Before my last exam my last visitor came to Glasgow to see what I did the last months over here. It was this time a friend of mine that also studies history and I was glad I saw her again after all that time. Laurien arrived in the evening and after we dropped of her stuff at my flat we of course went to a pub to see a important part of Glasgow and Scottish life. The next day we decided to pros pone the tour through Glasgow and go with the train to Ardlui and walk a nice route of the West Highland Way. A train goes from Queenstreet to Ardlui and from Ardlui you can take the ferry across Loch Lomond. When we were we walked to Inversnaid. The weather was beautiful and so was the route. I already walked it a month earlier, but than it was raining. I took us 3 hours, with breaks to get their, and we walked in 2 hours back and had dinner in the pub in Ardlui. The next day we saw all the highlights of Glasgow and in the evening we went to the Dram. Also on Thursday there are musicians playing real Celtic music and it was a great last evening with her. The next day she sadly had to leave again, time just flies when you are having fun.
One of the most fun things we did in the weekend before my last exam was Queensday. After I ignored the Royal Wedding for the whole day to get some learning done it was time to celebrate our own Queensday. We met in Oran More and went to the Bierhalle, it was the most Dutch sounding restaurant/pub we could find. The pizzas where great, not expensive and they had all kinds of different beers. Overall a really nice place to be. Everyone was in Orange and that attracted some attention from some Scots, because they didn’t get why we were dressed up like that. Nevertheless it was a great night that ended in the ABC.
Before the exams I already planned a trip with four more people to go and see somewhat more of the country. We rented a car with easycar and drove the first day to Dumfries. This was a nice place but sadly it was raining a bit. Despite the rain we saw the Church were Robert Burns was buried and the people their were very friendly and explained everything to us. The next stop was Carlisle which also was a nice city with a nice castle. We had a nice dinner in a pub and after a busy day we decided to go to bed somewhat early.
The second day it was time to visit something more older than castles when we went to Hadrians wall, the Roman Army museum and Vindolanda. I knew about these places because, as an historian, I had lectures about them. Especially of you like to see some remains of the Roman Empire all three places are worth visiting. Vindolanda is famous for excavations (that are still in progress) were tableaux were found of people corresponding with each other. Therefore they are very valuable for us to understand how social life was in one of the border provinces. When we left these places it was time to come back to the present by visiting Newcastle. It is a nice city, with a lot to see, so we were quite active the whole day by visiting the Cathedral, the castle, the Angel of the North, the North Museum, Newcastle University and a real English pub.
The last day of our trip we left from Newcastle to go to Holy Island. When we came there the water was already rising (because it is only a Island when the tide is up) so we watch the road being swallowed by the sea. The next destination was Berwick, the most northern place in England that changed hands between the Scots and English at least fifteen times. We had a nice walk along the old defensive wall and saw the remains of the castle. It was a real nice village with a Medieval appearance. After this last visit it was time to go back home, to Glasgow.
For most of the people the exams were over when we came back from our Little Roadtrip. Only some people, like myself, were not finished yet. I had to write my bachelor thesis. Luckily I finished the first part before my trip and my supervisor said it was okay and I could work further. At the moment I am finally collecting and writing the part that is about Glasgow itself. It seems Glasgow was not one of the best places to live in the nineteenth century when it became the Second City of the Empire. However I found some interesting results in the fertility decline for my research and I hope I can finish before I have to leave.
The next blog will probably be my last one in Glasgow. I can only say I already start to miss the city a little bit and I am looking at it with different eyes, trying to remember every piece of it. Nevertheless some more fun things, besides my bachelor thesis, are planned: climbing, a visit to Arran and a lot of goodbye parties.