Our Twenty Third Year - A Season of Giving.

Scotland Memories

This day was marked by several people off in different directions; golf at St. Andrews, bus tour North of Edinburgh, or just relaxing in Edinburgh. Here are a couple of their stories.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006 - written by Cindy Jean

Pat and Ken Neyens, plus Rolllie and Cindy Jean had the time of their lives Tuesday, August 15th. Chris (tour guide) made arrangements for a taxi to transport us to St. Andrews early Tuesday morning (7:00). We left our Halls of Residence and headed out of Edinburgh. Chris (taxi driver) made a little side trip to take us by the school that Tony Blair attended, quite impressive. We then crossed the river Forth and into Fife. Since we were up before breakfast, we made a quick exit for coffee and a roll at a BP station. The journey took us through beautiful, rolling farmland. There were lots of rolls of hay, stone fences and even saw a deer. We arrived in St. Andrews well before our scheduled tee time, so Chris took us by the Old Course. Things were not too busy at that time of day, so we walked out onto the 18th fairway and had our picture taken on the famous stone bridge. What a glorious sight: the ocean, the clubhouse and surrounding buildings that we've seen so often on T.V. at the British Open.

Chris then deposited us at the course we were scheduled to play, the Eden Course. This course is right next to the Old Course. We had scheduled to hire caddies and were we ever glad. We would probably still be wandering, lost on the course! Our four caddies were delightful, Chris, Collin, Harry and James. They carried clubs, found lost balls, raked the pot bunkers and tried their best to keep us out of trouble. It was foggy, chilly (upper 50's) and a strong wind off the sea. Just a perfect St. Andrews' day! We completed our round in scheduled time, 3 Hours and 53 minutes. The marshal warned us once to speed up play, but then came back around and said, "Jolly good, we had caught up, so now we could relax."

After our finished 18 holes, we ate lunch in the clubhouse, and savored the moment. We called for a taxi and met the bus, loaded our clubs once again and then continued our taxi ride to join other members of the Chorale that were in town.

It was a GREAT day, and memories to last a lifetime.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006 - written by Russ Hanegan

We left the residence halls about 10:15A.M. to travel, eventually to St. Andrews. The day was overcast - a little chilly - perfect for Scotland. Not all chose to go on this trip. Some went earlier to St. Andrews to play golf (Rollie, Cindy, Pat, Ken). Others stayed in Edinburgh for various reasons. However, this trip revealed a side of Scotland we had not seen. We had seen rolling, often steep hills, but this east side of Scotland was much flatter - good for agriculture and breeding and raising livestock, including deer and horses. Many miles of fields filled with hay, maize(corn), cabbage, kale, brussel sprouts and other vegetables. Alot of the discussion as we traveled involved what could and would not be taken on the plane when we left.

Our first stop was Leith Mills Outlet where we had time to shop from a wide assortment of clothing and household items, books, luggage and sporting gear. I happened to be next to a rather distraught husband who's wife had come out of the shop- looked around a minute- and then went back in. Shop til you drop - or until the bus leaves.

Our next stop was in the beautiful town of Elie via the huge and wondrous Queen Anne's Bridge. Elie happens to be home to Jean Redpath, whose house faces out to the North Sea.Having no place for the bus to turn around, Chic had to back quite away up this steep, narrow lane, with Chris acting as lookout. No room for error here! He's the best!

We arrived in St. Andrews about 1:30 P.M. The University here is the oldest in Scotland. We had 2-3 hours to browse, shop eat or whatever. The ruins of the ancient cathedral were quite interesting, particularly the inscriptions on some of the tombstones. We finished our free time, picked up the golfers and headed back to Edinburgh. I asked Rollie how his game went.He just looked at me.

As we were approaching Edinburgh, the clouds began to break up and beautiful sunshine appeared. Quick change before our trip to the dinner playhouse. My roommate, George, saw some of the students from Champaign Central High School's drama team who were also there for the Fringe Festival.

Several international tour groups fille the many long tables at the Prestonfield playhouse/restaurant for a delicious gourmet meal. (Angus beef or Scotish Skye salmon were the entrees). Many heads of state and celebrities have stayed at this hotel, refered to as "Scotland's most indulgent retreat". We retreated from the theater at intermission of the fine variety show, which included bagpipes, accordians, music, dance, and a HAGGIS ceremony. Steve "twinkle toes" Ater was picked by one of the beautiful lasses for a spin on the dance floor. Good job Steve - well done! An early , early departure tomorrow, and a farewell gathering yet to come, prompted us to leave when we did. In addition to missing the entertainment, we also missed sampling some haggis and buying aged scotch at $7-$9 per glass.

Indeed, this was a good move. The gathering in the lounge area on the second floor of the John McIntyre Center on the campus of Edinburgh University was a great culmination of our journey. Our tour bus driver Chic, and tour director Chris were thanked monetarily, verbally and very robustly for helping to make this a wonderful experience. Ginny then began her masterwork; which included "great" works from herself, Susan and Kate, among others. A surprise guest appeared - a travel expert and tour director with an agenda for our next excursion. Where? you ask. How about NEPAL! Everyone roared as Sahib Kent, with his mid-eastern accent, regaled us with his plan to have us travel by ox-cart, and dine on yogurt through the Himalayas. (you may want to reread Fri 8/11 trip to Iona for a bit of clarification).

As the evening went on, Jean Redpath was warmly thanked and adored by all.And, what could be done for Julie? How about wine, and a bouquet of flowers, and a "priceless" t- shirt bearing a message something on the line of "if you think anyone can learn to sing, try teaching a pig". Also great thanks and appreciation given to both Julie and Allen. For our own benefit, as well as for those who had stayed in the lounge, we ended by singing a couple of our "memorized" pieces. Many "thanks", "good-byes", and "best wishes" were passed around. Bit by bit people left, to pack or sleep or reflect on the tremendous time we all experienced.

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