This past weekend in Scotland was dedicated to exploring my hometown for the next 3 months. Some people arrived earlier than me last week and saw more of the town than I was able to. So a group of us decided to fit in as much of Stirling as we could from Friday until Sunday!
To start off our lovely weekend, we walked the 30 minutes to the base of the William Wallace Monument. We walked through the cutest part of town and met an elderly Scottish couple on our way back that was sweetly arguing about which one of them wanted to sweep the “dinny” or basement:) When we got there we paid our way and started the hike up to the tower itself. The hike only took about 15 minutes. When we got to the monument, there were some amazing views but nothing compared to the view from the top of the tower; especially after climbing up 246 very small, narrow, winding steps! We were lucky enough to be out on a Sunny day and could see for miles!
On Saturday we ventured into town to get to know the area better. Some people went to the shopping mall, Thistles, while others explored. We visited the Old Town Jail, which is beautiful (an odd thing to say about a building meant for incarceration). We visited the Church of the Holy Rude (very interesting name) which had an amazing cemetery ( I am slightly obsessed with cemeteries!) We ate lunch at a cute, hole-in-the-wall coffee shop called The Old Town Coffee Shop. They had great toasties (toasted sandwiches) but I was a little off put by their “milkshakes.” We had done a lot of walking and I thought I would treat myself to a milkshake. I ordered a chocolate one, as it is my favorite, and when she dropped it off at our table and I took a drink, it was literary just chocolate milk… No ice cream, no sweet creamy deliciousness I was expecting. It was still refreshing but a slight let down. Later that night we headed into town in hopes to do some karaoke at a pub called The William Wallace. It was jammed packed though and they were watching horse races and we had to leave if we weren’t going to buy a drink. We then headed into town to a pub called the Drouthy Neebors and we chatted up some guys that are third year students on campus. One was very nice (although he had a girlfriend) and his friend was a total prick who obviously hated us “simple-minded” Americans. We ended our night at the pub 20 Rocks where there was live music, a small but not crowded dance floor, and an upstairs with seating for people who just wanted to talk. It was a happy medium for me:)
Sunday was very relaxed. Amy and I headed to see Stirling Castle and again we got lucky with the sun, although the temperature was still cold:( It is a relatively small castle and courtyard compared to some but beautiful all the same. Parts of the caste have recently been renovated and restored and the murals and art work was simply breathtaking.
Now that the weekend is over, and my funds are much diminished, I am starting my first full week of classes. I am pretty sure I will have plenty of reading to keep me busy, leaving little or no time to go out this week:( But we are planning our trip to Edinburgh this weekend and then Glasgow the next:) Hopefully Iceland is in my future as well! With all the traveling I want to do, I am limiting myself in other spending areas, although it is hard when I have to cook for myself and pay for the bus and taxis. It is all new to me still but getting more and more familiar as the days go by. Although each day presents a new challenge, it also presents a new discovery; making it 110% worth it in the end:)