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Gaining ground, perspective in Edinburgh


June 22, 2010



EDITOR'S NOTE: Throughout the summer, ASU students studying abroad will be writing back to the states about their overseas adventures. Fostering international student experiences is just one part of ASU's commitment to making a global impact.

Kitt's blog:
It seems like only yesterday that I blogged about the first few days of being in Dublin, and now, a week later, I’m in Edinburgh, wondering where the time has gone.

We have only about a week left of the trip. In fact, a week from now, I’ll be packing frantically – trying to fit all my souvenirs into my suitcase and lamenting the high cost of international shipping. It seems odd that the journey is wrapping up. I’m caught trying to be nostalgic for something that isn’t even over yet.

For most of last week, we were still in Dublin. In the afternoon, we went to the ancient burial grounds at Newgrange and Knowth. From afar, the sites look like hills or simple mounds of earth, covered over with stones and grass. However, they’re actually ancient burial mounds and temples. Knowth is over an acre and a half in area. Newgrange is more famous: it has a main tunnel entrance that lines up with the line of the sunrise on the winter solstice.

We also went to Glendalough, a pair of lakes in the wild of Ireland. They fiit neatly in the line of a valley – in fact, “Glendalough” translates to “valley of two lakes.” Hiking around the lakes took us through a fantastic, beautiful forest.  Both lakes were stunning, and the view up the valley was beyond belief. The day trip was well worth it, and the site was incredible.

We also spent time touring around the city, visiting museums and sites throughout Dublin. One of the best was the Writer’s Museum, devoted to the number of famous and influential writers who lived or worked in Dublin. Among them was the incredible Oscar Wilde. Wilde also has a monument dedicated to him in a nearby park, a lifesize statue of the author resting on a large rock. We visited the monument later on.

For the finale of our Dublin experience, a group of us went to see Wilde’s "The Importance of Being Earnest," which was playing in the Gaiety Theater. Stockard Channing, an American actress known for her roles in "Grease" and "The West Wing" (among many others) was starring as Lady Bracknell. The show was fantastic, and marked the fourth show I’d seen during the trip. The other three shows were in London: "MacBeth," "Spamalot!" and "Mrs. Warren’s Profession."

We finished in Dublin on Wednesday, then flew to Edinburgh the next day. I was lucky enough to be once again in the throes of illness. This time, I had an allergic reaction to my contact lenses, leaving me all but blind for three days. By Saturday, though, my eyes had cleared out enough for me to enjoy a hike around the city of Edinburgh.

Edinburgh is set around a large mountain called a crag. It truly embodies the word “crag” in every way – imposing cliffs jut out into the city and provide a breathtaking view. The crag is what remains of an extinct volcano. The highest point is called King Arthur’s Seat. It takes about an hour to climb to the top, and the view of the city is stunning.

Kathrine (Kitt) Keller, a creative writing major, will be a senior this fall. She is studying abroad in London, Dublin and Edinburgh this summer.