Posts Tagged With: parents

Edinburgh

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The view from outside Edinburgh castle.

One day I am going to run away to Scotland forever – though I think I might need a vacation home somewhere else for when I get tired of the cold. Not sure I could live so far north year-round.

Both times I have been in Scotland, I spent most of my time in Edinburgh (I’d love to take a few weeks or a month to just wander around the entire country, though). Once our little traveling circus got off the train and got a taxi to our little rented apartment – on the Royal Mile! perfect tourist location – we headed out to explore and find dinner. It was windy and cold, of course, so I got to use the coat I just bought a few days prior in York.

Before arriving I had planned on making it to the top of Arthur’s Seat for the second time. With the weather heralding the start of winter, mom and dad, unfortunately, did not want to climb Arthur’s Seat. I admit, it was a bit colder and windier than the first time I had gone up it (I was wearing a t-shirt). Dad and I did hike up for a few minutes, which gave us a great view for picture-taking. I love being able to see the sea from various points in Edinburgh, and then turn around and see the rest of the city.

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A picture of me taking pictures.

Once again, Dad and I did a bit more walking around in Edinburgh than mom. The second day we sat in Starbucks and walked through a few really, really gorgeous churches until the rain stopped, skipping the first free walking tour scheduled for the morning. Once the weather had improved from downright miserable to just cold and windy, we joined the huge IMG_2626group of tourists waiting for the next Sandeman’s tour. Our guide was entertaining (as they all usually are), and as I was attempting to pay attention to him and keep an eye on dad at the same time…. I lost dad.

He (and a few others from the group) had stopped to take a picture while the rest of the (rather large) group crossed the street. By the time he looked up, the traffic lights had changed and he and the others with him had to wait until they could cross. By the time they had crossed…. we had taken a sharp right turn into a dark narrow alley. So, I paid a bit more attention to where he was after that. I also voted him Most Likely to Get Left Behind on Family Vacations. Due to taking pictures, of course.

Losing family members and cold rain paired with violent gusty winds aside, Edinburgh is still one of my favorite places to visit. I don’t think I’ve ever seen architecture in person quite like what you see around the Royal Mile. The ease of escaping the buildings to the complete wilderness of the area encompassing Arthur’s Seat is undoubtedly part of it’s appeal as well.

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No matter how much time we spent walking around the city, I could not get over the architecture. All of the stonework is stunning, and I will forever love colorful shop fronts.

“Adventure is worthwhile.” – Aristotle

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Travel by Train

IMG_2452Over my four months abroad, the train has definitely been my favorite way to travel. From Brighton to Derbyshire and across Italy, it has been the most relaxing way for me to get around, so we were definitely utilizing this mode of transportation when my parents came to visit. (Why don’t we have widespread trains back home? Get it together, America.) Dad was excited for his first train ride, and I think Mom was just happy to travel above ground. We took a little day trip to Brighton, and were able to enjoy the whole trip without any stress.

The day after Brighton, however, we turned into a traveling circus. Have you ever taken three people with 45 lbs suitcases and a carry on each (plus a backpack for me, because, well, 4 months abroad means needing more stuff) on a bus, then the tube, then through King’s Cross? Hahaha. We probably would have been better off with a taxi to King’s Cross, but you live and learn and attempt to save money.

I’m already looking back and laughing at how hilarious we probably appeared, from King’s Cross to York and York to Edinburgh. Thank goodness for taxi drivers who didn’t complain too much about the heavy luggage on the way to/from the train stations, hotels, and airports. (Because we did definitely use taxis in York and Edinburgh.)

Now, the US just needs to get some decent train lines for passengers so I can easily visit all the friends I met this summer! And while I do actually love the traveling part of traveling (except for airport security), I found this quote appropriate:

Most travel is best of all in the anticipation or the remembering; the reality has more to do with losing your luggage.  ~Regina Nadelson

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York: In Which We Had A Personal Tour Guide

IMG_2518My first time to see York was during  a 4 hour stop during 2012. I lovedIMG_2496 it and always wanted to return, so I made sure we stopped over for a few nights on our way to Edinburgh. As soon as we set our bags down in the hotel we went walking along the picture-perfect river until we found a pub for dinner. We soaked up possibly the last rays of sunshine for the rest of our European trip at the table outside as the local university crew teams rowed by.

No one could ever convince me sticky toffee pudding isn’t the best invention since sliced bread.

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“This is normally where I take the big group shot. …..Want me to take a picture of you guys with your camera?”

Mom decided to have a slow, late breakfast on the cold, rainy next morning while dad and I found the meetup spot for the free walking tour I RSVP’d us for. The poor tour guide thought he would be able to go home because no one would show up – and indeed… Dad and I were his only two tourists. It worked out well for us, at least… We could always hear what the guide was saying and could ask any question at any time.

Bonus: Dad didn’t get lost when he stopped for pictures, since there were just the three of us. I think we finished a 2.5 hour tour in slightly under 2 hours, seeing as three people can move much faster than a group of 20. The guide was a history student at the local university, and was a walking encyclopedia about York and its history. (Thanks to this tour, I have a book about the Wars of the Roses on my 2015 reading list.)

We walked the old city walls, saw buildings made from the remnants of other buildings, and I almost sat in an old Roman stone coffin. (It was too wet.) My boots started leaking as my toes were cold and socks felt slightly soggy, but we learned how to tell the difference between original stone steps and Victorian-era “restorations,” which was cool. The Shambles were nearly empty due to rain… And it is difficult to not be in awe of York Minster, the largest medieval cathedral in Northern Europe.

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Me and the most touristy umbrella I will ever hold. But it was cheap, and held up for the 5 days I needed it after my old one died a rusty death.

Dad and I picked up mom from the hotel (luckily, the rain had ceased and I could put on some warm, dry socks), and we went walking through the streets to look through the shops. York was the only place we almost lost mom, thanks to the yarn shop where she was helping a lady pick out a complimentary color for a scarf to be knitted. Despite the after-rain crowds, getting lost around The Shambles was fun, especially when we ran across a street market full of tents and I found my new favorite winter coat. It is a monster of a coat with a hood and I wore it every day for the rest of our trip… (And I have been wearing it back home every day the weather is under 45 degrees.)

The next morning our traveling circus was at it again, dragging all of our luggage through the York train station and stuffing it in the luggage racks on our way to Edinburgh. I wished we had time for a longer stay, but at the same time I was excited to get to Scotland.

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York Minster. Breathtaking.

“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.”
― Jawaharlal Nehru

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Brighton, Revisited

IMG_9359My first visit to Brighton was spent by myself. It also ended with a pretty intense sunburn (England does have sun, occasionally). This time I took my parents along with me – I knew they would enjoy the shops and the laid-back atmosphere after dragging them all over central London for a few days.

I also slapped on a tiny bit of sun screen. Just in case.

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This is what our Christmas card looked like, by the way. All of their cut-out photos.

Exploring the pier turned out to be unexpectedly hilarious, because mom and dad posed behind every single cutout we found. Then mom and I hopped on a ride – I couldn’t convince either of them to get on the one that went upside down, though.

Predictably, mom was extremely happy about going in and out of all the little shops in The Lanes. We ate a late lunch at The Little Tea Shop in the Lanes, which was a place I had found on my previous trip. (Side note: I miss tea shops.) All in all, it was a very relaxing day filled with wandering around and relaxing in the little striped lounge chairs on the pier.

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