Monday, December 2, 2013

Thanksgiving in Scotland

This year was the first year that I have been away from home for a Thanksgiving holiday. Although I wish I could have been with my family last Thursday, I was able to spend the holiday abroad…I mean, what more could a girl ask for?!

Wednesday morning I couldn’t contain my excitement as I hoped on a plane and headed to…SCOTLAND…the land of the brave, kilted, and of my ancestors.

Even sitting next to two HUGE Russian men on the plane (No, I’m not stereotyping—I saw their passports) could not subdue my eagerness to arrive.

The trip was sponsored through the GIF program, so no more run-down hostels for me! Three friends and myself stayed in a very nice apartment for a few days. There was a kitchen, bathtub, warm water, a heater, a hairdryer, and even a English-speaking television—all things that I took for granted prior to coming to Florence.

...Maddie relaxin'

Once we got settled in, Maddie and I headed to grab some dinner at The World’s End, a wonderful little pub in Edinburgh. If you are ever there, GO CHECK IT OUT. The pub itself is built upon on a portion of the original wall that once surrounded the town Edinburgh way back in the day. 

...(Quick FYI...I forgot to take a picture of the pub, so I got this one online...)

Thursday Maddie and Jen made the most delicious breakfast for Audrey and I—scrambled eggs with sautéed mushrooms and spinach with goat cheese crumbled on top. Best breakfast since I’ve been abroad!

We quickly got ready and met up with the other 56 students from GIF to go on a guided bus tour of Edinburgh. We went through Edinburgh’s Old and New towns, all while learning about some of the history, geography, and politics of the city.

...Palace of Holyroodhouse

...Edinburgh Castle

...Lauren, Maddy, and I

After the tour we had a group Thanksgiving lunch at a traditional Scottish pub—they love their pubs in the UK.

...I got a Hot Toddy, a traditional warm Scottish drink

There’s not a day that has gone by where I don’t experience a moment, where I have had to take a step back and pinch myself. I am studying abroad in Florence, Italy and I get to travel to so any unique and amazing places in Europe and Africa.

This Thanksgiving I am thankful for this once in a lifetime opportunity to study, travel, and meet so many new friends while abroad, which I never could have done without the support and love of my parents and grandfather. They have literally given me the world, and for that I am forever grateful!

To celebrate Thanksgiving a few friends and myself went to dinner at a local Thai restaurant where we ordered some champagne and toasted to all of our love ones back at home.

...Cheers to you all! Happy (late) Thanksgiving!

Friday quickly came and the school took us students to north! We spent the day in the Scottish Highlands, where we went on a safari and were able to hand feed some Red Deer!

...We saw ponies! 

After a long day full of adventures, some friends and I decided to go catch a movie (something we haven’t done since the summer).

We saw the second movie of The Hunger Game Series. If you haven’t seen it yet, you really should. It was amazing!

Saturday we headed south of the city. We checked out Rosslyn Chapel famous for its beautiful carvings and the aura of mystery that surrounds it. The chapel itself became better known when Dan Brown incorporated it into his well-known novel, The Da Vinci Code.

We stopped in Melrose for a quick lunch and headed even further south (about 35 miles into Northern England to be exact) to go check out Hadrian’s Wall. Roman Britain built Hadrian’s Wall in 122 CE.

...Now I'm in Scotland

...Now I'm in England! 

...some people from my Etruscans and Romans history class!

Once back in Edinburgh, Maddie, Jen, and myself headed to go check out the Christmas market! It was so much fun and the perfect way to spend the beginning of the “Christmas season”.

Scotland was amazing and a wonderful place to spend Thanksgiving with so many wonderful friends! 

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