Monday, November 23, 2015

Aber week 9 and Edinburgh


Well my time is winding down here in Aber. Only 3 weeks left!

This past weekend Sarah and I ventured up to Edinburgh, Scotland! It was a 6 and a half hour train ride for me, but it was definitely worth it! On Friday after I finally arrived, we stopped to eat at this great Italian restaurant. The food was really good! We ended with these desert shots, which were like chocolate pudding and gram crackers, another was like a strawberry cheesecake, and the third was banana flavored! So good! We then made our way to our hostel that we would be staying at. I wasn't that impressed with it, but it could have been a lot worse. It was just kind of dirty and small. But after the first night, we went out on a walking tour of the city. We saw many of the big parts of the city which included:

Edinburgh Castle
St Giles’ Cathedral
The Royal Mile
Old & New Towns
Mercat Cross
Greyfriars Kirkyard (cemetery) and Greyfriars Bobby
Scott Monument
Princes Street Gardens
Site of Witch Burnings
The original ‘Hogwarts’
William Wallace and the Stone of Destiny
National Museum
Covenanters’ Prison
Martyrs’ Memorial
The Mound
Tron Kirk
The real Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
The Scottish Enlightenment
We got to see where J. K. Rowling wrote her first couple of books, the cemetery where she got some of the names, and the school where the original idea for Hogwarts came from. It was a great tour! After the tour we got some lunch at this BBQ place that was really good! We then ventured up to the castle. This place was amazing. It was so big and had a bunch of different displays of things that happened at the castle. The views from the castle was awesome as well. After the castle, we walked down part of the royal mile, going in and out of different shops. After that, we grabbed some food at a pub and then headed over to the Christmas market. There was a lot of different shops that were selling many different things. It was really neat to see! On Sunday, we grabbed a muffin at Starbucks then just headed out wondering around the town. We then grabbed some lunch at the Christmas market. After that, we walked down the street that they would be doing their Christmas lighting on. There was a lot of different stages where different groups would preform for people to watch. Around then, it was time for us to get back on the trains and head back.

This next weekend, I have a shooting club competition, so I am looking forward to that!

The Royal Mile

Where we at the first night


St Giles’ Cathedral


Where Diagon Alley is based on in Harry Potter


Edinburgh Castel


J. K. Rowling on Edinburgh's walk of fame


Edinburgh Christmas Village






Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Aber Week 8 and Dublin


I just got back from Dublin, Ireland, yesterday. It was so much fun. This is one of the places I have always wanted to go to. I took the train out of Aber on Friday right after class to head to Birmingham where I would hop on a plane to head over to Dublin. After a three hour train ride and an hour plane ride, I was finally in Dublin! I waited for an hour for Sarah's plane to arrive then we took a bus and a tram to get to the room we rented from Airbnb. On Saturday, Sarah booked a walking tour around a small portion of Dublin. I am so glad she found it because the tour guide was full of information. He took us around to the castle, viking remains, Christ Church Cathedral, The National Library, Temple Bar, Trinity College, and where U2 began. Even though it rained throughout the entire tour, it was still very informative and interesting to see all of the sites. We then grabbed some lunch at a bar that does this thing called a carvery. Carvery's are very popular in many pubs all through the UK and Ireland. A carvery is where there is about 5 different types of meat that is cut to order right in front of you. They also have many sides that go along with the meat. They give you a lot of food, which was amazing because we hadn't eaten all day and it was nearly 2 in the afternoon. After lunch we decided to just walk around Dublin for a while. We went back to the National Library and the National Museum to walk around the exhibits. Outside of the library and museum, there was a bunch of people gathered on the street because of the Paris attacks. It was a very scary deal when we learned that we had been in Paris only two months before. Later we grabbed some dinner from a little Italian restaurant where we had some really amazing pizza.

On Sunday, we started out by doing some more walking around. We started at the Samuel Beckett Bridge that was a very amazing architectural feat. We walked up and down a few streets looking in the occasional shop here and there. We grabbed some lunch at a burger kitchen that was pretty good. We did some more walking around and visited a park as we made our way to the Guinness Storehouse. The Guinness Storehouse was so neat to see. It was a self guided tour that took us through the entire brewing process. We then ended up at the top of the building where we overlooked the entire city. We got there when the sun was going down, so we got to see it all lit up. It was so cool. After the tour we grabbed some supper at a pub and that was about it for the day.

On Monday, I did not have much time before I had to head to the airport. Sarah and I grabbed some breakfast and then I headed to the airport. Sarah had a few more hours to spend in Dublin, but I needed to head to the airport around 10:30. After my hour long flight back to Birmingham, I got on the train heading back to Aberystwyth. When the train was about halfway back, which was an hour and a half, we were informed that the tracks in front of us were under "essential" repairs. Because of this, everyone heading on had to get on a bus. Long story short, after 3 and a half more hours on the bus, I finally arrived in Aber. It was a very long day for me.

Well, that is about all for this week. Edinburgh this next weekend!

Dublin Castle

Christ Church Cathedral

The Carvery 

Samuel Beckett Bridge 

O'Connel Street

Temple Bar

Guinness Storehouse

Rooftop Bar in Guinness Storehouse

Monday, November 9, 2015

Aber week 7 and Bath

Well my time in Aberystwyth is about done. Only 5 weeks left over here. It was a pretty standard week again, including shooting clay pigeons on Wednesday. On Friday, I hopped onto a train and headed down to Bath. It was a pretty neat little place in the southern part of England. I didn't get in until late on Friday night because it was a 5 hour train ride for me to get there. Sarah and I stayed in a hostel, which is pretty much just a room that has a bunch of beds. We were put in a room that had 6 sets of bunk beds. On Saturday, it was raining in the morning. After breakfast, we walked to the Bath Abby, which was a very elaborate church, kind of like the ones we saw back in Italy. We were trying to find things to do that were inside because of the rain. We ended up at the Holburne Museum, which was a collection of different paintings and art. It was all collected by one person who horded these pieces for himself. It was quite a collection, expanding over three floors. After that, we stopped into a few shops along this bridge, and then headed for the part of town called the Circus. The Circus is an actual circle. It is like a large round-about that has buildings that follow the road in the circle. It was pretty neat to see. We then walked back toward the city center for lunch and to just walk around the town. After walking around, we realized that we had missed a place called the Royal Crescent. It is where a residential building was built in a semicircle overlooking a park. It was really big and pretty cool to see. When we got back to the room, it was about time to eat. We saw a few places that looked decent to eat at, but we just decided to walk around and try to find something we liked. I am glad we did this because we ended up at a place called GrillStock BBQ. It was a smaller place that had a lot of character. The walls were curved like a small quanza hut and the inside was lined with corrugated metal. The food was great. I got a brisket sandwich and Sarah got pulled pork. Both sandwiches were great. The on Sunday, we toured the Roman Bath. It was where the Romans used the hot springs to heat the water that was used for bathing. It was very neat. That Sunday was like their veterans day. There was a moment of silence at 11 a.m. in remembrance of all of the soldiers in wars. It was mainly for the involvement in WWI and WWII. We then grabbed some lunch at an Italian restaurant and then headed on a walk along the river, as we had a few hours to kill before our trains came. It was a pretty fun weekend all around.

This weekend we are heading over to Dublin! I am pretty excited for this trip!
Until next week!

The Bath Abby

A weir on the river

The Holburne Museum

The Circus

The Royal Crescent 

The Roman Bath