Monday, November 9, 2009

St. Andrews, Scotland

I'm slowly working my way through video taken during our recent trip to Scotland. I don't have much in the way of editing tools so I find myself stuck with the raw video. Ah well. I'm learning a lot about what I should and shouldn't do next time.

This little movie of St. Andrews was taken after a harrowing drive from Edinburgh in a rental car. Thankfully, my husband was driving because we wouldn't have made it alive if I had been behind the wheel. Even though I began to get used to seeing people drive on the left side of the road, there is something forever cemented in my brain that kept screaming, "LOOK OUT! You're going to die because you're on the wrong side of the road!" I wish I was just being dramatic, but I'm not. I was a complete wreck by the time we got back to our flat that evening. My husband and I had a little heart-to-heart about avoiding rental cars as much as possible for the rest of our vacation. I had to voice my concerns tactfully so as not to insult his driving techniques. Being the wonderful man that he is, he took it all in stride.

On this particular day we ended up driving a little more than necessary because we kept missing turns that were clearly marked on our map, but not on the streets. Scotland's street signage is a little skimpy. We ended up winding around and going back and forth over the same roads until we finally got it right, only to find that the road didn't lead us to the place we were aiming for (we were looking for a particular hotel bar so we could stop and have a drink). We settled on second choice, the Rusack's Hotel, which is where you can hear silverware tinkling in the background (mine, as we were the only people in the bar at the time). We ordered a "full tea" for the equivalent of about $16 per person that consisted of ham and grated cheddar cheese on buttered white bread, cucumber and tuna fish salad on wheat bread, potato chips, various desserts that provided me with my first taste of clotted cream (yum!), and of course, tea. If our priority hadn't been the cultural experience we might've been a little annoyed at the price. You can just imagine that they saw us Yanks coming from a mile away and somebody said, "Quick! Get the tourists' menu out!"

The weather was windy and cold (you can hear the wind howling around us in the outdoor shots) with a few sprinkles thrown in for added effect. We shopped a little while there and bought some authentic St. Andrew's Golf Course paraphernalia as well as some Scottish tartan woolen throws. It is almost as difficult to find "made in Scotland" items as it is to find things "made in USA".

The town of St. Andrews is, to put it mildly, quaint. It reminded us of Carmel, California, which is one of our favorite places, although the median age of the buildings in St. Andrews has many hundreds of years on the buildings in Carmel. The sense of history in Scotland is just awe-inspiring. It was my first exposure to such a collection of ancient buildings, although I understand that that is the norm in  many countries. In California, we speak with pride about a building in Old Sacramento that was built in the 1850's. A contemporary build compared to what we saw in Scotland.

Downtown St. Andrews

Once again, I apologize for the amateur-level video, but I hope it gives you a taste of St. Andrews. Except for the car ride, I thoroughly enjoyed the day.
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