My Adventures in Scotland

We had no idea that our time in Scotland was going to be during the most highly anticipated political event of our generation. As a very generous birthday present for Roomie’s 30th birthday, we got to go on this vacation with family. I had zero involvement in planning (except for a few restaurant suggestions) and it was centered around golf. I had an amazing experience and want to share a little bit of it with you guys!

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We left London and headed for Turnberry, a golf resort that was, unbeknownst to us, just purchased by Donald Trump. The drive was about 90 minutes south from the Glasgow airport. There really was no town to go out in. The hotel was very nice and had a great spa so there was something for everyone.

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Roomie golfed Sunday morning and I went for a 7 mile run along the course and by the beach. It was breathtaking, relaxing and borderline surreal for me. I planned to get in 3 good runs while away. One in England (already accomplished) and two in Scotland (now one accomplished). Our trip was a total of 7 days so that gave me a day off in between.

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Turnberry was quite fancy and quiet. It was located right on the beach.

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Afterwards, I played 9 holes on the “Pitch & Putt” course with Roomie. This is basically a small course made up of 2-3 par holes for beginners. I had a blast and was surprised at how well I made contact with the ball. Golf is really hard and this was my first attempt off the driving range or putting green.

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We then headed to Edinburgh for the night. The castle was gigantic from the ground below. To think this thing was built originally in the 1200’s is unbelievable. Most has since been rebuilt but still!

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We had dinner at Rhubarb, a restaurant at the Prestonfield House about 10 minutes outside of town. It was very Downton Abbey. Afterwards, we toured the upstairs and secretly tried on some crowns. The food was delicious and the experience was like going back in time to the early 1900’s. My food experience at each restaurant was fish and vegetable heavy. The menus all were healthy by default. The food was usually locally sourced and in season. True to abroad notions, the portions were always a reasonable size.

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The next morning, we tried to go hiking up to Arthur’s Seat but the foggy weather Scotland is known for finally caught up to us.

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After getting half way up, we decided instead to walk the Royal Mile for a soggy tour at the Edinburgh Castle. I was expecting more exhibits of old rooms, costumes and armor but I guess like how we enjoy renovating and updating our living quarters so did they and not much is left of the old stuff.

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We then drove up to St Andrews, the home of golf, for the highlight destination of our trip to Scotland. St Andrews is also a college town where Prince William met Kate Middleton. I loved this little gem on our tour. Along the campus lies three little main streets filled with shops, restaurants and bars.

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I went running with my GoPro to take pictures along the way which is why I’m wearing a weird contraption on my chest. No make up and a salty boozy dinner does not make me look good… But I got in a good tempo 6 mile run!

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While Roomie golfed on Tuesday morning, I ran along the beach and through the town again, finding ruins from the 1200’s and 1500’s! The Old Course at St Andrews is literally where golf was invented. They have around 7 courses but everyone wants to play “The Old Course” for obvious reasons. If you watch golf ever, this is a pretty iconic shot of the final hole.

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Afterwards, I researched for the best Fish and Chips in town for town. We ate at The Tailend and were not disappointed. We started with a watermelon and halloumi cheese salad.

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For my meal, I ordered the small portion of the battered fish and chips. Tailend allows you to get it grilled but since I needed to try what the county is known for I went with the unhealthy version. It came with “chips” and mushy peas which were surprisingly delicious. The tartar sauce might have been my favorite part though.

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Afterwards, we stopped at an Ice Cream shop that said it had been run by 4 generations. I knew they had to be good so we shared a single scoop of a traditional Scottish flavor that tasted like caramel with little bits of vanilla fudge mixed in. I can’t remember the exact name but it tasted like butter pecan but fudge in place of the pecans. My breakfast was a chia bar before my run so I was a hungry girl!

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Later I went golfing on a beginner course called Balcove, This was the first time I’ve played a hole with 200+ yards without going over 6 strokes. I only lost 1 ball, too! I got close to hitting par a few times but overall I was satisfied and encouraged to keep at it. I thought it was a nice that the resort had a course for families and beginners despite being a mecca for really good golfers.

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Dinner at Adamson’s was the most reasonably priced dinner we had during our entire trip. It was amazing and after we hit up the St Andrews Brewery pub for a drink that cost 2.35 pounds – which is very cheap for a beer anywhere!!! Since it was the first week of classes and we stayed in town on a Monday and Tuesday night, the pubs were pretty quiet. I discovered alcoholic ginger beer while there and fell in love. I thought it was like cider but really it is a malt beverage with whisky which is not the healthiest order I could have made but happy I tried it!

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Our last night was in Glasgow. While we didn’t have much time to explore we went to dinner in the West End at the Ubiquitous Chip. The Chip is an institution having been around since the 1970’s!  The food was very creative. I was nervous ordering because I had no idea what anything was but I had one of the best meals of our vacation.

Glasgow was cool to visit at the end of our trip, the day before the voting of the referendum. It was the only large city to vote Yes. We saw lots people walking around with the “Yes” vote stickers and balloons. It was interesting seeing the difference political signs while driving through the country. It was easy to see what cities wanted freedom from England and which did not. The news was also very intriguing seeing how it was being reported by the BBC and Scottish BBC.

I got up a little early to go for a 3-4 mile run in Glasgow even though I got in my 3 runs already. I knew it was a long day and I would be up for 21 hours before bed – sitting at airports and on planes. I’m glad I did because both flights got delayed and I did a lot of sitting and eating. I’m glad to be back and finish my marathon training, as well as settle into my new home!

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