AIFS Study Abroad Blog

From London to Scotland, I Venture

This past weekend has been an amazing journey to Scotland! I ventured from the comforts of London to explore this amazing country. If ever you should find yourself trying to decide where to travel, go to Scotland, you will not regret it.

On Friday, after attending class of course, my friend and I began our adventure on the magnificent Tube – how else were we supposed to get to Kings Cross Station to catch our train? Once we arrived at Kings Cross we realized we were roughly an hour early, which is always better than being an hour late. We grabbed a small bite to eat considering it was 1 o’clock and we had a five hour train ride ahead of us. There was the consideration of going to Platform 9 3/4, however, I had been told that it can be over an hour wait to take a picture so we didn’t want to risk it. Finally 1:40 pm came around and we made our way over to Platform 3 to board the East Coast Train to Scotland. My friend and I, unfortunately, did not get to sit together, however, this made for the perfect time to get all homework done and out of the way.

The train ride wasn’t too bad; I did get to see some beautiful landscapes as we journeyed through the grasslands and countryside of the United Kingdom. Once we arrived at Leuchars Station in Scotland, we grabbed a taxi to take us to the Queens Hotel in Dundee, Scotland. This location was chosen because my friend was going golfing at the famous St. Andrews Golf Course the next day, and this was the closest option we could get without paying an arm and a leg for a bed to sleep in. We arrived at our hotel, checked in with no problems, went up to our room and decided we should probably get some dinner. We ventured down Nethergate Street which then turns into High Street and stumbled upon a Nando’s. For those of you who haven’t tired Nando’s, you are certainly missing out on some delicious food!

We had a nice relaxing evening which worked out great because the next morning I felt rejuvenated and ready for adventure! I got up around 7 am, ate breakfast, showered, and began my journey. I began by walking down Nethergate Street again, continuing on to High Street, and just kept walking until I ran into this really beautiful cathedral looking building. I walked around it to find a door that read, “Free Museum and Art Gallery.” They had me at free. I went in and found the cutest little museum all about the history of Dundee. It was fascinating to see how the town once looked, and how similar it still is today.

I decided to be brave and ask for opinions on what to do around the town from locals who were also in the museum. Though it was kind of hard to understand them, I found that there was a really old cemetery, a cathedral, another museum, and shopping all within walking distance from me. I ventured to the old cemetery, the cathedral, and then the other museum. By that time it was around noon and I decided that I wanted to see St. Andrews. After asking many locals, getting a bit frustrated due to a station closure, and giving up, I finally found the bus that read “St. Andrews-Leuchars-Dundee”, hopped on, and enjoyed the 28 minute bus ride to St. Andrews.

 

Once I was in St. Andrews, my true exploring shoes came on. I walked to and fro all over the town, walking in and out of secret gardens, up and down tiny hidden streets, and all around the quaint little town of St. Andrews. After exploring for quite some time, I decided to walk straight back towards the coastline and to the Cathedral. This was the best decision thus far, besides the decision to come to Scotland. It was the most spectacular view of Eden I had ever seen. The weather was perfect and sunny, a tad chilly and windy, but the view was incredible. I could see for miles upon miles of crystal blue water that reflected the crystal blue sky. The cathedral in itself was a beautiful thing to experience, with its devastating ruins and the coast behind it, you couldn’t ask for a more scenic landscape.

I had explored and seen so much that my phone (which was my camera) has died. So by 3:30 pm I figured it was a good time to head back to the hotel, freshen up, and charge my phone. I took Bus 99 back to Dundee and did just that. Once my friend arrived back from his amazing golfing adventure, we decided to go find some dinner (a reoccurring theme for us). The next morning we woke up, did some minor shopping, had lunch at a very cute pub at which we also watched the Ryder Cup with some other Americans, and then grabbed a taxi back to Leuchars Station and headed back to good Ole London.

To say this trip was amazing wouldn’t do Scotland any justice. The pictures nor the words give enough credit to the beauty and authenticity that Scotland had to offer. If you haven’t been to Scotland and have it on your bucket list, you need to go an experience this incredible place. If it is not on your bucket list, it is now.

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