April has gone by in a whirlwind! The time between the end of classes and Easter is our spring break here at Glasgow Uni (although don’t be fooled; it’s not as much of a break as a time to do hw). But I, of course, figured I could do my school work and get in traveling at the same time! To assist me in this noble goal, my parents came over to the UK to spend two weeks with me. The itinerary? Glasgow to Edinburgh to Cardiff to Dublin and back to Glasgow. As you can imagine, we managed to do quite a bit in that time. I can’t possibly mention everything but I’ll give some highlights!
1. Edinburgh (Scotland)
I’ve been to Edinburgh a few times now, so I was the official tour guide of this trip. We booked a small apartment through AirBnb that was close to the Castle and had a fantastic view overlooking Princes Street Gardens and the New Town (which apparently I did not take a single picture of). It was such a great location where we were only a couple minutes walk from views like this:
We also conveniently had a small pub (The Jolly Judge, I highly recommend) just outside our back door. Couldn’t ask for a more convenient location!
We had three days to spend in Edinburgh and I think we really made the best of them. Our first day, we went on a Sandeman’s New Europa walking tour. If you’re ever traveling to a new city, I would really suggest looking into these tours. They’re usually everyday and are technically free, you just tip the guide at the end what you feel is adequate. Our walk was a perfect way to get acclimated to the city and learn a lot about the city’s history. Our tour guide also gave us a great suggestion of where to get traditional pub fare and we treated ourselves to some haggis, neeps and tatties. (That’s turnips and potatoes, but I’m not gonna tell you what haggis is. Just trust me, it’s delicious!)
Our second day in Edinburgh, we went on a Rabbies’ bus tour through the Scottish Borders. We saw Rosslyn Chapel, Scott’s View, the William Wallace Statue, and Melrose Abbey. We were amazingly lucky to have a beautiful, sunny day which made the glorious sites look even more amazing. I think my favorite part of the tour was seeing Melrose Abbey. It was built in the 12th century and although mostly ruins now, you can walk around the grounds and even go up one of the towers! Here’s just a few of my favorite pictures from the day:
Our final endeavor before leaving Edinburgh was to climb the famous Arthur’s Seat. This is a large dormant volcano top that rise behind Holyrood Palace. It’s an easy hike and you get some pretty spectacular views of the city. It was pretty chilly and windy when we made our trek, but it was completely worth it for the views of the city and the distant port
All too soon, it was time to say bye to Edinburgh and hop on a plane to….
2. Cardiff (Wales)
Cardiff is the capital of Wales and is a pretty small, less-touristy city. We only stayed here for the weekend, but found plenty to do. Our first day we did a lot of walking around, exploring the city and the large park just north of City Centre. One of the things I liked the most about this city were the Arcades! There were like indoor streets lined with shops. They had the craziest shops and restaurants. Every time we walked into one I felt like we had discovered a little secret of the city.
Our second day in Cardiff, we explored the bay area. The weather was perfect for a day by the water. We first stopped at Fabulous Welshcakes to buy a dozen of the tiny pancake-like pastries to munch on as we walked around. They were delicious and disappeared way too quickly. The rest of the day was something Dad and I had been looking forward to: the Doctor Who Experience! We’re huge fans of the show and couldn’t wait to geek out. The experience was really fun and super cheesy, but in a good way. The museum of all of the props and costumes was my favorite! While we were being geeky, Mom took a boat tour of the bay and took lots of beautiful pictures! We had a really great day and ended the evening with a delicious dinner of traditional Welsh pub fare.
The next day we were flying out of Cardiff, but our flight wasn’t until the evening. We had to check out of our hotel, but thankfully it was another lovely day so we walked around the nearby park for a while. Then we settled in at Tiny Rebel, a local brewery, to have lunch before heading back to the airport. (Tiny Rebel is great, if you’re ever in Cardiff it’s definitely worth a visit!)
3. Dublin (Ireland)
Dublin was the longest leg of our trip; we stayed almost a full week! But it was completely worth it! There’s so much to see and do around Dublin that I could have even spent a few more days there! It’s also a surprisingly walkable city. Everything is way closer together than it looks on a map. We stayed in the Camden street area which was a perfect location. It’s near a lot of restaurants and pubs but it was far enough away from the Temple Bar area that it was nice and quiet. Also shout out to AirBnb host, Lex, who was pretty much the most awesome host we could have ever had. His place was perfect and he gave us so many suggestions for things to do in the area!
So some of the highlights of the stuff we did in Dublin city. On our first day we did
another Sandeman’s free walking tour to get acclimated to the area. Our guide was great and he taught us a lot about the city and the local flavor. He even went to a pub with all of us after the tour was over and got to know us a little more. Later on we went to see the #1 thing I wanted to see in Dublin: the Trinity College Library! My old English teacher in high school used to have a poster of the library on her wall and I couldn’t wait until I could see it for myself! Well it definitely lived up to my
expectations. I’ve never been in a more beautiful library building. I could have spent the whole day there. Before our day was over, we managed a quick visit to the Charles Beatty museum which was the private library of a rich collector. It was a really well-done museum and I wish I hadn’t been so tired to enjoy it!
Our next day was a trip outside of Dublin. We took a bus tour of Wicklow county. The tour itself was a bit cheesy at time (plus our driver got sick at one point and an ambulance had to be called! Talk about an action-packed tour!). But the sites we went to were breathe-taking so it was definitely worth it!
Our next excursion was a trip to see the fishing town of Howth and the archaeological site of Newgrange. It was a shame that we went to the fishing village first thing in the morning because I wanted so bad to take some home for dinner, but I don’t think the other people on the bus would have appreciated that! It was a really cute town though and we spent quite a bit of time taking in the sights.
Then it was on to Newgranage. I’m a huge archaeology nerd, so getting to see this Neolithic ritual site was on the top of my Ireland bucket list. We spent most of the afternoon touring the museum and seeing the actual site. It was crazy to be inside of something made 5000 years ago. Definitely a highlight of the trip
All too soon our trip to Dublin was wrapping up and it was time to head back to Glasgow. We got back right in time for Easter Sunday and treated ourselves to a traditional Sunday Roast which was Ah-Mazing. We spend a little time around the city but soon it was time for my parents to head back home. It was a wonderful trip and we got to see so many cool places together!