Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Fun at the Forth and Clyde Canal

You may all be wondering at this point if I am on a really long vacation, or if I am actually going to school. Truthfully, it is a lot of school work, and a little bit of vacation every week. If I blogged about the school work you would all be bored out of your minds.  I know it bores me to no end.

I would also like to mention at this point that I expected it to be much rainier here. Yes, it rains a lot, and it is often cloudy, but the sun comes out too. I also expected it to be much colder, but have felt that the temperatures have been relatively mild (in the 40's and 50's) considering how far north the country is.

Classes are going well, I am really enjoying my weekly yoga classes through The Art of Living Society, and I am not getting any better at archery, but still having fun with it. I finally had time on a Wednesday to join Gary Brown of Student Tours Scotland on his weekly Glasgow Walk. This week, he took us on a walk along a portion of the Forth and Clyde Canal. A classmate of mine from China was also on the walk as were about 14 other students. I wasn't feeling well this day, but I'm glad I went on the walk. It was great to get out and see parts of Glasgow that I would have never known to go to on my own.

Some areas along the canal are being refurbished and old buildings given new life.

The canal is mainly used for leisure boats these days, though we didn't see any in operation during our walk.

We had some beautiful views with the autumn colors still going strong.

I loved the little purple flowers.

A hidden gem.

Not a great pose... but a nice background!

Part of the tour group and a lovely bridge.

Isn't Scotland beautiful?

The canal actually runs above the city. This is a view over a wall near the canal. Gary explained to us that for the longest time he didn't know the canal ran up here. He thought there were railway tracks where we were standing.

Not a bad way to spend the afternoon!

We have finally reached the locks. It took me a while to remember exactly how locks on canals worked. This system looked fairly complex. There were many locks, but I just took pictures of a few of them.

This is a view from a bridge. I couldn't see over the wall, so I had to hold my camera up and point it down to get the shot! (And so I could see what lay below!)

I think my tour guide is just the greatest. He is entertaining, a great storyteller, knows how to engage the students, and takes us to the coolest places for really, really reasonable prices (this walk was 1 pound = $1.60 plus the cost of the train which was maybe $4). BUT, he totally unintentionally ruined this awesome shot for me. About one second before I pressed the button on my camera to take this picture, he said, "Ok guys, let's go" and that guy did an about face and took a step right into my frame. I hope you can all appreciate what I see in the curvature of the trees and shrubbery and how the reflection in the canal gives the image a wrapped effect that looks surreal.

I know, I know - I can hear you, "Jess, why don't you just crop the picture?" Because it's just not the saaaaame! It would have looked soooo cool if that guy didn't step into the shot!"

See? You can tell it's cropped. It would have been so awesome to have seen the whole shot sans people. I could have submitted it to National Geographic for their photo contest and could have possibly won $10,000. Then I could stay in Scotland even longer. I can't hold a grudge against Gary for this though. He is the best tour guide in Scotland, and my favorite ginger.

And so, the walk went on. We must have walked 7 or 8 miles this day. We started at the GoMA in the city centre, which you may remember from one of my previous posts, and walked all the way out to the West End, along the canal, taking the train from Anniesland back to Glasgow Central Station. We passed these enormous, creepy-looking, no-longer-in-use old gas frames towards the end of our walk.

I sure had a nice afternoon on this walk. I was exhausted afterward and almost fell asleep on the train ride home. I hope you all enjoyed reading this entry!

Up next: My favorite day so far!

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