St. Andrews, Scotland: Day 8
After eating yet another wonderful continental breakfast at the Holiday Inn Express, we headed to the train station in Stirling. We were headed to our 5th city, St. Andrews.
Because this trip was filled with lots of train rides and not enough good books to read... we quickly found the daily paper and competed to see who could finish the daily Sudoku puzzle first.
Also in the UK you will see a lot of these... crowns :) They're practically on everything: light posts, trash cans, land markers, etc.
Once we arrived in St. Andrews we dropped off our bags at the inn and then headed straight for the coast... a quick 2 blocks away! Even though it is the warmest time of year for Scotland, the weather was still not hot enough to go for a swim and layout. Sad. However, there are some crazies who are desperate enough for a their chance to swim in the ocean and they were swimming in the coastline man-made swimming pool. It's only accessible during low-tide (see picture for details).
Right behind where we were standing was the St. Andrews Castle. Only ruins remain, but it was beautiful to image what it used to be like. Very surreal and relaxing. Waves crashing, wind blowing, and sea gulls squawking.... ah, I love the coast.
Then made our way over to the St. Andrews Cathedral, another 2 blocks down the coastline. Sad to say that both of these beautiful historic monuments are now only remains of one of the most largest land marks to Scotland's history.
Where the pews and choir once used to stand are now thousands of graves. Some dating back to the 15th century and others just buried within the last 50 years.
Of course there was a tower to climb... so up we went! 253 steps later... we were at the top... and that was my workout for the day :) Beautiful views of the entire coastline and city!
St. Andrews is a rather small town, with a little less than 200,000 people, so you can enjoy leisurely walking to everywhere you need to go and enjoying the local eateries and shops. We stopped at, of course, a pizza place and can I tell you how fabulous it was! Goodness, if anyone tells me one more time that the food in the UK isn't that great I'm going to quickly correct them and show them my pictures. YUM! ZiZi's was the name of it and our waitress was from South Africa.
We ate right across the street where St. Mary's (the divinity school of St. Andrews University) is and where JT and I would be meeting a PhD student there later that afternoon.
JT is currently in the process of looking at a few PhD programs in the states, along with a few in the UK. So this worked out perfectly for us to be visiting St. Andrews! Prior to our trip JT set up time to meet with one of the PhD students, Steven, and also a potential professor that he might study under, Dr. Holmes.
After a quick stop back at our room, JT and I headed out to meet Steven and get a tour of the campus. Too bad it was Sunday. All the rooms were locked and no students where there (still summer and the fall students had not arrived back yet from vacation). Doesn't it remind you a little of Harry Potter?
Mom, this is the last picture of flowers I'll share. But just look at these Hydrangea bushes!!! Gorgeous! Why can't we grow these this big and beautiful in Texas?
That evening Steven invited us over to his home for dinner. His wife just had their second daughter and so his mother-in-law was visiting from McKinney, TX. It almost felt like we were already back home! We spent 4 hours visiting with them and learned all about their experience moving to the UK and what the last 3 years has been like. Oh, I almost forgot, Steven graduated from DTS 4 years ago and also studied under Dr. Bingham, who is the professor JT is interning with this year. So needless to say, it was a great time for JT to hear from someone who is essentially doing was he wants to do.
All in all, we know we could live in the UK, but we didn't leave with the feeling that we have to. Which is good! We'll just continue to pray for God's leading and that we'll have the obedience to follow.