RingCon 2011

Last week I traveled again to a very fascinating place… in Germany. Though, it wasn’t the location that made it fascinating, but the event: RingCon 2011. It was my second time on the famous Fantasy Convention and I looked forward to escape reality for three whole days!

Arriving on Thursday evening in Frankfurt, my journey continued on Friday. Me and my sister drove to Bonn, where RingCon takes place since already ten years. One main part of the Convention are the panels with the stars from movies such as Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter or Twilight. My this years favourites (besides Mark Ferguson and Lori Dunge) were Jonathan Harding (LotR), who also introduced his fantastic new album, and Tom Felton (Harry Potter).

Besides the panels, there is also other entertainment  going on such as the Stunt Show or the Talent Show. We also saw a nice, wacky performance with the film characters from LotR… But this time, they were female and very hairy 😉

But I think, the most fun experience for me was the Film Make-up Workshop. Although I’m not really into all the vampire/werwolf stuff, I really enjoyed „playing“ with the fake blood. Especially, as I’m currently taking part in the production of a zombie movie at university.

After a very nice weekend in Germany (or rather in the parallel universe „RingCon“), I returned to Edinburgh on Sunday. But before we left Bonn, I met another nice creature, the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland.

In this spirit, goodbye and keep smiling 🙂

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The Shetland Islands (Part 2)

Day 3: Lerwick => Aberdeen => Edinburgh

Having survived the cold night, we all felt prepared for a further day on the Shetland Islands. Today we wanted to discover the Southern Mainland. After grabbing some food at our beloved supermarket Tesco, we hit the road. On our way we had a funny experience, because when you want to go to the Soutern part of the Islands, you must pass Sumburgh Airport, or I should rather say you have to cross the roadway of the airport. I imagine that’s a nice thing, when an airplan wants to land ;).

We visited the prehistoric archaeological site Jarlshof. It reminded me a little bit of Hobbington, as the grass was so green and there were so many entries to underground „houses“. Lucky enough, the sight closed offically one day ago (we had the 1st of October). But due to the good weather, we could go there and didn’t have to pay 🙂

At the entrance of the parking lot, we had seen some Shetland Ponies (yeah, not the first ones on this weekend) and decided to make a short stop on our way back, so we could say that we touched „the original Shetland Ponies“. And we did… These are the two Sweeties. Now I only need to find a Highland Cow and I’m happy 😉

After the ponies, we wanted to see some more „wild“ animals and contiued to the most southern spot of the Mailand, Sumburgh Head, to get a glimpse on the seabird colony. Unfortunately, we saw no puffins and the dolphins stayed away, too. But the view was nice and we could visit another lighthouse. But what would an island be without a nice beach?! So, next stop: St. Ninian’s Beach. But before we got to the „real“ beach , we stopped also at another one and I was able to test the water of the North Sea.

As you may guess: YES, my right foot got wet as well :P. The special feature of the beach was that we saw two seals, which came very close to the shore – nice compensation for the absent dolphins. Afterwards, we continued to St. Ninian Beach. And this one is really nice, because it connects the Mainland with an small island. We walked up the hill of the island and made our way to the far away cliffs (using an „inoffcial“ way: a sheep-run). I can’t really describe, how beautiful this place is. So I will let the pictures speak for themselves 🙂

Now that we had seen the East, the North, the West and the South of the Mainland, we had only one goal left: Finding a nice place to eat. We went to Scallowway and then to Lerwick, but the series of the „bad-food-on-the-road“ continued and it wasn’t really a pleasure… So I will just continue with our preparations for the ferry, on which we checked in at around 6.30pm.

We left Lerwick and spent the way back in the same way we had spent our journey to Lerwick: Drinking beer and playing „Yaniv“. As we had to get up at 6am, we went to „bed“ (the sleeping seats) at around 12am. Thanks to the stormy night and the sleepless nights before, we all slept more or less well. Finally, we arrived in Aberdeen again, indulging us in a Scottish breakfast.

The trip was wonderful and due to the nice taxi-driver in Edinburgh, I arrived at my 11am class on time. Cheers 🙂

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The Shetland Islands (Part 1)

Day 1: Edinburgh => Aberdeen => Lerwick

Directly after my Friday morning class, I headed to the Waverly Station to catch my train to Aberdeen. The ride warmly reminded me of Germany (in the truest sense of the word), because the air condition in my coach was out of order and as the last few days were surprisingly warm, I was really sweating. Finally, I arrived in Aberdeen and met with my friends, who already drove there in the morning. As it was already 5pm, we headed to the harbour and a short time later, we were on the ferry. At 7pm, we left Aberdeen, standing on the windy upper deck.

As we had a long ride to go (12 hours), we went inside, had dinner and afterwards went to the bar. Provided with beer and a deck of a playing cards, we spend the remaining evening drinking and playing „Yaniv“. The time went by very fast and around 12/1am, we decided to go to our sleeping seats. Most of the other passengers already laid on the floor, so it was obvious that the seats weren’t as comfortable as I hoped they would be. It took around two hours till I finally managed to sleep. At 6.30am we got up again to get ready for the breakfast. Re-energized by bacon and toast, we arrived in the harbour of Lerwick, the capital of the Shetland Islands.

At the harbour we got our rented car and started our trip. The first stop was a spot in the North of the Mainland (Eshaness), where we could marvel at the beautyful shore of the Shetland Islands (and climb some cliffs:P).

