Leaving the Castle
After Finding my friend in the Elephant House!
Cookie from the Elephant House!
At the Scotch Whiskey tasting
Streets of Glasgow
On our way to Glasgow
Cemetery and Fall Leaves
St Giles Cathedral
So the only reason I was not depressed leaving Dublin was because I knew that I would be back in Scotland in only 4 short days! We left after our class in Florence was finished and hoped on the train to Pisa. From there we got to the airport, had a snack and waited for our flight. I decided that I really love flying out on Thursday nights and leaving on Sunday mornings because A. I get more sleep and B. it was a lot less stressful.
The flight there was so beautiful flying over the snow covered alps while the sun was setting. When we finally landed it was dark but still an hour earlier than Italy because we were in the UK. We got off, went to the ATM to get out pounds and hoped on the bus to the city center... the only problem was, not all of us made it onto the bus! We turned around and the rude bus driver had not let Bevy on saying that it was full and she could take the next one. I was really upset because there were PLENTY of seats, and the guy was just being rude! So we yelled at Bevy to get on the next one, but we didn't know where we were going so we couldn't tell her where to meet us and her cell was dead!
Luckily we found out there was WIFI on the bus so we were able to Facebook her and she was able to check it and find out where we got off. But we weren't sure if she had received the message, so when we got to Princes Street I jumped on the bus that came after ours and asked if I could look for her, and the driver said no! I was pretty unhappy at that point so I just yelled for Bevy and it turned out she was only a few seats back so she got off happily. Needless to say, do NOT take the airbus from Edinburgh to the city center!
We went to the apartment we had rented next and it was probably twice as big as the one in Dublin! Huge fluffy couches, big screen tv, big kitchen and three bedrooms and it was only a little more expensive than staying at a hostel. We met David's friends who study at Aberdeen who were very cool and they took us out to show us the night life.
It was FREEZING but so pretty that you had to get over it. We went to some pubs and saw lots of locals in Halloween costumes and tried the local beer, Tennent's, and then returned back to our awesome apartment.
The next morning we woke up, went to the cutest little stand in the park to get coffee, and then went to the train station to go to Glasgow. We bought our tickets, got a bagel (which I was happy about because they don't have them in Italy) and then hurried to get on a train.
About five minutes out the ticket lady came by and took our tickets, then told us that we were on the wrong train going the opposite direction! Whoops! So we had to hop off at the next station and get back to Edinburgh, luckily the next train back came quickly and that ticket lady had a good laugh about or situation.
When we got on the correct train, we headed out to Glasgow and passed all of the beautiful Scottish countryside. But as we approached the actual town it started to rain :-(. We really had to idea what to do in Glasgow either so we started wandering until we found one of their famous squares, but it was not even close to how pretty Edinburgh was. We looked in some shops, stopped and had haggis and appetizers for lunch, which was not all that bad, just a little bland, and sat in a big red pub watching it rain and laughing when we realized we were A. the only girls in the pub and B. the only people under 30!
We headed back to Edinburgh a little sad that Glasgow hadn't been as great as we had hoped, but were cheered up quickly when we returned to our fluffy beds and american television. When David and his friends returned we went to dinner at a little chinese restaurant and then went to a pub close to our apartment where they were playing live music which was so fun! We found seats and watched him perform all sorts of great oldies and had a pint of Tennents. In front of us there ended up being a guy from Texas talking to a Scottish guy who eventually turned towards us and we all chatted for awhile about how funny it is that we run into people from all over.
The next day was my favorite because we got to explore all of Edinburgh. We woke up early and headed out towards the castle, eating breakfast at a cute little place called the Deacon and it had a little story behind it where this Deacon made chests for people and got keys to their houses robbing them at night. Eventually he got caught and was hung on the gallows which he had actually designed for the city the year before. ... ok Maybe it wasn't that cute, but it was still kinda cool.
Next we went and checked out the castle but decided not to go in because it was very expensive and the line was really long. Instead we went to a whisky distillery for a tour which was so worth it even though I hate scotch! The tour started with a little ride that described the whole process and I sort of felt like I was at Disneyland. Then we had a presentation where we learned about all of the different areas that produce Scotch and got to try them and smell the differences, for me none of them tasted different because I couldn't handle the taste anyways, but it was interesting to smell the different flavors. Then we got to see the largest whiskey collection in the world and finish our tasting in a great location over the whole city.
After our tasting we found the coffee shop where JK Rowling wrote Harry Potter, the Elephant House, so we obviously had to stop in and get an elephant cookie and hot chocolate! While sitting and talking who should turn around and say "Holly?!" but my great friend Lauren Weaver who has been studying in Bordeaux this year. I could not believe it! We ran to each other and laughed for about 20 minutes about how crazy it was that neither of us knew that we were going to Scotland and yet here we were in the same coffee shop... we both must obviously love Harry Potter!
We made plans to meet up that night and then headed out to keep exploring. We literally just walked all over the city seeing the beautiful parks, the schools, cathedrals and everything! It is honestly the most beautiful city I've ever been to because everything looks lovely and it is not like Italy where you find graffiti all over the place. Also the fact that it was fall and the leaves where changing made everything that much better.
The school that inspired JK Rowling for Hogwarts was on the way home so Alison found a Harry Potter book, bought it and took a picture in front of it. That was a great moment of the trip.
That was the day before Halloween so I went out and bought a kilt and matching hat to wear that evening because it just felt appropriate. I met up with Lauren and we went to dinner to catch up then met up with the rest of my group to go out to one of the Halloween parties. We went to a place called the Three Sisters which was celebrating and while walking around who did we run into but another OU student abroad and friend of mine Nathan Crain! This was just too weird!! Two friends in one day in one city when I had no idea they were even there. That was just too funny.
The next day we had to take a train down to Newcastle to fly back to Italy and that was yet another gorgeous ride with scenery like something out of a movie.
In Newcastle it was around 10am but Alison's favorite beer is NewCastle so she obviously had to have one at the airport, that was pretty funny as well. That was a long day of travel and made me relieved that I will actually be staying in Italy for the next weekend!