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Previous Chapters of the Travel Diary:
Chapter One: Stonehaven
Chapter Two: Fetteresso Part I
Chapter Three:Fetteresso Part II
Chapter Four:Kirkton Village and the Ceilidh

Chapter Five: Welcome to our fifth chapter of the travel diary. Today we visit the seaside university town of St Andrews.

Teaser Preview Pics:






Tavi: Here is 10 Hope Street, close to the bus stop, and where I used to live. Rooms here are very expensive. When I lived here, we had to pay 4000 + pounds up front. The letting company has since gone bankrupt, and the owner has allegedly fled to France, with this year's students deprived of their room and the money they've already paid.

Karen: This street has the further distinction of being the home of Prince William when he attended St Andrews.


Tavi: A hedgehog truffle, which I think is exclusive to this bakery. They're lovely, although there has been considerable inflation of the price. When I first came, you could get two for one pound. Now the price for just one truffle is about 95p. I like to pick its eyes out first.

Karen: She talks calmly about picking the eyes out of her hedgehogs so they can't look at her as she's eating them, but she finds graveyards to be creepy! *shakes head in bemusement*

The truffles are incredibly rich. We ate ours sitting outside near a street corner where a boy kitted out in full regalia was playing the bagpipes. The music wasn't exactily conducive to digestion. (We apparently failed to capture this one on video, so you're spared for the moment. But we'll make up for our oversight in a few days when we do the Scone Palace post. *stays mysteriously silent*)


Tavi: This is the church in the middle of Logies Lane, which is very Notre Dame like at midnight with its tolling bells.

Karen told me she would just pop her head round the door, and I was left outside the gates holding our food watching the clock above...for over twenty minutes!

Karen: This is Holy Trinity Church. It was quite lovely inside, and there was a lot to look at, as well as a very nice elderly gentleman whose purpose seemed to be to provide a guided tour of the church (kirk) to anyone who engaged him in conversation. That accounts for at least ten of the minutes I kept Tavi waiting.

Holy Trinity is also the place from whose pulpit John Knox exhorted his Calvinist followers to ransack the Cathedral. You'll see the results of that a bit further along in this post.


Tavi: Twenty minutes! The Catholic atheist/agnostic in me still thought it was wrong to bring food into the church to go look for her (and I was also a little concerned about bursting into flames) so I stood there...for twenty minutes...wondering if they'd chained Karen in a Satan Chimney or something, like that episode of Jonathan Creek.

Karen: Tavi isn't mentioning it, but her main complaint about my lengthy stay inside the church was because it was delaying us getting to her favourite ice cream shop. As to the danger of bursting into flames if she entered the church, I'm a lapsed Catholic as well, but I suffered no ill-effects from my visit. And I came away with some lovely photos.


Tavi: This is St Mary's College. It is mostly for "divinity" subjects, but also philosophy and psychology. Karen was most impressed by a rubbish bin nearby which had a university crest on it.

Karen: Most people passing by were too polite to ask why we were taking photos of a rubbish bin....


Tavi: Mary Stuart (Mary, Queen of Scots) apparently planted a tree here; perhaps the one in the centre.


Tavi: This is Blackfriars ruins. It may look vaguely like a tourist attraction here, but it serves now as a bus stop outside Madras College. It was once part of a larger abby for Dominican monks, until John Knox's preachings incited attacks against them. This is all that is left after the place was ransacked and burned.


Tavi: Karen was very interested in the unusual names of the streets here.

Karen: I still think "Slug Road" in Stonehaven is my favourite.


Tavi: Here is the haunted death spot of a former student here who was burnt for being a Lutheran.

Karen: He was only 26 years old when he died.


Tavi: The tower of St Salvators. The bells ring very noisily and can be heard over in the new town. They will ring for ages when there is a wedding here, and...


Tavi: ...we picked the right day. You can't really see the wedding party, because I did my best to cut them out of frame, but they are to the right, on the central lawn.

Karen: We didn't want to disturb the wedding party, so we admired the quad (and the male wedding party members in kilts) from a distance.


Tavi: This is more of St Salvator's College. I first came here to do my Latin recitation back in school...you can see a reproduction of it below.

Karen: The wedding party is once again out of frame, this time to the left of the photo.





Tavi: Believe it or not, I actually won the competition one year! This is me doing the only Latin poem I can remember, one by Catullus. It's about the poet inviting his friend Fabullus over to dinner, telling him he will have a fabulous time, providing he brings the dinner with him, as well as the wine, the entertainment, the pretty girls...because poor Catullus is broke and can only give him some really good perfume from his wife. So allegedly good that when Fabullus smells it, he will want to turn into a giant nose!

