Today was the near epitome of the perfect day trip in Scotland. The only thing I would have traded would be the windy, freezing weather for warm sunshine and a light breeze. But, let’s be real, this is Scotland and for the past couple of weeks we who are new to the UK were blessed with more sunshine and timid weather than most are used too. So today we got a cold slap to the face when we headed to the East Coast to visit the quaint and historic town of St. Andrews.
After a very shaky, two hour bus ride through open country-where there was one field with bales of hay that gave me a taste of home- we finally arrived at our destination! The minute we got off the bus you could hear the ocean and the call of segulls! Lucky for us, the rain held off all day so that was one less weather element to worry about. We ate lunch at this slightly hipster, but none the less unique place called The Vic. It was filled with board games, odd nicknacks and random pictures, posters and sayings plastered to the wall in black and white. More importantly, I ate my lunch in a lounge chair which is pretty great if you ask this American!
After warming ourselves up a wee bit, we headed to see the St. Andrews castle, or better described as the ruins of the St. Andrews castle. Is it odd for me to say that I almost enjoyed the ruins more so than an actual, restored castle? Something about it being dilapidated and worn made it seem all the more real. It showed it’s scars and wounds in a sense, for all to see. It was as though you could picture it’s history by trying to fill in it’s missing walls and pieces. It was small but all the more beautiful with it’s ocean view. It was placed on the edge of a cliff (I don’t really know if there is a height requirement in order to be called so) and stood so stoically looking out over the angry, misty ocean. The waves crashed against the sand and rocks and as I stood there on this rocky, foreign, grey, misty beach, with a castle hovering over me, it slowly and sweetly sunk into my mind that I was in Scotland. I wasn’t just talking about going to Scotland anymore, I wasn’t stuck inside a bubble at the University. It was as though I woke up for the first time and realized I was in this amazing place, standing on the edge of an ocean in a country I am lucky enough to call home for the next couple of months. The feeling is nearly indescribably and even if I tried, I would probably just sound like a blubbering idiot who can’t from a proper sentence. It’s an experience one has to feel for oneself and I hope everyone gets the chance to have such an experience, no matter where they are in the world.
Anyways, on to the rest of my day:). The remainder of our time in St. Andrews spent visiting the Cathedral that really isn’t a cathedral. You walk past the wall and it is just a wide open graveyard with beautiful headstones and history. The ‘cathedral’ is a tower that is open at the end of March that tourists are allowed to walk up and get a view of the town and ocean. Sadly, it is still the beginning of March so we weren’t so lucky in that endeavour. When we were leaving the graveyard a small black and white dog came running up to us and even sat on my foot at one point, and she was dressed in a little doggie trench coat! Her owner was an elderly man who was as cute as a button. He appeared to have tears in his eyes and I can only assume that he may be visiting a loved one in the cemetery that day. No matter if he was crying from the wind or over the memories of a lost loved one, he greeted us all and we shared a couple of laughs:) Strangely enough we ran into him again after we took a gelato break (because only tourists get gelato on the windiest/coldest day). He recognized us and so did his dog, Nelly, who gave me a sweet wee kiss:) Moments like those, so small and seemingly insignificant, seem to stand out the most.
The last stop of the day was St. Andrews University, which was gorgeous, like the rest of the town. It’s so exciting to know that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met there and now I have stood in possibly the same spots they have (call me a royal family fangirl, I don’t care)! The area of campus that we were at was supposedly haunted by a ghost, whose face can be seen in a stone on the clock tower and the initials in stone on the side walk are apparently bad luck. If you step on them you will fail your degree (yes I was superstitious, so no, I didn’t step on them to test my fate)! In the courtyard, there were even flowers in full bloom! The 600 year old campus was a sight for sore, collegiate eyes but I don’t think I could live up to it’s academic standards:/
We caught the 3:30 bus home and all of us got as warm as we could and snuggled together to watch ‘We Bought a Zoo.’ A relaxing way to end a chilly, exciting, and (for me) awe-inspiring day:)