April Travels, Pt.2

April Travels, Pt.2

Okay okay I know it’s way past April now, but I’ve had a lot to do! Between all of this traveling, I’ve been writing a dissertation (in case anyone forgot that I was actually going to school, not just exploring the UK). BUT although it’s several months later, I just wanted to post a couple of fun things I did at the end of April!

I had a few days after my parents left to catch my breath before my next visitor came: my boyfriend. Since it was his first time in Scotland, we spent a lot more time exploring Glasgow and I got to show him all of my favorite hangouts. We also took two small trips, one weekend in Edinburgh and then a day trip to the Lochs.

We had a blast in Edinburgh, especially because the weather was amazing. Since I had

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the BF insisted on this pic of  out of place artillery
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Insider’s view of the Castle

just been there two weeks before with my parents, I became our amateur tour guide. I took us all around my favorite spots around the city telling him some of the quirky stories about Edinburgh that I’ve learned over the past year. One of the best things about our first day in Edinburgh was that we scored FREE tickets to the Castle! We hadn’t intended to go inside because it’s a bit pricey, but we just got as close as we could when this lady (MVP of the trip) asked if we wanted her extra tickets. Um heck yes! SOOO we got to spend the afternoon exploring the Castle and getting awesome views of the city. Also the Castle sports some pretty awesome museums. Definitely worth a visit.

The next day we explored a bit further outside of the city which meant we did a TON of walking. We got up early(ish) and heading out to find a full Scottish breakfast because we needed our strength for the day! Our first task: to climb Arthur’s seat. We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day for the hike. It never ceases to amaze me how gorgeous Scotland is when the sun finally comes out!

We climbed back down the far side of the hill and walking through the small town of Duddingston, taking a small break at the wildlife reserve. There were a bunch of wild birds, like grouse, ducks and swans (I kept my eyes on the swans; those guys are shady).

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Dean Village

Then we walked back towards Edinburgh University and along Lothian road. I had read about the village of Dean in some travel blogs about Edinburgh and wanted to see the little town for myself. So we continued to walk that was until we reached the river Leith. The town was beautiful as promised and we took the Leith walkway until we reached Stockbridge. By this point, coffee and ice cream was much needed. After resting, we continued towards New Town, stopping along the way to see statues and houses of famous scientists. Finally we ended our long day with pleasant stroll through the Princes Street Gardens and went off to have a much deserved dinner and rest at my favorite Edinburgh restaurant, The Hanging Bat (honestly it’s awesome, mostly because it has a ton of beer on tap!)

On our last day in Edinburgh, we started out with the best breakfast at Cafe Class. Seriously it was incredible. Then we moseyed through the city for one last look around. We looked went down to Holyrood Palace and walked back up behind the Royal Mile,

Awesome view from one of the cemeteries

checking out some of the old cemeteries along. Probably sounds strange, but we’ve always had a weird fascination with cemeteries especially here in Scotland because they have such huge gravestones and mausoleums. Finally it was time to head back to Glasgow.

We spent the rest of the week checking out all of the museums, breweries, and sites that Glasgow has to offer. The BF particularly like the Necropolis, except for the part where it started hailing. The days went by way too fast, but we had something fun planned for his last day in Scotland. We booked a small bus tour that went up through Loch Lomond National Park, Inveray,  Oban, Glencoe and various castles along the way. We saw so many amazing places along the way. We were both so glad to have gotten a little taste of the highlands.


At the very end of the day, just when we were starting to get sad that our time together was almost up, we saw the most amazing rainbow outside. It was just a perfect little reminder of how happy our trip had been. I’m so lucky to have gotten time, as short as it was, with my partner in crime.

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April Travels, Pt. 1

April Travels, Pt. 1

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:

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Overlooking Old Town and Arthur’s seat from Edinburgh Castle

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 hereCardiff Arcade 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 Welshcakesaround. 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.

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TARDIS at the Experience

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!)

Cardiff Bay (Photo Cred: Mom)

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

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Dublin Castle

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

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Trinity College Library

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!

Thanksgiving Away from Home


The last few weeks have felt like a race to the finish line. Semesters in the UK are only 10 weeks, so this fall has seemed to fly by. With the end of the semester in sight, I’ve been working around the clock to finish up all of my final essays. But there’s still been some time for fun. I managed to squeeze in a day trip to Edinburgh last weekend and was so glad I did. I had heard so many people say how beautiful Edinburgh is, and wow were they right! Although we were only in the city for about 10 hours, we managed to see the Christmas Market, stop in the National Museum, grab nachos at the Frankenstein Bar, snag a tour of Holyrood Palace, explore the shops along Grassmarket street, and drink copious amounts of mulled wine. It’s a really wonderful city and I can’t wait to visit again. Although preferably when its not freezing.


But really what I wanted to write about today isn’t my trip to Edinburgh. I want to write about how this is my first Thanksgiving away from home. And not just away from home, but in a place where today isn’t a holiday. It was very strange to wake up and realize that today was just a normal day for me. I have class, need to finish a paper, and read an article. But at home, people are watching the parade and prepping turkeys for the roaster. I’m not looking for pity here at all, it’s just a very odd feeling to be so disjointed from a tradition that I’ve celebrated every year. Thankfully, my friends and I are getting together tomorrow after we all submit our papers and are having a non-traditional Friendsgiving. It’ll be full of nachos, mulled wine, pumpkin pie, and Gilmore Girls. I think it might be the start of a lovely new tradition. But anyway, before I have to go to class, I just wanted to reflect on all the things that I am thankful for this year because there’s nothing like distance to give you some perspective.

So this year I am thankful for:

  1. The opportunity to study in another country. It has been challenging at times, but I know that it will all be worth it in the end.
  2. My parents who has supported me through everything I do. They didn’t bat an eye when I said I wanted to go to school in the UK. They just immediately started to plan how we could make it happen. It’s been so hard for them having me away for the first time, but they have been unbelievably supportive and selfless the whole time. I am so lucky.
  3. My amazingly patient boyfriend who is putting up with time differences, crazy schedules, and being 1000s of miles apart. I am so lucky to have someone that supports me through all of this craziness and who makes time to call me every night. I will never get sick of the cheesy jokes or the outrageous what-if scenarios,
  4. The Office of Naval Intelligence who has FINALLY given my boyfriend a job. I am so relieved that he can finally move to D.C. and start his career after months and months of anxious waiting.
  5. New friends that have made moving to a completely new country so much more bearable. I’m so grateful to have found such great people that share so many of my interests and with whom I’ve already had such great adventures. I can’t wait to see what shenanigans we get into next year!
  6. Technological advances that make it possible to keep in touch with my friends and family. Who knew that I would to love social media so much?
  7. The fact that I am going home in less than two weeks. I never thought that going home for the holidays would even be a possibility but I am so glad that I am. I am so excited to everyone that I’ve missed so much.
  8. The Gilmore girls reboot on Netflix. ‘Nuff said.

There are so many more things, but I think I’ll leave it at that. Everyone have a great Turkey Day and keep your fingers crossed that I can manage to finish all my essays before I leave the country!