Friday, November 11, 2011

Bonfires and Low Ceilings

It's November in St Andrews, Scotland. Obviously it's cold, but it's also dark. Dusk hovers over the town nearly all day before the sun fades away at around 4:30. By 5:00, it's pitch black. Shockingly, the magic of"I live in Scotland" hasn't worn off yet, so dark or not, I love it! This new lack of light is here to stay, at least for a while. Garrick and I have settled into "normal" life finally, and here's a peak at what we do:

Celebrate UK Holidays:

Yes, we're still roasting a turkey for Thanksgiving and will bake pumpkin pie, but we also recognize even unofficial UK Holidays. Guy Fawkes Day or more casually "bonfire night" remembers the 5th of November when the King escaped from assassination. Spontaneous and some planned firework shows and bonfires occur all over the UK. St Andrews celebrated as well, and we had friends over for games and then headed out to the beach to see the celebrations! The beach was busy with bonfires, fireworks, and people of all ages. We looked across the water and saw other bonfires dotting the coastline.

Take Day Trips:

I thought St Andrews was one of the most picturesque places in Scotland, besides Edinburgh and the Highlands. Then I went to the East Neuk! The sun shines brighter here than I've seen, illuminating the green grass, blue sky and ocean. Almost as if to say, "Sorry for hiding for the past week!" We enjoyed these coastal towns with our friends, the Morehouses. First stop, Pittenweem. Colorful terraced buildings, cobblestone roads, and charming independent shops make Pittenweem a perfect getaway. We stopped in at a chocolate lovers paradise.  The Cocoa Tree has my new favorite hot beverage: Dark Hot Chocolate. Garrick ordered Hazelnut Hot Chocolate and devoured it!

Then we walked to Anstruther.

I wanted to take the bus to Anstruther, but I'm happy my friends convinced me otherwise! Hungry, we chose the Dreel Tavern for lunch. Low ceilings, dim lighting, and funky patterned booths set the perfect pub atmosphere. Their menu was handwritten on a white piece of paper-according to Garrick this is a good sign! We had fish & chips (classic) and goat cheese and chorizo crustinis. YUM. After lunch, we strolled about and took in the scenery.

It's been a fun "reading week" as we were able to travel and spend time with friends. I've been working at the aquarium by day and enjoy socializing and relaxing in the evening. Garrick got an abstract accepted into a post-grad conference in Edinburgh in December, so he's been reading, writing, and sleeping. Tonight, we're trying out "The Lizard" (a place where students go to dance on the weekends) to have a good laugh with friends. Stay tuned for a post from MIA blogger Garrick Allen soon!


  1. Bonfire night was fun on our first year in Scotland but then miserable our second year since we worked for a fireworks company. Those Scots love their fireworks!
    Great photos and how exciting about the conference in Edinburgh in December! Are you going too?? You guys really need to go anyway to see the German and Highland Christmas market in downtown. It's incredible! You have to get pork sandwiches in the German market and mulled wine! Also there are some chocolate covered marshmallowy things in the German market that are delicious!!! We are so bummed to miss it this year.

  2. Maggie, I don't think I can attend the conference, but I think I'll be able to go and hear Garrick present. Another student in Garrick's program is also presenting so I may go with his wife. St. Mary's College at the University takes a big group down to the German Christmas Festival so we'll go with them! I am excited to experience it! I will take your advice on the food choices. :) Thanks for reading!!