May 6, 2011 In life

strolling through st. andrews, scotland

after a day of walking around edinburgh, we both knew we wanted to go see some of the scotland countryside… take a bus or a train to somewhere. originally, i was thinking glasgow [simply because i saw it on the map when i was planning] but the more i heard about it, the more i decided it wasn’t worth the effort. commercialized and overrated was the verdict? a blog reader, linda pugh, happened to email me with a few recommendations of things to do in the UK and st. andrews, scotland was on the list! i had never heard of the place but julie described st. andrews as a medieval university town and an international golfing mecca.

kristen and i spent two and a half hours on a bus from edinburgh, arriving at st. andrews just around one o’ clock. [side note: we should have taken a train. we took a train home. that’s a different story for a different blog post.] a short walk from the st. andrews bus station led us to the heart of the city: market street. linda had given us a wonderful lot of recommendations: things to see, where to find good coffee, the best restaurants in town, what to avoid. i recognized many places as we walked– loving all the helpful recommends that have been flooding my inbox the last month. blogs are such great connectors.

st. andrews did not disappoint. right away, it is evidently a college town. coffee shops, cafes, restaurants everywhere. we stopped at zest2go for a couple smoothies: razzmatazz for me, paradiso for kristen. our barista [much like the waitress from under the stairs] had the simple, indie style i adore so much. an orange loose sweater, cropped at her waist, over a fitted black dress, black tights short brown boots. her hair messily up in a bun, bangs framing her face. the style i loved [when i spotted it] in edinburgh is on fire in st. andrews. there are many, many thrift stores around town–and i feel like the students there know how to mix classic pieces with thrifted items to create such a put-together but still relaxed wardrobe. we never saw anyone look “done up”–all boots and plaid and buns and scarfs and tights and sneakers and blazers. it also happens to be the land of cute couples.

awkward moment of the day. walking down a street, we passed a man on his cell phone. i always check out style: he was wearing great jeans, cool shoes, button-up, messenger bag–overall an attractive guy. we often note cute girls and cute guys and cute couples, so as we passed, i whispered to kristen: attractive. great shoes. she says, who? i missed it? where? and turns around. whips her head back around to me. umm, he was looking this direction and we made eye contact. keep walking, keep walking. [we are only about fifteen feet ahead of this guy at that point.] bahaha. juuust one girl checking you out, whispering to her friend, friend whipping around to make eye contact with you and then whisper back to her friend. no worries.

there were plenty of people walking around for a small town, yes, but it never felt overwhelming or crowded. endless side streets to explore, most of them empty of people but full of colourful doors, cobblestone floors. we walked by the northpoint cafe, laughing at the publicity they are loving: “william and kate had coffee here!” — st. andrew’s was the town the royal couple studied in.

as every other day when traveling, it’s all about the food and coffee. you eat, walk until you feel like you can eat again, then eat and repeat. for lunch, we tried a placed called the rule: great food, cool atmosphere. i had an amazing lentil soup and a chicken apple salad. for an afternoon coffee break, we stopped into beanscene–a funky place–the kinda scene i feel at home in. macbooks galore, full of students with great style, friendly baristas, art on the walls… unfortunately the americano was disappointing. i am embarrassed that i have become a little bit of a coffee snob. a proper americano should be bold, with the crema still visible on top! it was weak, no crema; although they were nice to add an extra shot for free at my request, still weak. boo. nice place to hang though.

for dinner, we ate at the highly recommended glass house on north street. they had a two course, complimentary drink deal for nine pounds. i promised myself i would photograph the food and then it came and i forgot. but it was delightful. we had the funniest adventure on the way home, but the important bit of news, we made it back to kingsway guest house in edinburgh at eleven that night… and that’s all that mattered!

  • Haha, the attractive guy story is GREAT! I can just picture it :D

  • These photos are actually really beautiful. ^_^

  • I’ve always wanted to go to St. Andrews! I’m so jealous! I’m a huge golf nut, and would love to play at the Old Course,but I’ve never made it up there. Maybe the next time I’m in London I’ll make a trip up to Scotland… Anyway, your images are beautiful and can’t wait to see more from your trip!

  • These are LOVELY. That city looks so cute and fun!!

  • I studied abroad at St Andrews for a semester, a charming town that steals a tiny piece of your heart forever. Thanks for bringing back some memories, Jamie.

  • Hi Jamie, My daughter, Amy http://lemonandraspberry.com/about/ let me know about your posts of Scotland. We’re heading out there with them in August and its so great to see and hear your perspective of some of the places that we’re planning to visit. I’ll look forward to more posts. Thanks so much!

  • I am loving your photos! I haven’t been up to date on your blog and didn’t realize that you were going to be in my side of the world!! I live in England (though I am American!) and I love that you took a photo of the Gospel Hall!! We go to a Gospel Hall down here in Birmingham.
    I travelled too when I was here as a student and know all about the waiting and the missed buses or trains!