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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.

Quien dice España, dice todo

Hello friends! Sorry I haven’t posted since I left I did not quite anticipate just how crazy life gets when you’re studying abroad. I’ve been in Spain for almost 3 weeks now and I am absolutely loving it. The first week I spent entirely with the group from UMKC, traveling on a bus from Madrid to Segovia, Toledo, Sevilla, Torremolinos, Frigiliana, Almuñécar, and Córdoba.

Frigiliana

 We woke up almost every day at 8 and spent the days exploring and walking around the cute towns and cities of southern Spain. We toured beautiful cathedrals, mosques, and synagogues and learned so much about the culture and history of Spain.

A random street in Madrid
The Royal Alcázar of Segovia

After a week of travel, we arrived in Granada around 1:30 on Monday afternoon where we met our host families and parted ways. From there I got set up in my new room and had dinner with my host family. I was surprised I could actually follow the conversation at dinner! That first week we spent getting ready for the placement test at the Centro de Lenguas Modernas building where we’re all taking classes. The biggest adjustment for me has been the lack of air conditioning in both public places and the home I’m staying in. Thankfully, my room has a little fan to keep me from dying, but most restaurants and bars I’ve visited have either had their air conditioning off or set to room temperature. Aside from that the differences are small; I get weird looks when I order ice to put in my coffee, restaurants, shops, and businesses shut down to take a siesta (nap) after lunch, dinner isn’t until 9:30, and lunch is the biggest meal of the day. But all in all, I think I’m adjusting pretty well to the Spaniard lifestyle, especially the naps! And having an amazing host family definitely makes this whole experience so much sweeter.

More to come!


Megan Schwindler is a junior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying English Literature and Spanish. Megan is spending the summer abroad with the UMKC Spanish Program in Granada, Spain.

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.