Wednesday, January 22, 2014

St. Andrews

I went on a rainy adventure on Sunday. I got on a moving vehicle for the first time in two weeks! We walk everywhere in Scotland. Literally EVERYWHERE. I'm going to have killer legs when I return to America. We paid 6 pounds return to board the bus headed to St. Andrews and I tried not to think about the cars coming toward us on the wrong side of the road. Seeing backwards traffic literally makes my brain hurt. I've lived with the other way for so long! Someone is going to need to teach me how to drive again. 
We arrived in St. Andrews around 11 AM and went straight to the beach. We did pass the St. Andrews Links golf course, the oldest in the world, but I went back later in the day to get proper pictures. I found a few seashells on the shore of the rocky beach and pulled my hood up to stave off the wet wind. 
From there we wandered down the street until we found an alley that led us to the University of St. Andrews! It was so amazing to stand in a quad that was 600 years old. The University began in 1413 and to walk where Kate Middleton and Prince William walked was legendwaitforitdary. 
The castle was next on the agenda and, before entering, I picked up a few things in the gift shop. Couldn't forget about my golf lovers back in America (looking at you Didi and Nathan) or any of my other friends. The castle was in ruins, but the ruins were spectacular. I've invested in a Historic Scotland castle pass which gives me free entry to most castles in the area, as well as a percentage off in their respective gift shops. The membership will more than pay for itself. The bishops that resided in St. Andrews castle had a magnificent view of the ocean crashing and the dungeon still survives today. 
A short walk later, we arrived at St. Andrews Cathedral. It is also in ruins, two towers with a massive graveyard in between. St. Rule's Tower, literally right next to it, predates the ancient cathedral and houses the bones of St. Andrew. 
Nat and I packed a picnic lunch because we're really into saving money and spending it on more trips instead of pub food (aka we're total cheapskates) so we searched for a dry place to eat. We ended up near the University library under a tunnelled alleyway. Sitting down made us far colder, but at least we were out of the rain!
We found the St. Andrew's museum and spent a few minutes in the tiny building. The highlight for me was the plaque commemorating the visit Will and Kate made to their alma mater. Yes, I might stalk them in London when I eventually get there. 
We backtracked to the St. Andrews Links Golf course and I took pictures of the famous greens of the Old Course and the Swilcan bridge connecting the first hole with the eighteenth. We took advantage of the Rolex-adorned clubhouse (yes, the outside clock on the wall of the building was a ROLEX) and used their facilities where I may or may not have stolen a paper hand towel with the Links seal printed on it. We also meandered around the gift-shop where "Stacy's Mom" played over the sound system. In the oldest, most prestigious, golf course in the world. 
We followed the roar of the ocean past the giant dunes where we found WEST SANDS! The location for filming Chariots of Fire. We obnoxiously hummed the famous tune and I ran in slow motion down the sand. No, we're not tourists, we're students. 
We'd lost a huge chunk of our group at that point so we decided to walk into town and check some pubs. We know our new friends pretty well. We were distracted by a cupcake and macaroon shop and vowed to come back on a sunnier day to taste them. If I hadn't purchased souvenirs as gifts I would have only spent 6 pounds today, just for the bus. I think I can swing a return trip to get a chocolate orange cupcake with a chocolate orange slice on top. Drooooool.
Giving up on locating the rest of the crew, my frozen toes urged me homeward. We boarded a return bus and were soon Dundee-bound. 
It's been a process to find a balance in Dundee so far. On the one hand, I want to see everything there is to see and experience in Dundee, and that involves spending time with the wonderful people I've met. But on the other hand, I'm only here for 5 months! I also feel the need to explore and take trips. It's the best when the two can combine and A Very Lucky Girl can travel and bond.

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