Tuesday, December 17, 2013


After London it was off to Edinburgh in Scotland.  We took a train up and got to see some beautiful parts of the countryside.  We got there right around sunset (which pretty much starts at 3:30 now) and got to explore town a little but by night.  Saturday we woke up early and went for a little hike down the Royal Mile to Holyrood Park, right near the Her Majesty's Royal Residence in Scotland.  We climbed (and I say climbed because it was no walk in the park with the strong gusts of wind and steep inclines we weren't expecting) up a few hills near "Arthur's Seat" to get a great view of the city from atop a dormant volcano.  Then we wandered around the town for awhile, and finally ended the day with a visit to the National Museum of Scotland which was really fun because they had a lot of science exhibits, and science exhibits always have fun stuff for kids that I still find entertaining at 20 years old.  Then it was back to Galway to pack for a few days and to say my goodbyes to the people and places I've grown to enjoy for the last 4-ish months. 
The view of Edinburgh Castle from Castle Rock Hostel
A tartan weaving mill
Sunset from the castle
The front of Edinburgh Castle
Ferris wheel at the Christmas market
On the ferris wheel
Monument to Sir Walter Scott
St. Gile's Cathedral
Inside the National Museum
Here I am seeing what it looks like to see through the eyes of a dragonfly
The lens of a lighthouse beacon--never realized how big they are
Statue of Adam Smith, the man behind "The Wealth of Nations"
Scottish Parliament
Holyrood Palace
Arthur's Seat (or a hill nearby, we weren't sure which was which)
Rachel getting blown away by wind
Calton Hill from a distance
Monument to poet Robert Burns
The National Monument
Monument to Horatio Nelson


I finally got to see more of the world than just Ireland!  While I am glad that I got to know Ireland incredibly well, it would have been disappointed if I hadn't gotten the chance to go anywhere else during my time here.  Luckily, my finals went off without a hitch and I got to cram London and Edinburgh into a four day trip before I head back to the States in TWO DAYS! 

London was great, and I was pretty much excited about everything I saw because it was all so new.  I have never been to NYC so London is the largest city I've ever been in and it was overwhelming to have so much going on around you at all times. (Fun fact: technically the "City of London" is only about a square mile, but London is used to describe the surrounding area that includes other cities like Westminster, which counts as "Greater London.") My friend Rachel and I met up with one of my childhood friends who has been studying there and she showed us around at night before we braved it on our own the next day.  Another thing we figured out is that every city has at least one Christmas Market this time of year and they all have the exact same types of food and drink.  And they are great! 
Trafalgar Square
Harrod's aka The Land of Dreams because I don't even think I could afford to breathe the air inside. 

Harrod's Toy Land

SO many toy displays!

Yet another Christmas market in London

Buckingham Palace

The London Underground ("the tube")

At M&M World, where they had DARK chocolate PEANUT M&M's

Ready to see Mamma Mia! at the Novello Theatre

All ready to go climb aboard the Hogwarts Express

The Tower of London

Tower Bridge

London Fog! The buildings were disappearing eerily into the sky

"The Monument" -- not sure why it wasn't given a more specific name

London Bridge

Millennium Bridge-- the one that breaks in Harry Potter for all you nerds out there

I think this is St. Paul's Cathedral but I forgot

Obligatory picture with a phone booth

The London Eye

Big Ben!

Big Ben and Parliament

Westminster Abbey from a distance

Downing St, home of the Prime Minister (like our White House)

Horse Guard Parade

Some double decker buses

The National Gallery at Trafalgar Square

Next to a lion statue at Trafalgar Square

An interesting blue chicken...I don't think I'll ever quite understand modern art

Street performer "levitating" as Yoda

M&M's do Abbey Road

Picadilly Circus

The Novello Theatre