Monday, July 15, 2013

A Day at St. Andrews

[Also, happy birthday, Rembrandt!]
I'm currently in Edinburgh, where I'm going to spend a few days getting to know the city before the rest of my family joins (!!!hooray!!!), but the last few days have been a fun adventure!

After the last days on Skye, which included a barbecue, the final ceilidh (in which I had some awesome partners-- American boys, you better learn to dance fast), and that bittersweet and beautiful ferry ride back to the mainland, I went to visit my friend Katherine in St. Andrews. 

My Gaelic is still definitely beginner, but I've been bit by the bug. I hope I can make it work out to start going back to Sabhal Mor Ostaig regularly, to learn more of this language and this culture.
Gaelic 1 performs! We sang "A Ribhinn Og"
(photo credit: Karol Coleman)

The Gaelic Song class.
(photo credit: Karol Coleman)
The trip first consisted of a steam train ride from Mallaig to Fort William on the "Jacobite", run by the West Coast Railway Line, who provided the steam trains used in the Harry Potter films. 

Sneaky footage on the train! 

The Glenfinnan Viaduct. If this bridge (which our train went over about a minute after this picture was taken) looks familiar, it's probably because you saw it in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone! 
I then took regular trains and a bus and made my way to St. Andrews, where my friend Katherine is at university. I met Katherine last summer at the Guildhall course, and it was sooooo nice to see her again! 
Her flatmate, Karolina, also had three of her friends visiting from Poland: Karolina, Karolina, and Natalia.

St. Andrews isn't simply a golfing destination. It's a calm but active university town, home to one of the best universities in the UK. The ancient cathedral and the castle are beautiful remnants of a time gone by, and the beach is stunning.
 We had a great visit, munching on fish and chips, exploring the nooks and crannies of the university that only the students know about, having a bonfire on the beach, seeing the sites, and learning about the different and fun St. Andrews University traditions.

In front of St. Andrews Cathedral
L to R: Karolina, Natalia, me, Karolina, Katherine

On the beach! 

Pier walk
The Cathedral

Katherine, myself, Karolina

The initials of Patrick Henry, placed here to commemorate the martyr. Supposedly, if you step on the stones you'll fail all your exams, so during the academic term St. Andrews students will walk around or jump over it! 

Cool trivia: St. Andrews doesn't have an apostrophe in its name because the name of the town predates the apostrophe, which came into use in the 16th century.