Saturday, July 25, 2009

St. Andrews Day 2

DAY 8: Tuesday, July 14, 2009

We got up and moving pretty early on Tuesday, because we knew we had a lot to see in St. Andrews before moving on to Edinburgh that night.

We started out with another delicious breakfast served by Yvonne, B&B guy Paul's wife, in the B&B dining room. This time we both had the traditional Scottish breakfast, which included a fried egg, toast, bacon (the ham stuff), sausage, potatoes, mushrooms and tomatoes. This time I went FULL Scottish and also sampled the haggis and black pudding. There are lots of different recipes for haggis, but generally it is a sheep's heart, liver and lungs minced with onion, oatmeal, and other spices. It is generally boiled in the sheep's stomach. Sounds gross, right? It's not, though. It's actually very tasty, and generally looks just like ground beef. Black pudding is basically a type of sausage. To be honest, I did not prefer either from this breakfast but enjoyed the haggis very much later on our trip (stay tuned! You know I love food pictures).

Our full Scottish breakfast! The black pudding and haggis are at the bottom right at the plate. We also enjoyed toast with jam and hot tea.

At breakfast

After breakfast, we packed up and checked out, but left our luggage at the B&B while we did our sightseeing. Then we just started walking. I must say, we absolutely loved St. Andrews. It was definitely my favorite city from our trip, and I'm pretty sure Eric would agree. I really had expected to just be killing time there while Eric golfed, but I just fell in love with the place. It was so quaint, so quiet, so beautiful and peaceful. Basically, so vastly different from our everyday life in New York. If it weren't for the weather, Eric and I would be moving there and opening up our own bed and breakfast. He could play golf all the time, and I could study at the University. If ONLY they had actual summers. This girl just can't stomach an average high July temperature of 59 degrees. I don't necessarily need Florida heat, but I do need some 80 degree days in there from time to time.

On the topic of the weather, it was pretty predictably unpredictable in St. Andrews: the day would start sunny, then clouds would start to form, the wind would pick up and it would get very chilly. Then, rain for a bit. Then the sun would come out again. Lather, rinse, repeat. In fact, keep an eye on our pictures in this post - you might be able to notice the differences in the sky from picture to picture, as well as our wardrobe and the presence/absence of my umbrella (which died on this trip, to my dismay. I loved that umbrella. RIP, pink umbrella).

Anyway, we started our walk about town, just enjoying the scenery.

This building is part of the University of St. Andrews, I believe

Gorgeous cliff view

We quickly learned that sight-seeing in Scotland can be very treacherous, and taking pictures of me being nervous with warning signs soon became a "thing."

How adorable is this street?

Our first sightseeing stop was the castle ruins, which were beautiful. You wouldn't think essentially just a pile of old stones could be so pretty. But, it was right on the water, the sun was out (for the moment), and it was just really, really cool. We had a great time exploring it all.

Me in front of the castle

Castle scenery

Eric amongst the castle ruins

Isn't it cool? I love imagining what it must have been like when it was newly built.

At the castle

How cool is that wall?

In the last picture in the above series, you can see Eric at the base of the big castle reading a little sign. He's reading about the mines and counter-mines which run underneath the castle, and were CRAZY. Apparently in 1546, the Earl of Arran tried to break into the castle by digging a mine under the gate tower, causing the walls to collapse. However, the people inside the castle decided to dig a counter-mine of their own to intercept Arran before his plot could succeed. The counter-mine was dug using only the sound of Arran's men digging as a guide, and they started on several different paths before finally getting it right and cutting Arran off before he reached the castle.

Anyway, you can now go down in the mine and counter-mine, and they were SCARY. The counter-mine is crazy because you can tell it was dug in a state of panic, as it is very narrow, small, curvy, and just basically terrifying. Arran's mine was much more methodical, open and not so claustrophobia-inducing. Or so I am told, because to get to Arran's mine you had to go through the crazy small counter-mines, and those managed to induce enough claustrophobia in me that I could not do it. Eric went on ahead though and checked it out, while I waited near the entrance for him to report back. He's so brave.

See? I told you it was treacherous.

Do YOU want to go crawling through here?

