Sunday, May 23, 2010

Getaway to Guinness!

Here's a run down of my trip to Dublin with the ladies!

Day 1: Arrive at 10 am, drop off bags and do a walking tour the entire city with Garvan our fantastic tour guide. We lounged a little in the park afterward. For dinner we went to Porterhouse and had an amazing meal with microbrews from Dublin. I know, city of Guinness and our first beers are microbrews. We tried the porter, the oyster stout (amazing!), the temple brau ale and the red ale. All were fantastic and very refreshing after the long walk.
Day 2: Immediately get out and head to the kilmainham gaol, the Dublin jail for the historical tour. Then a walk through some gardens and then.... GUINNESS!!! We definitely got our money's worth. We did the tour, drank the fresh beer in the tasting room and learned to do the perfect pour (with attempted shamrock). After this was lunch outside of Christchurch cathedral. Then we did the Dublinia viking museum and Christchurch cathedral, which had the cat and rat mummies. Then St. Patrick's cathedral. The day was ended with the Jameson Distillery where we tried three type of whiskey, comparing flavors, had a tour, and a complimentary mixed drink with Jameson. The night ended with dinner at a small italian place (we shared pizzas) and then drinks at Grogan's in a busy area.
Oh, I mapped out this day on and not counting the fact that every building we went into we walked in and did countless stairs (Guinness is 7 stories), we walked over 8 miles. Ouch! No wonder my feet hurt.

I guess the night didn't end there. Our fire alarm in the hotel room started leaking and went off. Yes- you are reading that right, leaking. So we had to move to another room for the night. But nevermind the drama.

Day 3: Woke up early to fix the room problems and headed off to the Archaeology museum for the bog bodies!! Amazing!! So well preserved and so much fun to look at. This was followed by the Natural history and national gallery museums. Both were fantastic. Then it was off to lunch at the same place as yesterday (because we loved it so much). Also got the chance to get real soda bread! Then we were back on our feet and headed to the wax museum, dublin castle, the chester beatty library, and the dublin city hall. To end our day off right... back to GUINNESS, for round two of tasters and free guinness pints. Dinner was at a fun pub where they had taps at the table. We did an irish tapas, trying out all the classic dishes, complete with another Guinness round. Then off on the town to the No Name bar (literally has no name).

Day 4: Woke up at 3:30 am to catch our flight at 6:30 am. Back in Edinburgh in my apartment at 8:15 am. Now I'm going to spend the day doing a little reading, watching a little tv, and not moving.

More pictures:

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Spring/Summer is here!

Edinburgh is finally experiencing a little bit of spring and summer! We have trees in bloom, sunshine and every park is full of people. While this has definitely done wonders for my spirit, I can't say the same for my dissertation. Sure- it's nice to eschew work for a day and head to the beach (yes, there are beaches in Scotland). It does wonders for my mood! However, the dissertation does need to be completed at some point. Must avoid giving into the sunshine every time I see it.

The last couple days have actually been pretty busy. I spend the mornings plowing through the dissertation (8,000 words so far!), and then in the afternoons take care of necessary errands, such as baking shortbread cookies or going to the beach. Okay, not so necessary, but still worth it!
First off, lovely blooming trees out by West Mains. Photo taken happily after baking cookies before heading out on 2 mile walk back home. Luckily I had tons of sugar in my system to keep me going.
Tuesday was beach day! We set off around noon, grabbed the bus, and walked along the beach until we found a spot to nosh. We ate at the Beach House, a cute little place that seemed straight out of Cape Cod. I had a wonderful ham sandwich with veg chutney and a salad. Desserts looked fantastic, but lunch was too filling!
The beach is wonderful, and a return trip will be necessary.

Now back to the dissertation. Working away on the climate section.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Some days you wake up here and its just what you expect from Scotland, like this morning. Brown-gray clouds, the crag hidden by fog, stone buildings coated in dew, etc. Other mornings, like yesterday, you wake up at 5:30 am to a bright yellow sun and pale blue sky unadulterated by clouds. It's these sunny mornings that inspire action!

On a whim I decided to head out with a friend to Linlithgow, a neighboring town. We hopped the train, and 20 minutes later we were there. The castle was fantastic. It was built in the 13th and 14th centuries, and expanded until the 17th century. In the 18th century it had a fire which removed all the wooden parts of the castle. The whole castle was beautiful, and the sunshine made it so much fun. It had about four different levels, and was a maze of rooms. We felt like little kids running around, trying to get to every room on every level.
Also, its located right on a loch, where kids were learning to kayak. An unexpected diversion from studies that was amazing.
We were back in Edinburgh by 12:30, perfect timing to head to the farmer's market for a nice buffalo burger and walk through the meadows. Dinner was at Brown's (I had the aubergine ratatouille special with a chenin blanc, and camembert to start), and then we hit up the Pear Tree for a final drink.

Overall, I'd say it was a pretty good saturday. Now if today's weather perks up a bit we may be able to go to Rosslyn Chapel and Sheep's Heid. If not, I may have to convince myself to do some dissertation work... 6,000 words down, about 7,000 left!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Back in Edinburgh

Ahh, to be back in Edinburgh again. After being away for a month (three weeks in NY, one week in London), it feels nice to be a little bit settled. It's the first time I've arrived and really felt like I was coming home.

Home was amazing. I had a fantastic birthday, spent a good amount of time at the cabin, and didn't do any work. Just how a vacation should be!

Revel in the beauty of the lobster cake!!!

I was only in Edinburgh one day after break, and then I headed down to London! It was very different going without the family. I felt like I was a real Londoner, going by tube into the cty at 8 am, getting back around 6 pm. It was tons of fun working at the Museum. It was like living someone else's life for a week! Below is a picture of the park that I ate lunch in most days.

After spending my week there, a couple of the girls took the train down to meet me for the weekend. We had a great time doing the tourist part of London, which I haven't done in ages. It was fun getting to see all the attractions again. I had a blast playing tour guide! The weather was fairly nice in the morning, but as you can see from the picture below- a storm was imminent!

For some reason we got ... lucky? and got to see two different rallies. One at Parliament and one at Trafalgar square. It was pretty cool, especially with the way the weather was acting! Very foreboding! I feel like I should have something really metaphorical to say about the picture. But I'm not that deep.

Overall it was a really amazing trip. Glad to be home, but loved getting the chance to wander around London. Below is us, victorious after a nice long weekend of walking, wine and overall awesomeness. (We won't discuss the Newcastle fiasco!)
Now that I'm back its down to business. Time to put my head down and really focus on my studies. I have a dissertation of 15,000 words to write. This week has been spent mainly working on the methods and writing up my London research. I'm 16% done with the paper, and not slowing down at all!