Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Exploring Aberdeen’s Granite Architecture

A short introduction.  Aberdeen is located in the east coast of Scotland.  It was previously a small fishing village but the discovery of oil led to its development.  I was lucky enough to have stayed in the area for a week because of an offshore medic course I had to take.  The average temperature was 10-12 degrees Celsius which was too cold for a Filipino like me. However, the place was very nice, trees seen along the street with well-maintained lawns of the surrounding buildings.  There were so many birds in Dyce (the town where I stayed), most of them are seagulls and twice I saw a rabbit in the street.  Awesome sight!  I walk daily to the training center, around 20-25 minutes, most of the time it was cold, so I have to keep my hands inside my coat pocket.   I can’t complain, I’m enjoying the sights and the fresh air.  The training wasn’t that easy because I am usually familiar with American medical guidelines, now, I am learning the UK guidelines.  During my free time, I explored the city center.

Aberdeen is also called the Granite City.  All buildings in its city center are made up of granite which they dug up in the middle of the city itself.  When the sun shines on these buildings, the granite reflects the light, making the building sort of ‘sparkle’.   That is why it is also called the ‘Silver City’.  The atmosphere looks depressing because of the gray color plus the gray clouds and the gray street, it should’ve been also called the Gray City.  However, the overall appearance looks very classy and sophisticated, the prices of the commodities are also very sophisticated

On my last day in Aberdeen, I made it a point to capture the beauty of the granite buildings and the castle-ish granite architectures.  I am always fascinated with castles, so here is my chance!  The city center is 30 minutes bus ride away from where I stayed.  The fare is 3.50 UK pounds round trip (around P245, hehehe expensive). 

St. Mary's Cathedral

I started my day with a mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral.  There were so many vacant seats, then I remembered, UK is mainly Anglican.  The mass was very solemn and everything is the same, from the prayers to the people’s responses.  Exactly the same, no alterations whatsoever.  What I was missing is the choir though.  As you can see, the church is made up of granite.  The locals said that granite is a very sturdy material, it can stand on extreme weather conditions.  It stays cool during the summer and stay warm during the winter. 

After the mass, I explored Union Street, this is the city’s main street.  I took lots and lots of pictures.

I saw another castle-ish type buiding, at first, I thought it was a church.  On close examination, it was really a pub/bar/restaurant.  Cool!

Church-style pub.
Marischal College is a magnificent piece.  It was used as a university but now it is where the government offices are located.  It is very lofty and the design is very intricate.

Marischal College

Look at the streets, how they are made is amazing. 

I was very happy because I found a department store/grocery which sells items for only 1 pound each.  I immediately ran to the chocolate section and bought me some Toblerone and Cadbury.  I was all smiles because I know if I buy them in duty free it would be very expensive. 

A fact worth mentioning, I have only eaten rice twice during my stay in Aberdeen.  I was able to find a KFC store though and ordered me some rice (purely Filipino at heart).

Seagulls conquer the city, you can see a lot of bird poop on the streets.  They just fly around and walk on the streets like there are no people around.  I had to get under the shade of a bus station because I’m afraid to have my hair wet with bird stool. 

Anglican Church

People were very friendly and the tourist information center was very helpful.  I was able to get a bus to Stonehaven (30 min south of Aberdeen) and saw the famous ruined castle of Dunottar.  It was really an adventure because I was all alone and that would be in another blog. 

I haven’t explored all.  My Scottish friend Johnny said I also need to see the music hall, His Majesty’s theater, museum and the central library.  Well, if I get lucky again, I will surely explore the arts side of Aberdeen. 

As what my Scottish instructor would always say, "See you again tomorrow, chaps."


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