Sunday, April 24, 2011

Semana Santa Part 2.

One of my favorite movies, as “dumb” as it may be, is “Dumb and Dumber” featuring Jim Carrey and Michigan native Jeff Daniels. There are many quotable scenes from that movie, but one of my favorites is below.

While walking around St. Andrews with Emily this past week, I was reminded of this clip when I saw this:


Well, Emily and I are back from a whirlwind trip to Edinburgh and St. Andrews. It was a fantastic trip and it was refreshing to be in an English speaking country. The Scottish were extremely nice people, including my good friend Laura and her parents, who graciously hosted us for two nights and provided bus schedules, breakfast and tea, and any other needed information about the city. Like I have always done when I travel, here is a summary with pictures of the trip.

We arrived late Tuesday night and Laura’s dad picked us up at the airport. For the first time I was in a car driving on the English side of the road (the “wrong side”), and rode shotgun, which in most other parts of the world is the driver’s side of the car. That was an adventure and honestly felt pretty weird.

The next morning, Laura’s dad brought us into Edinburgh to the bus station where we hopped on a bus to St. Andrews to visit Laura. The bus took longer than expected (we later found out we had gotten on the least direct of the two buses between St. Andrews and Edinburgh, thus it took twice as long because it stopped at twice as many towns). Laura was at the station waiting for us when we arrived and we first checked into the hostel and then went on a walking tour of London. Our first destination, the Old Course of St. Andrews. The girls can attest to the giddiness I had during this part of our tour. Enjoy.

Eventually, the girls pried me away from the course and we headed into town where we went up and down the streets of St. Andrews, and into the older part of town along the shore, where the graveyard and remnants of the old church stand.

We then went and had some drinks and dinner, and watched the Barcelona vs. Real Madrid Copa del Rey final. After the game, we made another trip back to the course. Now, many of you may know that I worked at a private golf course through high school and college. In the clubhouse we have a picture of Jack Nicklaus standing on the iconic bridge on the 18th hole at St. Andrews. Similar to this picture:

I couldn’t resist.

I also walked from the bridge to the 18th green, and snapped this picture.

One of the highlights of my trip.

The next morning, after sharing a hostel dormitory room with 7 others, including one of the loudest snorers I have ever heard, we made our way back to Edinburgh and spent the day exploring the town. In short, the town is split into two parts, Old Town and New Town. Old Town includes the castle and is situated on top of a hill. New Town is at the bottom of the hill and was built in response to the growing city and the lack of space in Old Town. A park now separates the two. Here is a good picture that I took inside Edinburgh Castle that shows the two parts.

We explored mostly the Old Town the first day including St. Giles Cathedral, the home church of John Knox during the Reformation.

Holyrood Palace, the royal palace in Edinburgh, where Mary Queen of Scots lived in during the 16th Century and is today the official residence of the Queen of England when she is in Scotland.

Edinburgh Castle, which contains a building that is over 900 years old, and also contains the Scottish Crown Jewels, War Memorial, and several museums. It also allows for some incredible views of the city.

After dragging Emily around all of the historical sites I told her we could go where she wanted to go, which was a place called Edinburgh Obscura. It contains a camera that allows you to have 360-degree view of the city. It was evidently built in 1853 and there are only a few like it in the world, including one in San Francisco that I saw when I visited my friend Steve there this past summer.

Along with the camera, this building had several floors of optical illusions and other cool things. Emily and I had some fun with the distorted mirrors, the heat camera, the crazy designed size room, and a program that allowed you to take a picture of yourself and then make yourself younger or older, or a different race.

After having some fun here, we continued walking around the town and eventually caught a bus back to Laura’s parents house.

The next morning we packed up and went back into the city to look at one more church I wanted to see, St. Mary’s Cathedral.

After walking through it we went and browsed through the National Gallery of Scotland. We then grabbed some lunch at Pizza Hut (we couldn’t resist) and caught the bus to the airport.

Trip accomplished.

P.S. Check out Emily's post too!

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