By Holly Harestad
The past couple of days have been pa-aaacked! So here’s a little recap for ya: my friends and I, headed out the night of my last blog post for, my friend, Emma’s birthday! We went to the Ice Bar London and it may just happen to be my new favorite place. As soon as we got there, they handed us these huge parkas (may have to go buy one of those for the FREEZING Michigan winters) and we were SO toasty! Seriously, if I could eat and drink every meal in a room completely made of ice walls, ice sculptures, even ice cups, I would be so in. Note to self: look up Ice Bars in California for birthday. 😉
The next morning, three of us headed out (almost too) bright and early to see the Queen!!! I guess if I’m getting up that early for anything, she would be a pretty good reason! Lol. Her 90th birthday celebration was defiantly the talk of the town. As we arrived, there were already tons of crowds of people, waiting and pushing their way to the front. We ended up standing next to a couple that had been waiting for four hours already, and another family who explained to us that they would be waiting in their current spot for another four. (What we didn’t realize is the Queen, the Princess, the Princes, all leave Buckingham Palace, go to the Trooping the Colour for two hours, and then make their way back to do a final stand on the balcony – we were not about to stand there for four more hours o m g) However, waiting for an hour to see the tip top of the Queen’s lime green ensemble and half of Kate Middleton was good enough for me!!! (Side note: saw a Facebook video today, a guard passed out at Trooping of the Colour and all of the guards stayed completely still, didn’t look over for a second #dedication)
Sunday, we spent the entire day on the train (well…..five hours) traveling to Edinburgh, Scotland! We arrived at the University of Edinburgh, and headed down to our dorm rooms! It is such a beautiful campus, super clean, and free breakfast with lots of options!!!! (Favorite part, I must say)
Todays couple of excursions were both very informational! Our first speaker, Brian Baglow, has been working on video games for over 30 years. It was interesting to hear about his perspective on how much the gaming world is changing and evolving over time. The video game industry used to be all about selling a certain product and making that go viral in order to increase revenue. That entire perspective had to change, especially, when the iPhone was invented and the public was exposed to tons of free games on the site. The industry had to change how they were going to market and sell their games again once the “App Store” application that came a part of the iPhone. The app store allowed iPhone users to download all sorts of game for free and that really 360’ed on what the video game industries plans had previously been. Overall, he summed up that our world is changing constantly – and he believes it to be for the better and I totally agree with him. Although I am totally not tech savvy whatsoever, I think advances in today’s gaming, cellular, health, and all of the various types of technology will make very positive improvements for our world.
The last stop of the day was to Kinloch Anderson, an extremely popular Tartan-patterned clothing company that began in 1868. We had the opportunity to learn all about the famous kilt-making business and how, who and what really it is that they do. The lady that spoke to us was part of the sixth generation of owners of the company, and extremely proud of what they have been able to create, which they should be. The amount of effort, fabric, and time that is put into making one single kilt is unbelievable. (Which explains the average price to purchase one.) However as our guide stated, it is not a kilt you buy every year, it is something that becomes a family heirloom and can be passed down for many generations. She also spoke to us about the 7,000+ Tartan patterns that Kinloch Anderson has registered with their company to this day. In order to get your own family or business Tartan, you must go through a process of stating what relationship you have to Scotland, picking a pattern that is unlike any Tartan they have today, and going through other small details to ensure your Tartan pattern. The coolest thing that I discovered about their company was that they are the manufacturers of all of the Royal families kilts, dress pants, etc with their own Tartan pattern!
So, it has been a successful day! On a sad note, we only have about four more days left on this amazing study abroad experience. Positive note, we have such a fun schedule for the rest of the week and four days until we leave but four days until I get to see my family again!!! Can’t wait! 🙂