After I had finished my final ‘essays’ (the UK term) and completed my final exams during my last week in Scotland, I decided to make the most of my last few days and see what I could see! Because I had not gone to St. Andrews yet and because I had wanted to visit this famous town on the east coast of Scotland, I booked a train ticket and headed on a day trip to St. Andrews. Before going to St. Andrews, I knew that St. Andrews is the home to numerous golf courses, nice beaches, and the oldest university in Scotland, and I was excited to walk around this historical Scottish town. Unfortunately, it rained all day when I went to St. Andrews, but at that point in the semester I was used to the rainy UK weather, and I was prepared for my day of touring with my black Hunter boot, black rain jacket, and colorful umbrella!
Upon arriving in St. Andrews, I headed to the Tourist Center, received a map of the town, and began exploring. First. I went to the West Port, or So’gait port, on South Street, which is one of the few surviving town ‘Ports’ in Scotland. To clarify, ‘Port’ is the Lowland Scottish word for town gate. To further clarify, check out the picture of me in front of the West Port.
Following the map from the Tourist Center, I walked along South Street. This street is full of cheese shops, pastry shops, and clothing shops. I stopped in a designer boutique shop called shmooz, and bought a white silky blouse (which I wore on Christmas!). Also during my walk on South Street, I stopped in front of the remains of Blackfriars Chapel, which was built in the 16th century and was operated by Dominican friars.
Ironically, as the rain began to pour down, I headed to the beach. I walked toward the East Sands, and I even walked on the beach and put my hand in the St. Andrew’s Bay, which is the closest part of the North Sea to the coast. I continued my walk of St. Andrews and saw St. Andrews Castle, the remains of St. Andrews Cathedral, and the renowned University of St. Andrews. The ‘burgh’ of St. Andrews is famous for this prestigious university that dates back to 1410! I learned that 1/3 of the population of the town (16,680) are students at the university.
I hope the next time I visit St. Andrews I can enjoy beautiful summer weather on the sandy beaches, walk around the famous golf courses, and learn more history of this Scottish burgh. That said, I’m glad I took the day trip to St. Andrews because I had wanted to visit this town in Fife and I enjoyed touring St. Andrews.
Back in Edinburgh, I began to get organized and pack up all my belongings to move back to the United States. I certainly did not spend two straight days packing though…I went out to one last dinner with my Norwegian roommate Ingvild, I browsed Edinburgh’s Christmas Market in Princes Street Gardens, and I did some Christmas shopping in New Town!!
One night, Ingvild and I enjoyed delicious sushi at a restaurant called Tangs on Candlemaker Row, near George IV Bridge and Chambers Street. During the next day, I walked through the Christmas Market and looked out numerous booths of unique handmade goods and tasty homemade treats. I’m glad I had those last couple days in Edinburgh because I got to enjoy the city with no stress of school (and minimal stress of packing); I grew reminiscent of the fabulous times I had during the semester and sad that my life living abroad in Edinburgh was ending. I tried to fill those days with seeing more of the city, enjoying walking around the city, and doing a few more things in Edinburgh that I had wanted to do all semester.
Two of these things included eating a Fried Mars bar (a tradition supposedly created by Edinburgh ‘Chippys’, or shops that sell fish & chips) and viewing the first cloned mammal, Dolly the sheep, in the National Museum of Scotland.