Living in London is a lot like living in any other city: it’s loud, it’s a little dirty, it’s cold a lot of the time, it’s crowded, it’s amazing. I love London, and I love living in the city, but after about four months, my cabin fever had started to get the best of me. So I figured that there was no better cure than an impromptu trip to Scotland. So I booked everything on Friday night and left on Saturday morning.
My housemate from Salve Regina University, back home, Tori, is studying in Cork, Ireland (where I will be couch surfing for about three weeks beginning in May!). She had been trying to convince me to go to Scotland with her that same weekend for months now, to which I had continuously said no. In her final attempt, she texted me the Thursday before she was to fly out, and gave it one last shot to convince me. Again, I said no, and that there was no possible way that I could leave London that weekend…two days later I texted her and said, “Okay…I just booked my train…I’ll meet you in Edinburgh on Saturday morning…”
Saturday morning, I woke up bright and early and headed over to King’s Cross Station. A short four hours later (four hours in which I managed to catch up on several blog posts!) I was in Edinburgh. The first mistake I made in the trip was maybe ten minutes after I got off the train. In a moment of pure mindlessness, I had forgotten that Scotland belonged to the United Kingdom, therefore drove on the left side of the road. This led to a car nearly knocking me over like a bowling pin.
My first stop on my weekend was St. Andrews to see Lexi Phelan…She told me to get on either the 59 or the 60 bus headed to St. Andrews and get off at the last stop. Easy right? I guess not…I got to what I thought was the bus station, and waited in line to ask when the next bus to St. Andrews was leaving. When it was my turn to step forward, a big, friendly-looking thirty-something year old Scottish man greeted me. Now mind you, I have traveled to quite a few countries in my time abroad, and therefore encountered a few difficulties in communication. But believe me when I tell you, that I understood British, French, Dutch, German, Italian, Greek, and Swiss people better than I understood this man. I asked him “Where’s the bus to St. Andrews?”, and I was almost positive that he was speaking English, but I had not a single clue what he was talking about, so I just kept nodding my head, said “Thank you”, and tried to control whatever expression was happening on my face. I ended up getting someone to translate for me, who explained that I was at the wrong station (I was at the station to book a hop-on-hop-off tour) and I needed to run to the station around the corner because there was a bus about to depart. So I ran to the station, missed the bus, waited for the next bus, somehow missed that one too (I have absolutely no idea how I managed that one…I clearly remember looking at the correct bus number, acknowledging that I needed to be on the bus, and then watching as it pulled away from the station…). Anyway, two hours later, I made it to St. Andrews! I am so glad that I had the opportunity to see Lexi, catch up with her, and have her show me around her beautiful home! It was exactly the little piece of home that I needed!
I made my way back to Edinburgh, but not without chaos (of course). I decided to take a bus to the train station and take that train back into the city. So I got on the bus, got to the train station, waited at the train station for about thirty minutes before someone came up to me a said that all of the trains were down due to maintenance. Awesome. So I hopped in a cab, and drove about an hour into the city, which I figured would cost be around $60…$175 later…So now I was out of money for the rest of my trip…Once I scrapped up enough money to pay the meter, I met up with Tori and her new friends from Ireland for burgers and beers. The next day, I met up with Tori to take a bus up for a tour of the highlands. Once again, it couldn’t possibly be done without chaos. I missed my alarm, woke up late, ran up the street to the bus (which was about to leave), ran straight through a giant puddle of white paint (so now anyone who walks down Blackfriars Street in Edinburgh will know I’ve been there), and made it to the bus with two minutes to spare. “So YOU’RE Kerry then?? Well it’s about damn time!” It was an amazing day, with amazing food, amazing drinks, lots of laughs, and landscapes that not even I can describe, so I’ll just post some pictures and let everyone see for themselves. We didn’t see any monsters in the lochs this time around, but everyone do me a favor and double check the pictures just to be sure…
I should let everyone know, these pictures are all from Tori’s phone. We compared our pictures after the trip, and while Tori had pictures of the landscapes, the scenery, and basically everything you should have pictures of when you go to Scotland, all of my pictures were of sheep because there were so…many…sheep…
The next day was filled with Harry Potter site seeing and resting from what was one of my favorite weekend getaways.