Friday-Monday was travel weekend and most of us went to Edinburgh. The city is beautiful: old buildings, cobblestone streets, history in every corner, skeleton trees everywhere. I stayed in a hostel with seven other girls, roommates and honourary roommates (plus some random other people) but you couldn't walk two blocks without running into one familiar face or another.
On Sunday five of us decided to go to St Giles' Cathedral for church. Surprise surprise, thirtyish other Capernwray people showed up too. The service was interesting to observe, but there was nothing to take away from it...nothing challenging, nothing deeper. Beautiful words and that was all. There were no families there and pretty much no one under age 60.
The best part was the pipe organ (I think when I get back I will begin a Buy ROS an Organ Fund) and the most amusing part was Communion. Capernwray laws strictly forbid drinking alcohol—and the wine was legit wine, not grape juice—and not everyone realised this until they took a large mouthful of it. Some people did better at remaining solemn and unsmiling during all this than others, I was one of the others :P
After that some of us went to The Elephant Café (J.K. Rowling once wrote in the back room, but the only evidence of this is a sign in front and HP quotes graffitied all over the bathroom) and shared a haggis. Jaimee pointed out that it tasted very similar to Capernwray food and this is terrifying.
Went to Greyfriar's Kirkyard and the National Museum of Scotland both of which are filled with awesome old things. And Covenanter-related things. Google the Scottish Covenanters if you haven't heard of them, it's fascinating. The Covenant was first signed inside Greyfriars' Kirk, and part of the churchyard was at one time a prison that held 1200 Covenanters before they were executed or deported.
And it was Halloween. Gabby and Harmony decided to buy some food and give it out to homeless people, so a few of us came along. We walked around the city for a long time amongst the vampires and Jokers and Frankensteins and handed out sandwiches. I saw the Phantom of the Opera and someone who was obviously Doctor Who even if didn't realise it. :P There was occasional creepiness but the atmosphere was mostly lighthearted, just people having fun.
Until we stumbled across a crowd in front of St Giles', with an enormous burning branch in front on a stage in the darkness, and dancers in black robes and masks in a circle leering at us. And then people started chanting or stomping or something and it became louder and louder, and Megan and I got separated from the others by the crowd and panicked for a minute before finding them again. Creepy. More than creepy. Oppressive. We slipped into the Starbucks down the street and sat about talking until they closed and kicked us out, and then came back to the hostel and rejoiced in its amazingly fast free Wifi. So that was Sunday.
The next day, other than finding six fake moustaches on the ground, everything was back to normal. And now we're back at Capernwray with dinner and lectures just as if we had never left, and it's raining just like it was on Friday...but it's good to be back.