Go Do - Jónsi


Hardcore Days & Softcore Nights

Scotland wins my love for favorite country in the UK. Our four day visit to Edinburgh, Elie, and St. Andrew's was absolute bliss. How to sum it up in one post?! I'll do my best.

Hailey and I on the coast
Staying on the Royal Mile put us at the base of Edinburgh Castle and the center of everything the country's capital does best. If I ever open a boutique, the storefront will be inspired by what I saw in Edinburgh. A little eclectic, a little traditional - who knew Edinburgh had such a great vintage selection? The girls and I went on half of Sandeman's New Europe Tour - but shopping & lunch was calling our names so we ditched the history lesson early.

Beautiful Edinburgh!
Hailey & I found the greatest potato shop for lunch, walked around, and made a pit stop at the Scottish National Gallery to check out its beautiful painting gallery. Leaving the museum, we caught a streetside bagpipe performance. So cultural! So fun!

Greyfriars Cemetery, the inspiration for several characters in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, was the highlight of the afternoon. Taylor, Kristen and I found the tombstones of Thomas Riddle, Professor McGonagall and some others. Located in the heart of Edinburgh, Greyfriars is both pretty and eerie - I loved it. We stopped for hot chocolate at The Elephant House after the cemetery, where Rowling penned the Sorcerer's Stone overlooking Edinburgh castle.
Pink & white 'mallows? Okay!

Taking pictures of snowdrops!
Day two started with a fun morning around Edinburgh before a train to the seaside town of Elie. Kristen's family friends, Marion & Dave, were our wonderful hosts for the next two nights. Their renovated loft is one of several in a 17th-century estate overlooking the woods - big, beautiful trees and snowdrop flowers cover the landscape. It was night and day, staying in their gorgeous space as compared to the sketchy hostels we've been frequenting! Marion and Dave went above and beyond to bless us over the next two days. It was such a treat!

Dave and Marion - THANK YOU BOTH! :)
We walked along the coast of Elie before returning for a wonderful dinner... wonderful is an understatement, it was actually the best meal I've had in Europe to date. No kidding. ITW (Is This Womanly?) became the phrase of the week... shout-out to Marion who gave us etiquette lessons over our stay. We are 10 times more cultured and refined now, thanks to her guidance.

Crail Harbour
Our tour of Scotland's fishing villages was on the schedule for Thursday, with a final destination of St. Andrew's! On the way, we stopped in Crail Harbour and for a tour of the fish market, where freshly-caught salmon and other North Sea fish are brought to be smoked, packaged, and shipped out worldwide. As a business minor, I loved getting a firsthand look at the logistics of the fishing industry. It was also THE best smoked salmon I've had in my life. 

On route to St. Andrew's, we stopped for hot chocolate, coffee, and Scottish tablets on the terrace of Crail Harbour Tearoom. It was beautiful by the sea - I love a good tearoom, so this hit the spot.
Coffee and hot chocolate at Crail Harbour
Arriving in St. Andrew's, we went directly to the fourth floor of the Old Course Hotel to get a view of the iconic golf course. The breathtaking view of the green running into the sea made me want to pick up golf again. We took pictures on the 18th-hole bridge, and I did my best Tiger impression in honor of my brother Justin (hollaaaa!). 
Rooftop of St. Andrew's Old Course Hotel
Following lunch at the course, we headed over to St. Andrew's University. I loved wandering through the brick buildings of the school, partly admiring its beauty and history, partly imagining myself as Kate Middleton meeting Prince William for the first time on campus... Creepy, I know. 

Pavlova for dessert
Dinner that night was a casual five-course dinner prepared by Marion, featuring the salmon from the market that morning and homemade rhubarb pie. Seriously - Marion and Dave outdid themselves. We had so much fun.

Friday was the send-off! We had lunch at a local pub in Elie before our hosts dropped us off for a flight from Edinburgh to Brussels.

Kristen and I on the coast!
Scotland was wonderful. I want to visit again some day, maybe in the summer for a round of golf at St. Andrew's and a sailboat ride to one of the many islands off the coast... you know, something simple. Four days was not long enough!

Check out the pics here!

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