a saturday at slain’s castle [and other weekend notes]

The big event for us this past weekend was a trip up to Cruden Bay, home of Slain’s Castle.

Now, to set the scene, it’s important to note that the locals of Cruden Bay fondly call Slains Castle Dracula’s Castle as it is believed that Bram Stoker was so inspired by the Castle that it formed the basis for his most famous novel, Dracula. With that in mind, Lauren and I hopped on a bus and made the 50 minute drive up the coast on what was a beautiful and sunny Saturday morning. We arrived in Cruden Bay, and were directed to the castle by a very friendly clerk at the local gift shop. To get there, you have to walk down a trail through the woods, up a hill that overlooks the North Sea, and along the coast to the Castle, which is basically a huge ruin.

As we are making this walk, some clouds move in [coastal weather is so unpredictable], and a dense fog drops all around us, creating the perfect setting / mood in which to visit Dracula’s Castle. Even 100 yards away, you could only make out the silhouette of the ruins, and visibility out to sea was zero. It was kind of creepy but pretty neat all at the same time. It’s built more like a great old house, so you kind of wander through the halls and wonder what each room once held. There’s also a tower dating back to 1597 that is still standing with climbable stairs. The scariest bit was the stairs that run down to the base of the tower – who knows what’s down there.

Here’s a photo to give you an idea of the fog factor:

I will post a few more on ‘the stoop presents Photo Wednesday’s‘.

The fog did clear while we were still up at the castle, which allowed for better views of the rocky coast and sea. We made our way down from there and hit the beautiful Cruden Bay beach as well. Overall, it was a great little day trip.

The rest of the weekend involved some rest and relaxation in the form of reading and movie watching, ranging from a critically acclaimed masterpiece [Schindler’s List] to something a tad more whimsical [Step Brothers]. Eclectic movie taste, I know. We also hit up the best pizza place in the city, and I was able to participate in the church service yesterday, which was a great privilege.

I also tried to keep up with what was going on at the Evolving Church conference. The tweets and live blogs basically just posted the speaker’s best one-liners, but you can read the full transcript of Dan Oudshoorn’s workshop here. Well worth a read, but prepare to be challenged by it. I know I was.

Lauren and I teamed up to tweak the blog outline a little bit, with a new look for spring complete with photo header [currently featuring Slain’s Castle]. Lauren has officially added her name as a co-author of the stoop, so look for some posts ‘by Lauren’ in the future.

Today marks the beginning of the last week of class before the three-week Easter break. People say to me, ‘wow, you get three weeks off? that’s great!’ Trust me, it will be no picnic, as I have loaded up a to-do list that includes pounding out a 5000 worder and getting started with the opening chapter of my dissertation. However, we do have trips planned for St. Andrew’s and Durham, with a stop in Stirling as well, so there is much to look forward to in the coming weeks.

And that’s the word from Aberdeen on a Monday morning.

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