We woke up in St Andrews to a cold and windy rain. My parents were supposed to play golf on the Jubilee Course, but the conditions were not looking good. We got breakfast at our hotel, where I of course had the Scottish porridge again. While still good, it was not the best that I’d had on this trip.
It was looking like my parents were going to have to cancel their round of golf and so we had to trek down to the clubhouse to do so. It was another incredibly brutal day in Scotland and the wind tore us to bits.
Once there, we did some shopping in the proshop and got a cup of coffee to watch the rain from the warm indoors. We could see there were still a couple of golfers brave enough to continue playing and we did not envy them. Thankfully, our round wasn’t on the Old Course (one of the most exclusive golf courses in the world as it’s the origin of the game) so we didn’t feel obligated to tough the weather out. My stepdad, an avid golfer, said that it isn’t golf anymore in this weather. When you’re miserable and the weather makes it impossible to have any skill or do well, what’s the point?
Eventually we had to go outside again and make the journey back up to town. My mom had to get sand from the beach though and made us walk closer to the ocean. Of course it was the worst weather there with nothing shielding you from the wind and water getting everywhere. Then we needed to take a selfie with the Old Course in the background and when the first couple weren’t up to par, we had to take more.
Once we were back in town though the buildings were a tremendous help in shielding us from the winds. It was so much easier and I was much more willing to be outside.
While doing some shopping we went into this bookstore called Topping & Company Booksellers. It was an amazing bookstore. Shelves completely filled and we were offered coffee and it was a really great selection too. I could have spent hours there, but alas I had to cut my browsing short as I was with others.
We stopped at a deli called Mitchell’s on Market Street, one of St. Andrews’s primary streets. It was really good and a very popular lunch spot for others.
Next was dessert. We went to Jannetta’s Gelateria on South Street, the next street up from Market. There was a wide variety of gelato flavors there and I struggled in making my decision. There was even a haggis flavor! If you don’t know from one of my previous posts, haggis is a traditional Scottish food that contains sheep’s liver, heart, and lungs. I was not brave enough to try this though.
I separated from my parents afterwards to meet up with one of my friends from back home. We both attend Villanova and she is studying at the University of St Andrews for the semester.
After grabbing coffee at her favorite place, Gorgeous, she showed me the student side of the town. I got to see where their galas are held as well as St Salvator’s Hall, Prince William and Kate Middleton’s freshman (first year) dorm where they met. Of course it’s known as one of the more beautifully old dorms and is exactly what you’d picture as a freshman dorm for them.
Next, we went down to the beach. Not the same beach I complained about earlier that I went to with my parents, but one more out of the wind and calmer. I think it was close to St Andrews Castle, but I am unsure. Abby was my guide and I was just blindly following her. You can also find a lot of sea glass on this beach! Abby and I made a joking theory that it was all coming from Ireland and their broken bottles.
Soon she had to go off and write a paper as St Andrews is one of the most challenging universities in the U.K. so it required much more time and effort.
I met back up with my parents for a pint at the Dunvegan Pub. It has photos of famous golfers covering the wall and even the ceiling! It’s right near the golf course and uses that to its advantage.
Soon was dinner where I was to reunite with a childhood friend. We had been best friends till we were six years old and her family moved to China and then to Norway. Through facebook I learned that she was studying at St Andrews and we made plans to take her out to dinner when we were in town.
We went to Tailend, a seafood restaurant on Market Street. It was really great seeing her again after nearly fourteen years. Of course it was slightly awkward as you never know how a person can turn out after such a long time, but I was so thankful that somehow our paths were able to cross again.
The world can be so small at times. She was still a great person who if we were able to be in each other’s lives more, I think we still would have been really good friends. We had things in common still and a lot to talk about. Perhaps one day the world will bring us back together.
We eventually had to separate again and we headed back to our hotel, happy to have seen an old friend.
We went to bed knowing the next day we had to be up early to return our rental car to Edinburgh.
What I thought was going to be an early night ended up with me waking up at midnight feeling intense anxiety. I felt too full still and hot and sweaty. I went to the bathroom where I soon realized I was getting food poisoning and it wasn’t coming up through my mouth.
I was in the bathroom till about three in the morning and then eventually went back to bed. The next morning, it was still coming out of me. I couldn’t eat breakfast without feeling nauseous and I was incredibly cranky. I felt bad since it was my parent’s last day and about halfway through the day I began feeling a little better. It still kept coming and going throughout the day though.
I felt like crap. I’m not sure what I ate at Tailend and I was very disappointed because it was a really good restaurant, but something obviously went wrong. At least it was on a day where we didn’t have many concrete plans though and I didn’t feel like I was missing out on any experiences.
P.S. We later learned that the wind and rain we experienced was nothing compared to what hit other parts of the U.K. It was called Storm Doris and in some areas winds got up to 90 mph apparently. One woman died because debris was blown onto her. It was cold and windy for us, but we got off easy.
Overall Thoughts on St Andrews:
What a great town. It’s very sophisticated university feeling and had a great amount of quality restaurants and shops. For a relatively small town, it was well-stocked in stores too though. There wasn’t a Primark, but there was an H&M! While the town was amazing, it was also isolated. There isn’t much around it and the airport in Edinburgh is an hour away. I’m glad I decided not to study at St Andrews because while I think I would have loved the college feel of it, I also would have gone stir crazy at the difficulty of traveling outside Scotland. I loved the town and I think it’d be a great place to live once you’re settled more, but I’m not there just yet.
It was a great time getting to meet up with two of my friends though and I really enjoyed our time in St Andrews. A high recommendation from me to visit this quintessential Scottish town.
What kinds of towns do you prefer to live in? Do you like big cities or small towns? If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why? Everybody’s tastes and preferences are different so I want to hear about yours!