Saturday, December 22, 2012

St. Andrews in the Kingdom of Fife

St. Andrews was a last minute trip for me. I didn't have any plans for the weekend, and several of my good friends were going on the trip, so I contacted Gary so he could sign me up for the trip too. That's me next to the North Sea. It was a cold, rainy day, but it was better than researching for my group project!

Unfortunately, I woke up with a bit of a scratchy feeling in my throat. Uh-oh, this can't be good. I cannot get sick. There is no time for that! I worried about going on the trip - maybe I should stay home and rest. Nah. I'll go anyway.

A view of the coastline with the British Golf Museum to the right (the building with lots of windows). For those who don't know, St. Andrews is home to the rather prestigious St. Andrews University, the oldest university in Scotland, the third-oldest university in English speaking countries and the university that Prince William attended, and is known as the "home of golf."

We only took a wee stop at the beach. This is impatient Gary trying to get his students off the rocks so we can proceed with the tour. I honestly don't know how he does it. You see the kids, right? You see the rocks they are standing on, yes? You see the sea right below them, no? This is why he has us sign a disclaimer form before we get on the bus.

Look! It's a castle! 

Yes, I am being facetious. I do like castles; I think they are very cool. The older the better. We didn't stop at this one though (it's St. Andrew's Castle). The price was too high and there wasn't much left to actually see. 

So, I took some photos from behind the fence.

It's right on the coast. I can only imagine how freezing cold it must have been inside the castle in the 1300's.

A view of the castle and grounds from down the road.

Along we went to St. Andrews Cathedral. This must have been a massive cathedral in its day. The grounds covered a large area, and though there isn't much left of the structure, it looks like the cathedral was huge. Work was started on the cathedral in 1158, but I am not sure if anything that is still there now is from that time period, or if it is from reconstruction in the 13th or 15th centuries.

My camera battery totally died partway through this trip (which was totally my fault - I didn't charge it the night before). Good thing I had my iPod with me! (Thanks Mom and Dad for an awesome birthday present! Not only has it been my alarm clock, but also my timer, stopwatch, portable music player device, but now also my camera in an emergency.) The quality of the pictures isn't as good, but at least I was able to take pictures!

Remains of the cathedral.

We spent a good amount of time wandering the grounds of this ancient place.

We were so entertained by the seagulls. They were all doing a "dance" with their feet and everyone was speculating as to what they thought the gulls were doing. I thought they were trying to get worms up from the ground. Others thought they were trying to warm their feet up. I like to think I was right...  They were just working their feet into the ground, stomping and stomping, and turning about. It was a seagull disco. I just had to capture this image of my friend taking a picture of one of the seagulls doing its dance. 

I didn't realize coffins had drainage holes. Sorry for the bit of morbidity, but it comes with the cathedral. If I saw it, you have to see it too.

Those who dare can climb the spiral staircase, which Gary referred to as "terrifying," inside this tower up to the top, for a fee. I did not dare.  This is St. Rule's tower and Wikipedia says that it predates the cathedral, so it is really, really old. 

Some of the tombstones in this old cemetary.

No, I was not even tempted to ascend this beast.

Another view of part of the cemetary.

A cemetery with ocean views.

This was a tomb area.

And while walking through town, my Irish friend spotted "where Kate met Wills (for coffee)." Aw.

St. Andrews University

Another shot of St. Andrews University.

Clock tower on the St. Andrews University campus.

Ok, enough with cemeteries and old hoity-toity universities, it's time to go to town. My friends are making their way down this picturesque alley.

A little inspiration for my future dream cottage.

More inspiration. Dontcha just love it?

We stopped at a Costa coffee shop because I was starving and wanting comfort food in my unwell condition. I ordered a brie and cranberry panini and a hot chocolate with whipped cream and marshmallows, which seems to have become a staple hot beverage on these trips for me. Both were very satisfying.

The sign on the door says, "Hoppity House." I wonder if the neighbors complained about the color of the door...

It was cold and drizzly, so I had to get a new hat! At the Edinburgh Woolen Mill.

I love Scotland.

We had a chance to take a few more photos at the beach while we were waiting for the bus to pull around.

This turned out to be my favorite picture of the day. :) Thanks, photographer Fiona!

Next stop, Ravenscraig Castle, which is outside the town of Kirkcaldy. Dusk was upon us, so the pictures aren't great, but you get the idea. It's an old castle! :)

The quality of this picture really isn't good - but I just wanted to show another view of the castle.

This is a picture of my fearless, dear friend managing to unintentionally accomplish two things at once - climb a big ole' rock that juts out into the North Sea, and give our tour guide a heart attack. I think what happened was we got a little bored walking around the streets of St. Andrews and she had to get some energy out. :)

She made it safely up. I don't know if any of us actually got a good, clear picture of her up there though. We all managed to not see how she made it back down, but she made it down safe and sound. 

My friends and I decided to get our picture taken right in front of the sea. I knew that my boots were shite, but I still trusted one of them. So, we stood next to the rock on the left, and I held up my left leg in case a wave rolled in it wouldn't soak through the split in my boot. Well, as we were all smiling for the camera, an icy cold sensation came over the foot that I had on the ground. And I screamed. At the very moment the picture was taken. The result? Hilarious. I wish I could post the picture here, but it is on Facebook as one of my friend's pics. Apparently the boot I trusted had splits in it that I was unaware of, and the North Sea just rolled itself right inside. Freezing, icy cold water. I think I gave Gary a heart attack when I screamed. Didn't mean to, but couldn't help it. *Ah, the memories* :) 

I managed to squeeze one last picture out of my real camera of the beach.

For those of you who are my friends on Facebook, you have already seen some of the fun photos that were taken here by my friends and by Gary. I can't figure out how to get those photos on here though, unfortunately.

We took a wee walk around the park after the beach, which was a nice way to end the day. My friends and I were all a bit tired by the end of this trip. I think a lot of it had to do with the weather, but that couldn't have been helped. I was also feeling a bit worse, fatigued with a sore throat. On my walk back to the halls, I stopped off at a local food store, Sainsbury's, and bought brie and bread so I could make my own grilled cheese, a few cans of soup, vanilla ice cream, and chocolate chip cookies. I should have known by my cravings that I was not going to feel any better in the morning.

Up next: Queen's Park!

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