Yesterday I took a day trip to St Andrews with some of my housemates. The day started with a panicked fast walk to the Waverley train station, as waiting to go to bed until one in the morning the day before taking a trip is not the best idea. However, we all made it safe, sound, and on time, and boarded the train excited and ready to explore the quaint little college town.
It is important to note, for all you future Travelsmiths, that went you take the train from Edinburgh to St Andrews; you actually can’t. A train will take you to Leuchars station, where a bus will then travel the remaining ten minutes separating you from one of the most adorable and idyllic towns in Scotland (or so is my opinion).
When we arrived in St Andrews the rain poured so hard that I almost regretted the decision to go on that Saturday. However, when Scotland is known for raining, a weather forecast should not serve as a barrier to adventuring. I was merely thankful for the newly purchased Primark raincoat I was wearing.
Despite the rain, the four of us (myself, Karen, Claire, and *last but not least* Hannah) managed to explore practically the entirety of St Andrews. The feat may sound impressive, but the town only hosts three main streets, so in fact it is an easy thing to do. We began our venture with a stop at Gorgeous Cafe, where I proceeded to stuff my face with hot chocolate and scones. The food tasted incredible, and definitely justified the whole it left in my wallet.
With warm bellies, we continued our adventure by simply walking straight for hours, only stopping whenever we found a shop or sight that caught our interest. Our first stop was an adorable bookstore. A very kind old man provided excellent conversation, and actually knew of another girl who was in our same internship program. It was a very unique coincidence. While the other girls kept up an academic persona, purchasing books, I decided to stay true to my tourist and silly nature, buying only postcards of funny pictures of highland cows. I regret nothing.
The next stop along our self guided tour of the city was the Museum of the University of St Andrews (or MUSA). This little museum housed many exhibits pertaining to the history of the university, which is very interesting in itself. The University of St Andrews was founded in 1410, and is not only the oldest university in Scotland, but one of the oldest in the world! I learned a lot about the beginning of the school and its culture of academia. However, my favorite discovery was a plaque commemorating the visit of Prince William and Kate Middleton to the museum. I naturally freaked out with the realization that I was literally standing where Kate Middleton once stood. Since my idolization of her is unparalleled to any other obsession I have had (except maybe David Archuleta back in 2007), the entire trip to St Andrews consisted of me proclaiming “Oh my god! What if Kate Middleton was here?” That being said, you can only imagine my joy at knowing my wondering was, in this case, accurate. I nearly passed out from excitement, but I managed to control myself and take a bunch of pictures next to it instead.
After the girls succeeded in pulling me away from the plaque, we finished up our museum excursion and continued on to view the golf courses. Since St Andrews (and Scotland in general) is known for golf, it only seemed right to look at and walk around one. The golf course we visited is one of the most famous ones in Scotland.I am not very into golf, and it was quite rainy by the time we made it there, but the field was very pretty nonetheless.
Our day ended with a stop in a random pub where we stuffed our faces with fish and chips. Along the way, we stopped in a few more cute shops and attempted to visit the famous St Andrews Castle and Cathedral, but ultimately decided against it due to the expensive entry fees. I have to say, while the fish and chips I ate were not the best I’d ever had, it felt like an accomplishment eating them in the UK.
With the first of many journeys around Scotland complete, I feel confident and ready in my quest to travel the world. Even though I only went one hour outside of where I currently reside, it already demonstrated just how different and exciting the rest of Scotland can be. My mind now runs wild, planning future train rides and creating new itineraries.
P.S. Check out my photos from my trip to St Andews here