Steps in one of the larger mines

Me standing at the entrance to the counter-mines

After the castle we continued on to the cathedral ruins and surrounding graveyard, which was very cool. Lots of very old headstones in that place, and they were just sort of all over the place haphazardly. We saw the grave of Tom Morris (that golf guy I posted a picture of Eric and me with yesterday) and just sort of wandered around for a while, checking it all out. It was just so scenic and beautiful.

Cathedral ruins and graveyard

At the cathedral (there's my precious deceased pink umbrella...a rain storm had just passed through)

Eric at the cathedral

The grave of "Old" Tom Morris and his son, "Young" Tom Morris, Jr.

Loved this lettering on one of the gravestones

Eric laid on his back on the ground for this shot! Isn't it great?

The tower you see in the above picture is St. Rule's Tower, and you can go up to the top of it for beautiful views over all of St. Andrews. The thing is, it's terrifying. We're talking ancient, narrow stone spiral steps to the top. And there's nobody coordinating the people coming and going, so if people are going up while you're coming down or vice versa, everyone has to plaster themselves against the walls and shimmy past each other. This is when I realized that my fear of heights is more out of control than I realized. I made it part of the way up and panicked. I could go no further. So, once again, Eric continued on with out me to take pictures so I could see what I missed (he was so sweet). Meanwhile, I sat on a landing halfway up and waited for him. I tried to force myself to go the rest of the way about three times, but each time turned back around and went back to my landing. What a wuss I am.

Gorgeous view of St. Andrews from the top of the tower

Here you can see the castle ruins, right along the water

VIDEO: The view from the top of the St. Rule Tower (wasn't Eric sweet to take this video so I could feel like I was up there too?)

Eric coming back down the Steps of Doom (just try to tell me those look like fun to you)

I'm sad because I'm a chicken.

After the tower we walked back over to the water, where we admired the view (something new and different) and checked out the ruins of St. Mary on the Rock, which is really just a few stones on grass. Then we walked downhill to the harbor and out onto the little pier for more great scenery.

Another great view of the castle ruins

The harbor

(Crab?) Traps along the harbor

On the pier with Eric

After all that sight-seeing we were ready for a little snack, so we stopped at B. Jannetta's for ice cream.

The ice cream was tasty, although the cream-to-cone ratio was a little off

We then continued on to Holy Trinity Church, where Calvinist reformer John Knox preached his first and last sermons. In 1559 he gave a sermon at Holy Trinity that incited his followers to ransack the Cathedral and other religious buildings (after which, the Cathedral was left to decay). Of comparable historical importance, my dad sang in that church when he visited Scotland with his choir several years ago! It was a lovely church.

Holy Trinity

The altar

Exquisite stained glass

"Sing praises unto our King" - at the base of the organ pipes

A war memorial on one wall

Tomb of Archbishop James Sharp, who was murdered in 1679

After Holy Trinity, we started walking back to the the heart of town, passing the ruins of Blackfriars Chapel.

Blackfriars Chapel

We then turned back towards the water. Time for lunch! We stopped for some food and a pint at the Dunvegan, which is a local pub owned by a Texan and his Scottish wife. It has become internationally famous and has hosted basically everyone who is anyone in the world of golf (including Eric W. himself, now!), in addition to various statesmen, etc. It's worth mentioning that the Dunvegan, the Himalayas putting green, Tom Morris's grave, and the Golf Museum comprise 20% of Golf Digest's list of Non-Golf Things Every Golfer Should Do, or some such thing. I'm so with it in the golf world now.

Anyway, the food and beer hit the spot! We enjoyed a couple pints of St. Andrews Ale, and I had fish and chips. Eric had a BBQ chicken type of sandwich. All was delicious!

The Dunvegan

Fish and chips, and a pint of cold beer. Mmmm.

Eric's BBQ chicken sandwich

Enjoying our pints

After lunch we walked around and did some souvenir shopping, then stopped back at the B&B to pick up our luggage. We made it to the bus station to catch a 4:45 p.m. bus to our next destination: Edinburgh! And just like that, our time in St. Andrews was over. What a wonderful time! We were sad to leave, but the trip continues on...

Up next: Our first day in Edinburgh!

And, of course, the usual reminder: lots more St. Andrews pictures on! I definitely recommend checking it out - quite a few scenery pics did not make it on here, and St. Andrews was just so gorgeous.

No comments: