Trip Start Aug 28, 2005
31Trip End May 25, 2006
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After taking a train (which was SO nice) through the Scottish countryside, green fields (some white with snow) spotted with sheep, and some covered with nothing at all, I really knew I was on vacation. We got to Edinburgh, and checked into our hostel, which was the best hostel I have ever stayed at. The people were all so nice, the location was amazing (our window looked out on Edinburgh castle), and the atmosphere reminded me of a freshman dorm in college, people everywhere, music playing, talking, comfy lounge chairs, etc. We relaxed a little bit, then headed into the city of Edinburgh for dinner and then a midnight ghost tour through town. It sounded like it would be a lot of fun...and Scotland is supposed to be incredibly haunted from all the witch killings they did there. We has traditional Scottish food for dinner (I had sausage and potatoes), and hung out until our tour was supposed to start. We show up, and were a little thrown off by the guide whose name was Terri Crooger, and who was wearing full length leather outfit. I was thinking..."okay, it'll be fine. They'll take us under ground to see the old haunted part of the city, and we get a free drink at the end, it'll be fine." We continued to walk around the city, learning about the witch killings, where the center of the city used to be, as well as go to a torture museum to learn about the ways they would torture their witches
The next day, we got up, boarded a bus, and headed to St. Andrews. I didn't really know what to expect from St. Andrew's other than golf, the ocean, St. Andrews University (I wish I would have seen Prince William!), and knowing that a GU acquaintance studying in Florence this year fell from a cliff to his death there just about 3 months earlier. I was going with mixed-feelings to say the least. The bus was about 3 hours long, so was a nice little nap. We got there around 11, and wandered around. The city was so cute and small, and I absolutely loved it! It's the kind of touristy city where you don't need a map because everything you want to go to can be seen while standing in the same spot. After eating another amazing non-Italian meal, we headed to go the castle which was a "thumbs-up" from our guide book. It was closed for siesta, so we were able to walk through St. Andrews University campus, and it reminded me how much I miss being on an actual campus, with trees, walkways, people on bikes, etc. We walked to where we could see the St. Andrews golf course (didn't go that far from the city), and looked out at the ocean
We headed back to the castle, and reverted back to being 10 year olds for an afternoon! We went through a little exhibit about the history of the castle, and went around the ruins of the castle which looked over the ocean with the prettiest view I have seen in a while. Nothing. There was nothing for miles, just ocean, and it was great. We walked around the castle, then went underground to the tunnels that were used for escape routes by prisoners. They reminded me of the lava tubes in Bend, which mean you have to squat, crawl, get dirty, water dripping on you, and running into tons of people when there's not even enough room for you! I have TONS of pictures from inside the tunnel, and you'll see how much we enjoyed it! After the castle, we headed to the tower that our joint ticket allowed us to climb. Again, it was in a cemetery. In Italy, everything you do, and everywhere you go revolves round churches, in Scotland, it's apparently cemeteries. No wonder the whole country is haunted! This was an incredibly old tower left from the remains of a church once there. It was not too bad of a climb, and another amazing view of all of St. Andrews. It was gorgeous, and such a nice change
Once we got back to Edinburgh, it was again snowing, and time for dinner! We wanted something not Scottish and not Italian for dinner...something exotic that we can't get in Rome. We saw a fee Thai restaurants, but since the pound is so expensive for us, kept wandering. We eventually found a Thai restaurant, and got out of the snow. Probably the other coolest part of the weekend was being at the restaurant with Narissa, one of the girls with us, who's family is Thai, and she learned Thai from visiting her family over the holidays every year. She was speaking in Thai to the waitresses, and it was so amazing to see her in this aspect. We had our Thai food, which was such a nice change from Italian and greasy Scottish food, and were all happy. We were exhausted after a long day, so headed back to the hostel to hang out. We were in one of the lounges, and ended up playing trivial pursuit with an Australian who taught us all a few things. He knew so much stuff! Granted, we're still in college and he was about 35, but he was so smart! We sat around talking for a while, and retreated to bed in the Castle Rock hostel, which was the best hostel ever!
The next morning, we were bound to explore Edinburgh. We got up, and went first to the Castle. It was pretty cool, a lot different than the castle in St. Andrews. The castle in Edinburgh is still functioning, holds the crown jewels, and has free guided tours. It was nice taking a tour in English, which I could understand for the most part! We wandered around, took pictures, and then headed to get a late lunch, do some souvenir shopping, and head to the airport
Likes: Castles, fish and chips, Medieval churches, Scotland, crazy Scottish people, college campuses, being away from Italian food for a weekend, having the choice to pick between food choices, going into a store and having a conversation with a person where you know EVERYTHING they're saying to you, shortbread, British chocolate (Cadbury!), the ocean, green fields, being able to see the land surrounding you
Dislikes: Fake ghost tours, Scottish trains, Glasgow Prestwick airport, mid-terms, Ryanair,