Back at the car, we decided to have lunch before our next stop and went to Brae. I chose the Scottish Salmon in Lemon Butter with Chips, yummie 😉 Afterwards, we continued to Muckle Roe (or as we called it „Maccaroni“) and started our tour to the lighthouse with stops at a little beach and various tops of different hills (mostly going off-highway).

The hiking was really exhausting, but finally we arrived at the most ugliest and least spectacular lighthouse I have ever seen (funny enough, nobody took a picture of it). But nearby was a little bay, where we saw two seals 🙂

For the night, we had chosen a „Böd“, a former store for sail fishing boats‘ gear, which is now used as really rustical guest accomodation (http://www.camping-bods.com/Sail-Loft-g.asp) – without heater! After buying some food for dinner, we arrived at our doss. Being totally tired from the journey and the first day, I only wanted to take a hot shower. Although there was a water heater, the shower was really… „refreshing“. But to get rid of the whole sweat was perfect 😉 After our dinner, we moved to one of the small rooms of the Böd (with a small stove), drank wine and warmed us at the fire. It was really cozy and a nice experience. It reminded me, how lucky I am having so much luxery in my everyday life. Later on, we decided to stay in the room (to surive the night:P).

After a very cold night and a good breakfast, we started again. Our destination for the second day: the Southern Mainland. Welcomed by the sun, we were of good cheer, looking forward to see more of the Shetland Islands.

To be continued …

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Picture(s) of the Day

I didn’t want to keep back this funny picture from you, taken by a friend of mine near Leith. A really nice edition of the Mini, I think, and reeaallllyy Scottish 😉

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Climbing Arthur’s Seat

Edinburgh is a great city and offers its visitors a wide range of entertainment and places of interest. I think one of the most fascinating things about Edinburgh is that when you head down the Royal Mile (leaving the city centre), it takes you only around ten minutes and suddenly you stay in infront of this beautiful hills. One of them is called „Arthur’s Seat“ and yesterday me and some of my friends climbed it (top on the left).

We started walking up the path, which was not that steep, but as I haven’t done any real sport abroad yet (shame on me!), it was kind of a challenge for me 😉

Nevertheless, we made it to the top. It was so windy up there that we really had to watch out not to get blown away and to fall down the rocks. On the top of Arthur’s Seat you can find a pillar with a small hole. It is said that leaving some change there will bring good luck. So I put 10 Pence there and hope that my time in Scotland will continue to be as fantastic as it is right now.

After our climb, we went to one of the grassy plateaus and had a nice picnic with white wine, sandwiches, cookies and fruits (we really deserved it!).

Following our picnic, we went down the hill for a pint of beer in one of the numerous pubs in Edinburgh (we deserved that too… really!!!).

Goodbye, Arthur! I will definitely visit you again, before I leave Scotland. So far, cheers!

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Picture of the Day

This morning I completed one of my owing „To Dos“ for my stay in Edinburgh: Having a Full Scottish Breakfast. The traditional cooked dish consists of several things, as you can see on the picture above. This is eggs (scrambled, fried, or whatever), sausage (I had a squared one), black pudding, bacon, baked beans, hash browns (not to be confused with „hash brownies“ ;)!!!), and half a tomato.

Except for the tomato I ate everything – or rather tried everything. The baked beans were surprisingly delicious. Also the squared sausage tasted good, although it looked disgusting. I even tried the black pudding (while trying not to think about, what it’s made of).

Probably it won’t become my favourite breakfast, as it is very heavy. But it was worth a try and now I can check one of the numerous things I wanted to do, while I’m in Scotland!

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Weekend trip to the Highlands

Day 1 – Heading to the West

As Monday was a national holiday in Scotland, me and some of my friends decided to use the long weekend to explore the Highlands. Starting at 12 am on Saturday with three rented cars and 14 people, we headed to the west coast. Our destination: Fort William, famous for the highest mountain of the UK, the Ben Nevis.

Most of the time of our first day we spent in the cars, because the distances are very long and the speed limits frustrating. Nevertheless, we could experience the beauty of the Highlands on our way to Fort William.

Surrounded by mountains, Lochs and typical Highland animals – such as sheep and my beloved highland cows – we finally reached the west coast. In Fort William, we checked in at our Hostel and explored the famous backpacker city. Of course we also tried out one pub in the evening 😉

Day 2 – The Isle of Skye

Waking up in Fort William, the sun was shining and we started the day with a nice breakfast. Around 10am we continued our journey.

Our first stop was Glenfinnan, famous for his monument and the aqueduct (set for several Harry Potter-movies as railway of the Hogwarts Express). Besides these two special features, Glenfinnan has a really beatiful surrounding.

Our second stop was Eilean Donan Castle, where parts of the Highlander movie were shot.

After a late lunch, we finally arrived at the Isle of Skye. A beatiful Island, located at the Scottish west coast. Starting a round trip, we had a short stop in Portree, a nice little village with a small harbour. Then we continued our tour, but finally decided to break off and head to Inverness, because it was already very late.

We arrived in Inverness aroung 10.30pm.

Day 3 – Loch Ness

After a short night, we continued our tour with a quick visit of Inverness. Then we went to the final destination of our tour: Loch Ness. From famous Uruquart Castle, we had a great view on Nessie’s home and the surrounding.

In the Nessie Centre we took part in a tour, dealing with years of „Finding the Beast“. A quite funny and interesting exihibition.

In the late afternoon, we started our way back home. Aroung 8.30pm we arrived in Edinburgh. Exhausted, but totally happy for having seen the wonderful Highlands 🙂

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