United Kingdom- Ireland Discovery: Highland Games & Community Building

Day 1: The Calm Before the Storm 

We were all really excited about the trip. Spencer, who lives in North Carolina, arrived at the airport at 11am with no one else in sight for another 3 hours. This was his third trip with BBYO Passport, so he was mostly just excited to meet new people. When Izzy got to the airport, she was excited because she was coming with a group of friends she made on Trek West last year. For Sarah, on the other hand, this was her first trip. She was definitely a bit more nervous than the other two, wondering if she would make new friends and fit in. When everyone made it to the airport, we said our quick goodbyes to our parents and for the first time met our Counselors, Nikki, Katie and Drew. Our fourth counselor, Raphael, met us in Scotland. After some name games and airport instructions we made it to our gate and boarded the plane. Unfortunately, we were delayed on the runway for a while, but it turns out we had a chance to talk with our seatmates and Spencer learned he had quite a bit in common with music with on of the other teens, he was excited. Sarah played Jewish Jeopardy figuring out she had friends in common with her seat partner and Izzy was near two of her Trek West teens. Although it was a long flight, we were all happy with how the first day turned out and ready for the adventure to come.-Sarah G, Spencer, & Izzy

Day 2: A castle, a Crown and a Mile

Today was a marvelous day. Apparently, the weather was projected to be sunny and not rainy for the first time in a few weeks. We brought the luck. After getting our bags, we exited the airport and to the left was a HUGE sign that read EDINBURGH. So in group trip fashion, we piled onto the sign for our first (of many) group pictures. Packing onto the bus and we were off. There’s 45 teens, 4 counselors, tour guide and a bus driver, so packed was accurate!  Our first stop was Edinburgh Castle. The centerpiece of this old town. Amazingly we made it just in time for the Changing of the Guards. Honestly, I only thought that happened in England so this was a nice surprise. We went up to take some pictures at the cannons overlooking the city and then made our way to the Crown Jewels of Scotland. The room was dark and nobody could take a picture (I tried to sneak one but got caught right away 🙁  ). The jewels were huge and had to have been expensive. After the castle, some of us grabbed an authentic Scottish Ice cream. Honestly, it tasted good, but I have no clue what made it Scottish. Now it was onto the Royal Mole. A street that wound it’s a way through the city laden with shops and souvenir stores. We stopped at a set of hand prints. The one and only JK Rowlings prints. Apparently, she came up with and wrote the Harry Potter books right here in Edinburgh. Also, we found out the Queen was having a garden party at a place we walked by. We would have attended if we had proper attire (a kilt, and a fancy derby hat). Finally, it was time to head to our hotel for the night. We ate some dinner and sat as a group to go over the rules of the trip. After such a packed first day here, we can’t wait to sleep, as well as see what’s in store for the rest of the trip!-Jacob, Taylor, & Elias

Day 3: Kilts and Games Galore

We started the day driving through the Scottish countryside. The sheep and cows we passed looked hilarious and a bit different than what we were used to.  We finally made it to Sterling Castle up in the Highlands of Scotland. This castle was huge with a beautiful view. It was built to host parties for one of the Scottish kings. At the castle, we got the chance to listen to members of the Scotts College band from Australia. We roamed around the grounds for a wee bit, it was fun. Next was lunch at a super fancy hotel. Now full from our meal, we made it to our fun activity for the day, the Highland Games, which were similar to old-time Scottish Olympics. We all tried, some succeeded, most failed hilariously at the log flip, tire flip, boot toss, shot put, and hammer throw. One of the events we did a relay that we had to run with logs, then chug this weird tasting orange soda and run back. It was all weird but still so much fun. We traveled back to Edinburgh to visit a 4th Generation Scottish, Jewish kilt maker. We learned that his goal in life is to bring back men wearing skirts haha. He has made a ton of skirts for famous celebrities. After the kilt, we had some free time to shop for souvenirs. Back at our campus hotel place, we did some hinting and get to know you games. Another long day and we are all ready for bed. -Sophie, Jade, & Benjamin 

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