About a year ago I took a Pilgrimage to Scotland with my church youth group. While there we made stops at Iona, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. On the first day we were there we landed in Glasgow where we took a two hour bus ride, followed by a half hour ferry ride, another busride, and lastly a final ferry ride before we reached our first destination. A small island off the coast of Scotland called Iona.
On Iona there was a church called Iona Abbey, which we attended regularly. This Church was founded in the 6th century. While we were on this island we lived in community, every day each of us were assigned a task to perform around the complex we were staying in such as washing windows or setting the tables for meals. Unfortunately I did not particularly like the food served here, but there was a Spar Mart five minutes away from our living quarters. Thus, my friends and I subsisted primarily on candy bars and Scottish soda for the week.
The two things I remember most were climbing Dun-I and the bet my friends and I made over who could stay in the water longest. Dun-I, or hill of Iona had an amazing view. It was the highest point on the island at three hundred thirty one feet. From the top I could see the entire island. Virtually nothing was blocked from view. I actually went up to the top twice. The second time my friends and I took the rocky path up. We climbed instead of hiking.
The other thing I remember was the bet I made with my friends Peter and Jeremy. We had a pound riding on who could stay in the frigid water the longest. We were all up to our knees in water that had to be close to freezing. We all refused to leave and just stood there for fifteen minutes trying to convince the others that a pound wasn’t worth it. Unfortunately we never got to see who would have won the bet as we were called in for a group picture as we neared the fifteen minute mark.
Sadly after seven days we had to leave, we went back the way we came to Iona, except this time, instead of stopping in Glasgow, we went to Edinburgh. While we were there we took an underground tour of Queen Mary’s Close. A close is basically an alley that helped make up a medieval city. These closes were typically plague infested dumps, where people would often dump their waste out of their window, as a result the lake that the closes were built into was constantly polluted.
I realized how good we have it in our century, without the plague or lakes infested with pollutants. The next day we ate lunch in a park, walked the royal mile, and toured a castle. After this we went to Aberdeen, where we spent the next two nights before finally heading home.
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