I feel pretty bad that I haven’t posted in two weeks, but I have a legit excuse for my extended absence from the blogosphere. It’s been the busiest two weeks yet, with my family coming last week, classes finishing this week, and coursework due today and next Monday. And to keep the countdown going, we’re at 3 weeks and 2 days left in the land of the Scots.
So I met my family in London 2 Saturdays ago for the beginning of their trip overseas. People think it’s easy to get from London from St. Andrews seeing as we’re on the same island, but it’s actually just as hard to get to London as it is to get anywhere else on the continent. Had my family not been going there, I don’t know if I would’ve made the trek down there again, so I was happy I had the chance to go there for a second time.
When I had gone in November, I saw most places chiefly from the outside. I’m cheap and when you’re trying to get through a big city in two days, it’s not worth the time or money to go inside. This time, though, my mom bought this sweet deal called the London Pass, and for around 70 bucks, it gets you into a ton of the major attractions. So I actually got to go into the Globe Theater, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London, the London Bridge, and some other cool stuff. We even sprung for a ride on the London Eye (which is that massive Ferris wheel), and unlike last time when it was raining, we were able to see the changing of the guard. So all in all, London round two was pretty successful.
I flew and my family took the train back to Edinburgh on Tuesday. I was glad I finally made it to Edinburgh and it’s pretty pathetic that it took me this long to get there. It’s one of those places that’s so close, you tell yourself you have plenty of time to get down there and then keep putting it off, and then its 8 months later and you still haven’t seen the capital of the country you’re studying in. We stayed in this sweet bed and breakfast called the MacDonald House – good people, really good food, and a good location. If anyone’s studying in Edinburgh next year and are planning on having visitors, I’d recommend you have them stay at this place.
Edinburgh’s relatively small for a major city and the only thing I was really concerned about seeing was the Castle and the Royal Mile, which we did the first day. (By the way, having seen the Edinburgh Castle, I have now been to every major landmark on my top banner – not too shabby.) We took one of those hop on hop off tours which was great because not only do you get to see things you may not have known about before, you save energy because you don’t have to walk everywhere. In cities that don’t have an underground, it’s a legit replacement. We also spent a lot of time at this pub called the Conan Doyle up the street from where we were staying. It had the cheapest, yet best food I think I’ve honestly had since coming to Scotland, and it had a pretty sweet selection of beers to top it off.
My family spent their last few days of the vacation here in St. Andrews. I played golf with my uncle both days while my mom, aunt, and sister gave themselves a little self-guided tour of the town. If you’re coming to St. Andrews and you’re a golfer, it’s pretty much a sin not to play the Old Course, so I was able to get my uncle and I a tee time on Saturday morning at 7:50 (interesting story I’ll tell in detail later). After the round, we drank plenty of jigger ale and smoked some cigars, as you do when finished the Old. We went to the Anstruther Fish Bar Saturday night, crept around the cathedral and castle ruins Sunday morning, and they were off.
Saturday morning was also May Dip (hence the interesting story about our early tee time). Basically, everyone in St. Andrews crowds down at one of the beaches at 4:00 in the morning and dives into the arctic water to wash away the sins of the year in preparation for finals. Traditionally, most people stay up all night, making sure they have a nice alcohol blanket before they head to the beach. Seeing as I had a 7:50 tee time on the Old and I wanted to be functioning, I slept til 2:30am, drank enough Tennants (our Bud Light) and Red Bull to make me forget I was running into water that had already put people into a state of shock, got in and out by 5:45, ran back to my dorm to get the blood flowing again and to clean out the sand, and made it to the course on time ready to go at 7:20. Needless to say, I passed out early that night.
This week has been pretty lame, not going to lie. I finished classes and today I handed in my last essay for Medieval Castles. I have one more essay for Anthropology due on Monday, and then other than finals, I’m done.