

I encourage you to go to a sit-down restaurant and try a new food you would never have tried before. Happy eating!

-Nicole Wilhelm


Nicole Wilhelm is a sophomore at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Nursing. Nicole is spending the month of July in many different cities in Scotland with the UMKC Honors College Program in Scotland. Nicole is involved in UMKC’s Campus Ambassadors, Swim and Dive Club, BHS Society, and Student Nursing Association.

Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.