Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Spring Break in Scotland

Last week, I met up with two of my W&M friends, Lauren and Maggie, to travel around Scotland. It was hanging out with two of my favorite people in one of my favorite places in the world; it couldn't have been better!
We went to Edinburgh, Inverness, and St Andrews, and Maggie then came back to Belfast to hang with me for about 36 hours. All in all, it was a whirlwind but absolutely fantastic trip. Here is the basic rundown of all that we did:

- met up in Edinburgh
- went to Rosslyn Chapel
- ate at the Elephant House (cafe where JK imagined and wrote most of Harry Potter)

- woke up ate 6:30 a.m. to hike the Salisbury Craigs and Arthur's Seat
- had tea and a scone at Holyrood Palace
- toured said palace
- brunch along the Royal Mile
- stopped in to the Museum of Childhood (per Lauren's request)
- toured Edinburgh Castle
- wandered through Princes' St Gardens
- walked up Calton Hill (thus in one day overlooking Edinburgh from three different high points)
- saw Greyfriar's Bobby - the church yard and statue - which was around the corner from our hostel
- got fish & chips at World's End

- took a tour of Mary King's Close (17th century street covered up by Royal Exchange)
- toured the inside of St Giles in daylight
- walked through the National Portrait Gallery
- caught the train to Inverness
- dinner at pub and caught the Chelsea v. Blackpool game (obligatory football match while in UK)

- bus/ boat tour of Loch Ness and Uruqhart Castle
- our tour included a stop at the Loch Ness Monster museum. It was... riveting.
- walked around the River Ness and islands along the river, this included time to skip rocks
- as it was Maggie's birthday, we picked up pizza and a cake to help celebrate
- we ended up hanging out with a crowd at the hostel, watching the Barcelona v. Arsenal match, and eating birthday cake

- caught the morning train to St Andrews via Perth/Dundee/Leuchars
- walked the Cathedral ruins and climbed St Rule's Tower with another W&M friend, Hannah, who is studying abroad at the university
- walked around the harbour and did a pier walk
- visited West Sands, put our hands in the North Sea, and saw a bit of the Old Course
- grabbed some gelato at Janetta's
- as it started to rain, we headed back to the hostel for some tea and biscuits and later grabbed dinner with another W&M friend
- we finished off the evening with a pint at The Raisin, my favorite pub in St Andrews for its eclectic decor and cozy atmosphere

- grabbed a fudge donut from Fisher & Donaldson
- wandered around St Andrews
- grabbed sandwiches from my favorite shop and hung out with Hannah
- caught the plane back to Belfast

During Maggie's time here in Belfast, we lived it to the fullest. We took a bus tour of the city, she got to experience Friday Fusion, and we visited some of the shops and the Ulster Museum. It was a pretty packed time, pretty representative of the previous week.

Food highlights from the trip include tablet, caramel shortbread, chunky pooh bear ice cream (honeycomb ice cream with chocolate), digestive biscuits, multiple scones, a fudge donut, an Ulster fry, a Scottish breakfast, and more. It was delicious. :)

Some pics highlighting the trip:

Pic 1: Overlooking Edinburgh

Pic 2: Following our epic climb of Arthur's Seat, much deserved breakfast of tea with cinnamon & pear scones at Holyrood Palace. (Yum!)
Pic 3: Edinburgh Castle
Pic 4: Along the River Ness looking back towards Inverness

Pic 5: On St Rule's Tower overlooking St Andrews

Now back to work! :)

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