Today was another amazing day trip with the International Society – this time we went to Queensferry and St. Andrews for a day.
We met at the main gates of the university at 8:45am. I, naturally, chose Coach #1: the best coach. We set off for our first hour long drive to Queensferry in Edinburgh where we got to have a nice breakfast at small cafe with a beautiful view of two famous bridges, the Forth Bridge and the Forth Road Bridge. The Forth Road is quite famous in Scotland and is featured on the 20 pound note. Here are some pictures of that beautiful bridge. It may not be the Golden Gate, as our trustee leader noted, but it’s still a wonder of history and culture here in Scotland.
I figured out how to use the panorama setting on my camera (or smart phone that can only be used as a camera because all the other settings are disabled) and I became obsessed with taking panorama pictures all day. This is the first one: the Forth Bridge.
As well as taking beautiful scenic shots I like taking pictures of things that are too Scottish to be true, like this kilt van. You can see the kilt shop in the background if you look closely. This is real life.
Then we boarded our coach once more and spent the next hour driving to the famous St. Andrews: home of Golf, home of the third oldest university in the English-speaking world (the oldest in Scotland), and, in more recent history, where Prince William met wife Kate Middleton.
The first thing that we did upon arriving at St. Andrew’s was visit the famous sandy beach. This is where the first scene of the movie Chariots of Fire was shot! There were some really cool rocks which offered a beautiful view of the North Sea as well as some of the town in the distance. Of course, I took too many photos but here are all of them for your viewing pleasure:
The next thing we did was walk up to town along the shore to visit the St. Andrews museum. This had many historical artifacts and was the first of many places to boast about Prince William and Kate.
Of course, being the stereotypical theatre major that I am, my favorite part about the museum was the red robes that you could try on. Red robes are worn by undergraduate students attending St. Andrews (yes, like Hogwarts).
The next thing we walked by was the St. Andrews Castle. We didn’t go inside but we did get some pictures of the castle looking out to the North Sea. There was some “castle construction” going on, which I strategically tried to cut from my pictures, but if you look towards the edges you can see that it is there. It’s so weird to see the old mixed with the new in these places. Here’s my epic panorama:
And our cute group photo.
The next site we visited was the St. Andrews Cathedral. This cathedral is now mostly ruins. However the site suggests the building was the largest church to have been built in Scotland. This was one of my favorite sites of the day so naturally I took lots and lots of photos, for your viewing pleasure. This is the view from the outside:
And some fun pictures from the inside:
As we wandered around the Cathedral there were even more cool sites to see from the outside:
The next site that we stopped to see was the North Point Cafe. This is where Prince William and Kate Middletown used to meet up for coffee. This town is so proud. It’s probably also a big tourist draw. But let’s be real, where Kate met Will is way cooler than where Edward took Bella, so no shame pictures!
The cafe itself was very crowded probably because of all the locals and the international students trying to find princes and princesses to marry so we went to a fish and chips bar for a typical Scottish lunch. After our healthy meal we visited a bit of the university.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s beautiful. But…..it’s got nothing on the University of Glasgow. Cue flashback photo from earlier this week:
University of Glasgow is the most beautiful University I’ve yet to witness. AND I GO TO THERE.
Anyway, enough of my nonsense. The next site we saw was the West Port, a medieval city gate that is a welcome to the city centre, another example of the old meeting the new.
I finally took my stereotypical tourist picture inside of a red phone booth. These are everywhere in Scotland but I guess I just never got around to it until now.
Then we went to the Old Course at St. Andrews:
Like I said, St. Andrews is known as the ‘Home of Golf’ because the sport was first played on the Links at St. Andrews. This is the Swilcan Bridge, a small bridge on the gold course and a cultural icon for the sport. Many celebrities have taken photographs here so I did as well.
Finally, we looped back to where our day began, at the Sandy Beach. But, the Sandy Beach was not so sandy anymore. The tides had risen and the waves were giant. I took even more pictures of the beautiful views and we watched the waves for a while before heading back to the coaches.
I can’t even tell you how fun these day trips are. Every site I’ve seen so far has been beautiful and I would never do so much adventuring if I had been at home. I look forward to whatever next weekend brings!
On a final note, here are a few things that happened this week that I never mentioned so I will briefly tell you about them. Like I mentioned in a previous blog I live with lots of Brazilians. My flat houses three, but the street I live on probably has over 60. On Wednesday night I went to Boteco do Brasil, a Brazilian pub advertising a night of salsa dancing. The best part was spending time with these cool kids.
If you wander Glasgow you can find just about anything. On that same night I happened upon this:
…this is the closest I’ve come so far on my search for David Tennant. Pretty cool.
Besides these events I’ve visited a couple other pubs and clubs throughout the week, Grovesnor, Sanctuary, Brewdog. Like we were told on the St. Andrew’s trip: St. Andrew’s may be prestigious and brag about Princes and Princesses but it doesn’t have a nightlife like Glasgow does. Things don’t get boring here. And I love it.