Thursday, December 17, 2009

First Snow!!!

I know there's only a light dusting, but the first snow it just so special that I had to share it with all of you!!


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Christmas is Here!!

The Christmas season has kicked off with a bang here in Edinburgh! To get into the Christmas spirit, my friends and I went down to Princes Street for the German Christmas Markets and the lighting of the Christmas Tree!!!

The German Christmas Markets are adorable and charming. It was quite cold outside, so we started with mulled wine to warm ourselves up, and then wondered through the booths looking at all the little Christmas trinkets. And of course, all the walking made us hungry, so we had to enjoy some of the amazing German food! As for me, I went straight for the desserts and had apple strudel with cream and black forest cherries! It was divine!

Then, we wondered around the rest of the festivities! Complete with a merry-go-round, a Ferris wheel, an ice skating rink, gigantic snow globes, and much more!!! Absolutely amazing!!

As the time for the Christmas Tree lighting grew near, we headed up to the mound to search for a good spot. It was freezing, but we all endured the blistering wind by singing Christmas carols while we waited for the Christmas lights! And boy was it worth the wait! The gigantic tree light up like magic, and fireworks blasted off as thousands of people shouted and cheered!

And to end the night on a great note, we walked around Georges Street, also gorgeously decorated for Christmas and stepped into the Dome Bar to admire the decorations (which were stellar!!)

Hope everyone is also enjoying the start of the holiday season!


Friday, December 4, 2009

Morning Walk

To give you all a better idea of my daily life here in Edinburgh, I took some pictures from my morning walk around Arthur's Seat. It was a very wet and dreary day, so I'm sorry for the poor photos! I'll try to catch a sunny day here for better pictures!

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Bonny Green Land of Leprechauns and Guinness!

For the weekend, I flew to Dublin with seven other friends, for a bargain price of 20 pounds (around $35)!!!!!! I flew out on Friday, the morning after another whisky tasting, so I was a little rough around the edges. But Sam and I didn't fly out until 1 in the afternoon, so we were able to have a nice, slow morning. We walked to the train station and then took a bus to the airport. We met our friends at the airport and then flew to Dublin!! It was the shortest flight, only 45 minutes and we were in the bonny green land of shamrocks, leprechauns and, of course, Guinness!!

Here's a picture of Amanda and I in the taxi to our hostel:

We stayed in a great hostel right in the heart of the Temple Bar district. It was clean (very important when you are sleeping and sharing restrooms with 30 other people). The people were nice and there was great banter in the common rooms.

Pictures of the outside of the hostel:

When we arrived, we were starved so we went to a pub for dinner. I had the best fish and chips ever!! And a Guinness to drink!! After, we walked around the temple bar district looking for pubs to drink and banter. While walking we saw the Molly Malone Statue!! And walked down the most charming street, Grafton Street, decorated with Christmas lights and street performers!

We ended the night at what we call an old-man's pub! My favourite type of pub with great drinks and folk singers!! We sang some of my favourite Irish song such as "Whiskey in the Jar" and "The Wild Rover"!!!! It was a blast!

After a good nights rest, or at least as good as a hostel gets, we started the day in pouring rain. Before Scotland, I would have been put out by the rain, but now rain doesn't even phase me anymore!! Besides, nothing was going to stop me from seeing the Book of Kells!! Thus, our first stop: Trinity College and the Book of Kells!

Trinity College was charming and beautiful! Almost as much as Edinburgh Uni…

Here are some pictures of Trinity:

Inside the library of Trinity College in the famous Book of Kells! The Book of Kells is a historical manuscript, probably created by the monks of Iona during the spread of Christianity in the British Isles and Ireland. It is just so amazing to see how much effort was put into making the book and the details and artistry… I am such a history geek! I loved it!!

After seeing the Book of Kells, we visited the Long Library of Trinity and wow! My dream come true! I love books, especially old books, and this library hall was packed full! The library was incredible! A taste of heaven on earth!!

Then, we ventured back outside into the rain to tour Dublin. We stopped by the river Liffey, which separates the city of Dublin.

Then we walked over to the Dublin Castle. Not quite as grand as Edinburgh Castle ( I may be bias), but still a classic medieval and gothic castle with modern additions. Here are some pictures of the castle (Sam told me to act like a princess)

Next stop was the Christ Church Cathedral, which like every cathedral was outstanding and gorgeous!!

Then, I made Sam walk over to the St. Patrick Cathedral with me! You can't go to Dublin without seeing it!! Unfortunately, due to a graduation ceremony, we were unable to go inside, but the architecture outside was stellar and the courtyard was beautiful.

After, and to truly experience Irish culture, we went to the Guinness Factory!!! The queue was very long, but we managed to get inside and tour the seven floors of the tourist factory! We toured through the process of brewing the draft and even had a gigantic Guinness chocolate cupcake!! Here are some pictures including a map of the factory:

Then, at the top, is the Gravity Bar, where we received our complementary pint of Guinness (complete with a clover on top) and could see a 360 degree view of the city of Dublin!!! :)

After, we walked back to the hostel, and met back up with everyone else for dinner. I had Irish stew and Guinness! Yum!

After bantering for awhile, we walked over to another pub called the Porterhouse. A great pub with four floors, each with their own bars and live Celtic music!! It was so much fun, and a great note to end this fabulous trip!!

I really loved Ireland, but I am Scottish through and through. It was a great trip, but I was happy to come home to Edinburgh!