Our group was set to meet at the first hostel in Edinburgh, most of us having just flown here. Still, there was enough energy for tourism. The ISA agent took us to the top of Calton Hill, one of the most photographed areas in the city; and got us into Edinburgh castle for no charge to us. That night we had dinner out at an Italian restaurant, at our own expense. The menu was typical and familiar to all of us, with a few exceptions such as buffalo ravioli and haggis pizza. This was done a couple times throughout the trip, other nights we’d evenly split a grocery bill and cook something in the hostel’s kitchen.
The next day, we got right to geology. At 6 am we set out to climb most of Salisbury Crag to see one of Hutton’s unconformities. It was just a bit steeper than I was comfortable with, but since we started out so early we could afford to take our time. Once we found a good outcrop to see the unconformity, we had class. The teachers talked while bringing out maps that they had brought along, and we made notes in our field journals. Most of the stops were like this- find a good spot, take photos, discuss and take notes, and leave.
After climbing down, we headed to a museum with a geology exhibit. Some people went on to see the Royal Botanic Gardens. After dinner in smaller groups, some people went out for the nightlife while others rested to prepare for the next day, which would involve more travel by way of driving.
If offered the chance to do this again, I would take it in a heartbeat. There may have been a lot of walking, driving, and tiny hostels with equally tiny showers but I had a lot of fun. I got to see a lot of geologically significant places I might not have known to or thought to visit otherwise and got to do a little tourism on the side.
Megan Cuffe is majoring in Geology. She participated in a faculty-led trip to Scotland through the Geology Department in July, 2018. Megan had the following to say about her study abroad experience, “This trip both was and was not what I expected it would be. Scotland was more beautiful than I could imagine, and we were able to fit in plenty of fun and tourism on what was still an academic trip. On the other hand, the hostels were smaller than I wanted even though having to share space with strangers turned out alright. If I were to time travel back to when I chose to take this class, I would do it all over again without hesitation.”
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