Ok. So here’s the deal. I’m super lazy and I don’t particularly want to type two separate posts about my two fabulous weekends so I’m going to lump them both together. I’ll separate them by title headings. Get ready because it’s a lot.

EDINBURGH: 

So two weekends ago (i.e. my first real weekend here), my best friend Emily came up to Lanark from Canterbury, where she had been studying for the semester. It was so great to see her and we went to Edinburgh that weekend to celebrate her 21st birthday and our decade of friendship. That’s right, folks, I said a DECADE. These days, it’s hard to imagine youths having friends longer than 10 days but I got lucky enough to have 5 friends for a decade. Well, we got up super early Saturday morning because I had to run music for my boss’s dance show Friday night, which was so much fun. Let me tell you, Scottish Highland Dancing is pretty amazing, especially when it’s being preformed by 10 year olds. So we caught a bus that was supposed to let us off in Bellshill, which is a few towns over, because on weekends, there are no trains leaving Lanark. So we were planning on catching a train in Bellshill. Our lovely bus driver, however, did not know where he was going. And I’m not just saying that to be rude; he literally asked a passenger how to get to Bellshill from Motherwell, which is just a town over. So in Bellshill, we drove through a parking lot, not stopping, and suddenly Emily and I realized that we were leaving Bellshill. So I asked a passenger what was happening and he explained that we were supposed to get off in the parking lot and walk to the train station. Well of course Emily and I didn’t know that so when we got to the stop in Uddingston, the next town, we ran to a taxis, had him drive us to the train station in Bellshill and still caught our ORIGINAL train. I have no freaking idea how we did it but it was pretty amazing.

Once we got to Edinburgh, the rest of the weekend went really smoothly. We did the Royal Mile, which was so exciting because the last time we were there, it was January and all of our photos turned out greyish. But this weekend, the sun was shining and it was absolutely glorious. We wandered around, found a craft fair and checked that out, took a Harry Potter tour around Edinburgh to the sites that inspired J.K.Rowling, which was pretty cool and eventually crashed at 9pm. We were so exhausted. The hostel we were staying at was really clean and we were in a 30 person room, which was crazy because think about it, 30 people in one room…There was some serious snoring happening. All in all, it was an amazing weekend. We climbed Calton Hill and got to see Edinburgh in all it’s sunny glory on Sunday and I fell in love with the city. It was breathtaking.

(Confession: the photo from the hilltop with all the people in it…I was really trying to take a picture of that adorable dog and then I realized how creepy that was but I still quite like how it turned out)

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DUBLIN: 

So, this last weekend, Emily and I went to Dublin, Ireland. Our primary reason for going was that we were seeing a Hudson-Taylor concert and we’ve loved them since before they had an album so it all felt justified to fly all the way to Dublin for them. We left my hostel in New Lanark at the unrighteous hour of 5am to take a taxis to the Edinburgh Airport (remember that thing about no trains out of Lanark on weekends… it’s super irritating). We caught our flight and when we got into Dublin, the sun was shining and it was beautiful. We took a bus to our hostel and ended up getting off at the wrong stop so we had to do a bit of walking, which wouldn’t have been bad except that Emily was planning on surprising her family by coming home 6 days early so we had her huge suitcase with us, in addition to our backpacks. When we arrived at our hostel, they told us that they were too full to put her suitcase in storage until we could check in. I got my mom voice out and told them we only 21 hours in this city and I would really appreciate it if they could take just her big suitcase, we could carry our backpacks. So they did and we made a plan of places to see and started with the Guinness Storehouse, which was primarily for me, because Emily doesn’t drink Guinness. And boy, was it awesome. I learned all about the manufacturing process of the beer and even got to pour my own pint. People aren’t kidding when they say that Guinness in Dublin is the best Guinness you’ll ever have. It was delightful. Then, we went back to our hostel, checked in, and headed to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Absolutely stunning. Those are my only words for it. As a history major, I was completely overwhelmed and ecstatic to be inside such a historically important church.

After our little trip to St. Patrick’s, we planned to stop and pick up our tickets for Hudson-Taylor from will call and the man there told us that the first 130 people were going to get wrist bands to have the front rows. Well, concerts aren’t really my thing so I would have been happy anywhere but Emily really wanted front row so we lined up around the building with everyone else and stood there, in the freezing rain, for 3 hours. While I wish I had been able to see Trinity College, the wait was well worth it because we were so close, at one point, we could touch them. They were amazing seats, minus the fact that once the concert was over, we had been standing for about 7 hours.

When we left Sunday morning, we parted ways. At the Dublin airport, I was selected for a random search, left 3 things of liquids in my bag on accident and was sweating my tail off by the time I made it to my gate. Landing in Edinburgh felt like home. I really love Scotland and while I was only in Ireland for 1 day, I feel so at home in Scotland that I was thrilled to be back. I wandered around Edinburgh, bought myself a pair of boots because it’s freaking freezing here, and then caught a 10:26 train home. However, this trip home did not take me the anticipated 1 hour 30 minutes. It took me 5.3 hours to get home because I assumed I could take a bus from Bellshill (like we did the weekend before. Again, no trains into or out of Lanark on weekends.) so I stood in that stupid parking lot (I’ll use American slang for all of you. Here in Scotland, it’s called a car park so if I accidentally type that in another post, don’t panic.) for 3 hours waiting for a bus that never came. Finally, I walked to the pub across the street and everyone inside felt so bad for me (because my phone was also dead so I had no way of looking up trains or buses) that someone bought me a cup of tea, another let me use her phone charger, and the pub owner got out his computer and helped me find a way home. I’m telling you, people in Scotland are seriously the nicest people alive. Well, I eventually made it home and I crashed around 5pm; it was an exhausting, cold day. Dublin was great, but I’m so glad to be back in cold, rainy, homey Scotland.

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Until next time,

-R

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