okay, so we all went as a family on a tour of the U.K. Dublin first (and that was a trip, albeit a great one: the streets in Ireland are too small, I drank a whole carafe of Irish coffee by myself for breakfast and got "caffeine poisoning" so bad I couldn't walk up the stairs cuz my leg muscles were wobbling, we ate a fantastic dinner at the Golden Palm in the Temple Bar while watching a drag show & accordionist in the street outside), then Edinburgh, then London. We stayed in a bed & breakfast in the "stewart room," which was done up entirely in Royal Stewart plaid.
There was a restaurant in the first floor of the b&b that served incredibly nasty gourmet food: we had a videocamera with us, and someplace there's a tape of my older sister reading out loud the room service menu in a posh british accent. There were items like this: "Bacon-wrapped medallions of venison laid on a bed of saffron rice, garnished with a marmalade-balsamic reduction"....ewwww.
Anyways, we went to see Arthur's seat one day. We had seen on Rick Steves that you could climb *up* arthur's seat. Unfortunately, we were on the wrong side to climb it correctly. But I climbed up it anyways...luckily I was wearing stretchy jeans and a comfortable outfit, because the climb is pretty crazy. It gets really windy near the top, and I had to grab at ledges covered with sharp-spiky little bushes...when I finally reached the top, it was incredible. I have tons of photos of the view--Scotland is really, really beautiful. Stark, and cold, but beautiful. It was exhilerating. The problem was, how do you get back down? Because there were tons of really slippery rock falls and the incline was so rugged that it was almost impossible to get down it safely. Then these 2 13 or 14 year old guys showed up out of nowhere, and they helped me climb down, I don't even know why, but they were lifesavers. When I finally got down to the bottom of the ex-volcano, my family was freaking out. "WHERE THE HELL WERE YOU!?!?!?!" they screamed, and I tried to explain that I was conquering my inner fears and obstacles through the symbolism of climbing up the mountain. They were really pissed: they thought (or knew, depending on how you classify my past examples of clumsiness) that I was going to fall down the mountain and bash my head on a rock or something. But I still feel proud of myself when I think about it.