Tuesday, November 27, 2012

My Favorite Day: New Lanark

New Lanark

Just a couple of days ago, I had a nice walk along the Forth and Clyde Canal with Student Tours Scotland. Yesterday, I was able to go with C.A.C.T.U.S., the volunteer organization at Strathclyde University, to a daycare center in Toryglen to talk with the children about the Halloween party we would be throwing for them. I went around and asked some of the children what games they would like to play at the party. I needed a translator. I felt like such a foreigner. Not only had I never heard of the games they wanted to play, but I couldn't understand what they were saying, and I felt so bad. I asked one boy, after having him repeat what I heard as "Pahssa Pahssa" three times, if he could please spell that for me. He said, "Yes, Pay, Ah, Are, Say..." I looked over at a fellow C.A.C.T.U.S. member and said, "Help!" He said, "Oh, Pass the Parcel." I thought, "Of course!" I later learned that they are taught the alphabet in a more phonetic manner than we are taught in the U.S. The rest of the meeting went well and the children were excited about their party.

 My local made plans to take me to New Lanark to see the Falls of Clyde. New Lanark is a World Heritage Site located about 40 minutes southeast of Glasgow. It is notable partly because of social reformer, Robert Owen, who instituted welfare programs, cared about his worker's living conditions, providing them with good housing, and created an overall decent environment for them, which was unusual in those days. I just learned through Wikipedia that I have officially visited 3 of the 5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Scotland!

We started the day with coffee and breakfast in the cafe. (Cafe is not shown in this picture- but the waterfall sure is lovely, right?)

Off we go on our walk. It was pretty chilly in the morning with not much sun coming through, but I warmed up rather quickly while ascending the hills to see the waterfalls.

This mill village puts many that I have seen to shame. Restoration has been done on most of the buildings and there is a hotel, a youth hostel, a visitor centre, an educational ride, a roof garden, as well as residential buildings.

A boardwalk!

We are getting closer to the first waterfall. We came at the perfect time - I don't think the leaves could have been more colorful.

Warning: I am about to blast you with many pictures of the same thing. Again. You are sensing a pattern, yes? I know I can be indecisive, but I think you will appreciate all of these pictures. Of course, it was so much more beautiful to see in person, especially with my own personal "tour guide."

Of course you can take a picture of me by the waterfall! 
Doesn't this look like the backdrop from an elementary school picture? Mom - you know - the one with the well? ; )

Yes, another one would be great.

Hiking along and striking a pose.

Coming up to another waterfall!

An old, old bridge. Don't worry - there was a fence to deter any temptation of crossing this.

Getting closer to even more waterfalls!

You can see the dam in the background to the left of center. 

I was told that the waterfall was not running very heavy on this day, that it can be much wider.

I like the way nature makes mosaics with leaves.

I need to learn new poses. Tyra would not be impressed with me. A genuinely happy smile never fails to deliver, though, even if my scarf is wrapped up in my backpack strap. :)

My local thought this doorway was appropriate for a hobbit...

This was such a beautiful walk and I would recommend it to anyone who is visiting Scotland. We did not do the entire loop, as it would have taken about an hour or so longer (I think we were walking for about 2 1/2 hours). My fear of heights did not bother me much and the paths felt safe and were easy to navigate. It was so gorgeous and I'm glad I was able to have this experience.

Afterwards, we decided to go to the West End for a late lunch. We ate at Ubiquitous Chip and I thoroughly enjoyed my meal. I had a stewed lentil dish with a half pint of beer. My local got haggis and tatties, so I had my chance to try haggis, but could not, would not do it. I was, however, ready to try whiskey. It seemed a fitting way to end a lovely day. I let my local pick the whiskey for me, as I know nothing about it. He watered the whiskeys and we walked over to the fireplace and stood around the warm fire to sip our drinks. I tried mine with a tentative taste and he asked me if I liked it. I had to think about this... it reminded me of something... what did it remind me of? He told me, "It's ok if you don't like it." "It's not that I don't like it," I responded, "it's that it reminds me of something and I can't quite put my finger on it." And then my memory shot me back about sixteen years to when I was a curious teenager and tasted every liquor my parents had in the cabinet. (There wasn't much variety - applejack is the only thing I can actually remember tasting, and it was disgusting. I couldn't understand why people drank hard liquor because it tasted so awful). So, no, I didn't like the whiskey, but it made me feel warm and fuzzy and was something I had to experience while I was in Scotland.

Thus ends my favorite day in Scotland so far. Needless to say, I did not make it to archery practice that afternoon. The archery team usually goes to the pub after shooting, not before. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Falls of Clyde, part of Scotland's exquisite landscape, and I hope you, reader, enjoyed my adventure as well.

Up next: The Isle of Bute!

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