Friday, April 10, 2015

Been there, Done That

This sums up how I feel about Paris. It didn't sweep me off my feet, or make me fall in love instantly. I had to work to appreciate it. I struggled to see its beauty and enchantment and I realized that just maybe Paris isn't for me. 

I arrived in Paris from Scotland, there is truly no comparison, in fact I was perhaps in shock when I arrived. I was short on sleep and food. I ventured to see the Effiel Tower and thought okay now I'm done. Some other travellers suggested I open my heart and I see the romance of the tower at night. So I tried, I threw myself into tours and sights. I experienced a lot. I felt like I was on a school field trip, I was learning and seeing. I didn't hate it so much. I appreciated how gaudy everything was and how much excess there had been. I stepped out of my comfort zone that I had created in travelling English speaking places and went out to eat. I practiced my French. I'm now fluent at saying Merci! I visited the main sights to see and felt I did justice in seeing Paris. I may not have succumb to its apparent charms but I gave it a chance and broadened my horizons. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

I fall in love with places

It's not the first time this has happened where I fall in love with a place, hopelessly and entirely in love. The first time it happened I was in Byron Bay. The sun, the surf, the lighthouse, dolphins and beach stole my heart before I knew what was happening. This time it was Edinburgh. When I stepped off the airplane and breathed in the fresh air, I knew I'd like the place. When I stepped off the bus and saw the city and the castle lit up at night I knew I was falling.  

I took a day tour through the highlands to see Loch Ness. We stopped in several key places to see a highland cow, sheep, herding clinics, Glen Coe, various bridges, Stirling Castle, and passed places that I could begin to pronounce. It was rainy, extremely wet, cold, and absolutely beautiful. By the end of the day I knew I had fallen in love with Scotland.  I knew that three days wasn't possibly going to be enough.  

I spent a day exploring the high street, wandering in and out of shops. I visited Grey Friars Kirk a grave yard which contained a very special dog. Grey Friars Bobby a little dog who was so besotted with his master that he spent 14 years laying by his grave. He was taken care of by the parish and earned himself a place at the front of the grave yard for his devotion. I also visited a cafe where J.K. Rowling first wrote Harry Potter, in the back room looking out upon Edinburgh Castle. I spent an evening in a Scottish pub. I even visited the National Museum. 

I visited the Castle of course and the history of the Scots was astounding. I felt a connection knowing that my ancestors came from Scotland. It made the history so much more. The architecture throughout the small bit of Edinburgh that I had the chance to see was absolutely amazing. It was full of stonework, cobblestones, alleyways, and gothic monuments. 

I felt at home in the land of bagpipes, kilts and Scottish accents. 
 And fell in love again! 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Finally Family

It's my second year abroad, I've been home for two visits and yet only finally had a visit from family! My brother combined a school trip with a visit to his big sister. It was a quick afternoon visit only a few hours but I loved being able to give him a tour. Of course I started with fish and chips, England's specialty at the Sherlock Holmes pub. 

We sent a selfie from the Palace to Mom who was delighted that her children were spending quality time together abroad. Next time she will have to come! 

A quick notes version of the London tour from me was next and I happily included my favourite park complete with Pelicans! And the cavalry guards!

I've definitely perfected my London tour and can't wait for more visitors to come! Hint hint!!

Endless Museums

The museums here are endless, there are so many to choose from and most are free. It makes it easy to find something to do on a rainy weekend. 

You can find museums on everything! I went to see the RAF museum which had planes upon planes upon planes. Seriously I don't think the airport even has this many planes all at once. I'm not going to lie, I wasn't that keen on that many airplanes but I did eventually get to play in one which made my day! 

Learning to love my city

It's been a slow fall but it's happening, I'm falling for London. Perhaps it's spring, the patios being opened, the occasional glimpse of sun, pushing myself to get out more, whatever it is, it's working. 

St. James Park is my favourite, it's especially fun to feed the ducks. But also crazy, they all come flying and rushing at you. I much prefer wandering around and watching them. 

The Southbank is a favourite too, stumbling upon skateboarders and book markets. It's a great place to meet dates for drinks. I keep suggesting all my dates there! It's beautiful to walk along the river and see the beautiful skyline. The contrast in new and old seems to perfectly blend together.