Yesterday, January 21, I embarked on my first weekend excursion! It was a part of the University of Edinburgh’s International Student Center trip series, and for their first of the semester, they organized a trip down to St. Andrews.
One of my really good friends from high school is actually a full time student at the University of St. Andrews (hi Shy if you’re reading this!). He’s been my point of contact for the past few weeks and the one I have been bombarding with questions about living abroad since he’s been living in Scotland for the past 2.5 years! One of the things I was most excited for when coming abroad was being able to visit and travel with him. I had no doubts that I would be visiting him more than once throughout the semester, it was just a matter of when. Because he still wouldn’t be back from break by January 21, I considered not going on the trip and waiting until he came back, but the trip deal was too good. 18 pounds for transportation and tickets to the castle and cathedral, I couldn’t pass it up!
We left at around 9 AM and the trip by coach bus took around 1.5 hours. We got dropped off right next to the St. Andrews Cathedral. Having visited many cathedrals in the past, I was super surprised to discover that what was left of the cathedral were just ruins. It was built in the 11th century, and was abandoned in the 16th century. Although the weather that day was super gloomy, foggy, and cold, the ruins were still beautiful. We also went to the visitor’s center to learn a little bit more about the ruins, and climbed around 160 steps to the top of St. Rules tower to see a magnificent view of the city (my legs are still kinda sore). There was also some musicians who were filming a cover of Ed Sheeran’s song “Castle on a Hill”, and I couldn’t get the song out of my head the rest of the day.
Of course, we could not start off the day without eating, so we decided to stop by a little cafe that was on the way to the castle called Northpoint, which happens to be the cafe where Kate met Will for coffee! It was super quaint and cute, with wooden tables and chalkboards. I ordered a mocha and a cherry scone, both of which were to die for.
Next up, the castle! It housed many bishops of St. Andrews, and is located by the Castle Sands beach. My favorite part was exploring the underground mines, which were built by attackers of the castle in an attempt to besiege the castle. The defenders, however, built a countermine to try to confuse and stop the attackers. It was so cool because you could clearly tell a difference between the two mines, while the real mine was spacious, the countermine was narrow and unevenly dug. Let me tell ya, the acoustics in there were wonderful (my friends and I did a little bit of singing to some Disney songs to try it out).
We then stopped by the Old Course, the oldest golf course in the world! The view was beautiful and the grass was so so green. I’m not a huge golf fan, but it was still an exciting sight to see. We ended the day exploring the university, walking along some prominent shopping streets, and meeting up with one of my friends from my college who is studying abroad at St. Andrews!
Next weekend, I will be back at St. Andrews to visit Shy so we’ll see what my next excursion has in store!