Monday, 28 July 2008

St. Andrews

Last week we took a short overnight trip to St. Andrews. What a beautiful little town! Unfortunately, our camera broke a couple of weeks ago, so the pictures below are from the internet, but they give you an idea of where we were.

We took the bus from Edinburgh and arrived in the center of town about 2 hours later. Here's a view of the town from above. Our hotel was about 2 miles outside of town, and from our room window, St. Andrews looked wonderfully medieval -- all spires and old stone buildings. I (Christina) imagined that was what Hogsmead would look like from Hogwarts.

After we arrived, we walked around a little and discovered this ruin at the north end of town. It's a cathedral and castle. We ate our picnic lunch in the cathedral cemetary, just in the bottom left corner of the picture below.

After lunch, we set off to find our hotel. We got a great deal on a beautiful hotel that sits about 2 miles outside of St. Andrews. Unfortunately, we couldn't find a bus that would take us there, so we decided to walk. The walk was very pretty, following a highway that went right along the coast. When the sidewalk ended, we decided to follow a path cutting across one of St. Andrews' famous golf courses. This worked fine until the path dead-ended in what seemed to be a private dairy farm. Fortunately, we ran into a man working there, and he very generously told us we could cut across his fields, which bordered the hotel's golf course. So we went off-roading with the stroller, cutting a path through some very thick grasses and making our way through an extremely rusty gate. But we made it! And the hotel was just as pretty as the pictures made it out to be. (In the picture below, you can see the tall grass just at the edge of the golf course. It was from there that we emerged. Nathan said we had 5 star accommodations and 0 star travel!)

When we arrived in the reception area (below) we were a little grungy and sweaty (the day was absolutely beautifu! The first real summer day since we've been here!), so we were looking forward to settling into our room and hitting the pool. Unfortunately, our room wasn't ready yet so the receptionist very kindly sent us into the lounge with free drinks until the room was ready. The free drinks helped make the hour go by nicely, and the room we eventually received was definitely worth the wait. The pool was wonderful, and as usual Z loved it. There was also a hot tub, sauna and steam room. Fortunately we had brought our own supper, because the hotel restaurants and room service were unbelievably expensive. A single bowl of cornflakes cost 4 pounds. That's 8 dollars. And that was pretty much the cheapest thing on the menu.
After Z went to bed, Nathan and I took turns going back down to the pool, or, more specifically, the hot tub for me and the steam room for him. The steam room was 80 degrees centigrade -- a little too hot for me!
The next morning we had breakfast at the hotel, as it was included in the cost of the room. Big spread of food, and we all ate our fill, including Z, who had a big bowl of porridge as well as some fruit and yogurt.
The hotel allowed us to have a late check-out, so we had time for another dip in the pool and then a quick nap for Z. After that, we took a hotel shuttle back to St. Andrews. We walked around a bit and discovered St. Mary's College, which houses the University of St. Andrews' divinity school. The buildings of the college formed a square with a pretty, grassy quad in the middle (picture below). There's a tree in the quad that was planted there by Mary, Queen of Scots! We daydreamed a little about what it would have been like if Nathan had enrolled in St. Mary's instead of New College, but decided we were happy with the way things are.

We ate lunch at a Chinese restaurant playing '80s dance music, because unfortunately we were walking along the wrong street and missed all the really good restaurants. The picture below is of the high street. We stopped at the shop just beside the blue shop and got an ice-cream cone.

After that we headed to the beach. Again, the day was beautiful -- sunny and warm. It was at this beach that the opening scene of Chariots of Fire was filmed. (If you watch the clip to the end, you'll see they actually run in to St. Andrews. We walked across that same field on our way from the beach to the bus station.) Z didn't know quite what to make of the sand, but he seemed to be enjoying it nonetheless.

Then back home to Edinburgh. What a nice little vacation!


Brenda J. David said...

Sounds like a delightful adventure! You guys make me so jealous!!! I look forward to hearing more stories first-hand when you return to the great scenic northern plains of SD where the adventures never stop. hmmmm

Brenda J. David said...

just to wet your appetite and make you so much more eager to return....... see what awaits you!