Karen: Tavi won the competition, but her school kept the prize, which seems a little unfair. As to the subject of the poem, I was fine until the giant nose came along....


Tavi: St Andrews has had strict laws in place to limit the expansion of chain shops here. Individual unique shops were cultivated for a long time, and you can see a very old bookstore there. But a Tescos was allowed for convenience, as was a Woolworths, and in the past two years, Starbucks and Subway were allowed to set up amongst all the little cafes. McDonalds are still banned for the moment.

Karen: Among the "unique shops" mentioned by Tavi was a butcher's which had carcasses hanging in the window....


Tavi: St Andrews has lots of little streets-in-between-streets, like this one here. There used to be a very nice underground cafe, one which tourists might label as "quaint". It's been converted into a modern foreign cuisine restaurant now. The cuisine changes every time it is sold. I can't remember what it is now, but the first time, it was French.


Tavi: Here is St Rules Tower at the ruined Cathedral.

Karen: John Knox's handiwork. He preached his sermon at Holy Trinity Church, and this is what happened.


Tavi: After debates, students often walk out onto the pier here.

Karen: I wonder if any students remember why they started doing it, or if it's just something that's now taken on a life of its own.


Tavi: This is the wall I walked upon. You can see how high it is, but you can't see how narrow. Nor what it looks like the other side: choppy seas and rocks.

Karen: High and narrow, and, you'll notice, with no railings. I decided to stay a little closer to the ground, and walked alongside the wall (at the level of that bench you see in the lower left-hand corner). Even from there, it was a good long drop down to the water.





Tavi: This is what it looked like peering over the edge of my narrow walk! It's not so bad! I've done it before in winter when it was dark and very windy.

Karen: Did you ever ask yourself precisely why you wanted to risk being blown out to sea?


Tavi: Karen didn't fancy it, for some reason. I did get a better vantage point for photos though.

Karen: It's a wonder Tavi didn't want to climb to the top of St Rule's Tower. She probably would have, if it hadn't been starting to rain, and if we hadn't had to get home in time for the ceilidh.


Tavi: Here is a photo round the cliff side. The area above it is called "The Scores."

Karen: The third thing St Andrews is noted for, of course, is golf. I met an American couple from Dallas, Texas on the Edinburgh train one day; they'd come all the way from the U.S. to see friends in London and then spend a few days playing golf in St Andrews. No golf photos from us, though.

Tavi: That must be the one thing I agree with Jeremy Clarkson on: golf is the most boring sport ever invented.


Tavi: The view of St Andrews in the distance from the pier as we prepare to walk all the way back in the rain. Karen is finding it hard to get used to how it can still rain here even though the sky still has blue fluffy clouds at the same time.

Karen: Rain certainly comes and goes here at the drop of a hat. I've learned never to leave the house without an umbrella tucked in my bag.


Tavi: This is the beach where Chariots of Fire was made.

Karen: I had the Vangelis score from the film running through my head for the rest of the evening. Or at least until we got to the ceilidh.

Next time: Karen and Tavi get lost in Dunnottar Woods and chase rabbits.

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
foudebassan
Jul. 17th, 2008 12:02 pm (UTC)
I got your postcard in the mail this morning - thank you!
aswanargent
Jul. 20th, 2008 09:13 am (UTC)
You're welcome! I've been sucking up postcards like a sponge everywhere we go, so it's possible you might get another one. :-)
catheights
Jul. 20th, 2008 01:56 am (UTC)
Your pictures are stunning. I love the one of the St Rules Tower at the ruined Cathedral.
aswanargent
Jul. 20th, 2008 09:22 am (UTC)
Some of the pictures are from my camera, and some are from Tavi's, but I don't really take credit for any of them; I just point and shoot and the camera does the rest. But Tavi gets all of the credit for the post-production work: uploading the pictures, resizing them (before we thought of changing the picture size on the camera itself), sticking them into picture posts, and doing all the html coding so that everything is ready for me to add some commentary.

I'll tell you, though, this part of Scotland is so beautiful that there are calendar-quality vistas everywhere you look. Think of New England in autumn and you'll know what I mean.
aswanargent
Aug. 3rd, 2008 03:12 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Sorry to be so late replying, but from the 22nd on I was in Edinburgh with no internet access, and then on the 26th I came home. I've only been able to get online at work this past week when I could steal a little time from the piles of stuff on my desk, all with frightening "Do ASAP!!!" notes to myself attached, lol. (Well, you'll know all about that, won't you, having just come back from vacation yourself! Speaking of which, I hope you'll share some of the pics from your Italy trip when you have the time.)
luci_2
Aug. 2nd, 2008 05:57 pm (UTC)
I' m back and the pics are more amazing than ever.
The pier is frightening: it reminded me of 'The French Lieutenant's
Wife'.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )