It was difficult saying goodbye today to the bride and groom and all of their extended family that we have become fond of over the past weekend.  The venue was so cozy and intimate, and leaving felt a bit sad.  However, we were excited to continue on with our journey and off we went into the (POURING) rain towards St. Andrews.  (Side note - supposedly the weather we encountered today was the typical Scottish weather, it's just that we've been spoiled and hit a bit of a heat wave with very little rain.  The wedding weather was completely beautiful and we're so lucky that it wasn't held during the monsoon we saw today!)

We anticipated an approximately 2 hour drive to St. Andrews (thanks to google maps), when in fact it took a little less than that.  The traffic was great and we even stopped for a really nice lunch in the absolute middle of nowhere - and it was packed!  It had a children's outdoor play area, a market stand, a café, and a birthday party room that was hopping!  When we drove away we marvelled at how it felt as though we'd stumbled into a children's oasis in the middle of the Scottish countryside.  (If anyone finds themselves between Dundee and Edinburgh with small children in tow, pop in to Muddy Boots!)

We arrived into St. Andrews and could see immediately that there was a lot of signage and hype about the Women's British Open which starts in a few days.  It's being held here and there are golfers everywhere you look!  Walking on the cobblestones in golf shoes - no joke!  We saw the Canadian Men's Team in matching hats and shirts getting in to a van and there is no doubt the influence of golf is everywhere here.  We drove around in a state of confusion (slightly lost) trying to find our hotel, then finally went into a tourist information area and got directions.  We are outside the town itself by about 3 miles, and it is really beautiful.  You look out over the course with the North Sea in the background and the gorgeous ruins of St. Andrew's Cathedral (built 1158 AD!) in the far distance.  The Cathedral fell into ruin in the 16th century when Catholicism became a bad word around these parts, but the ruins are breathtaking and the walk along the water to the old castle ruins are equally interesting.  The streets and buildings around the area retain the feel of centuries ago, and it's very easy to imagine them looking exactly the same hundreds of years ago.  There aren't many adornments or decorations, and they are quite beautiful in their simplicity (we aren't talking Soviet area block housing), just simple and timeless construction - which obviously holds up to centuries of less than ideal weather!  I think architects and builders from today could really learn something from these buildings that stand the test of time.  (With obvious modifications for plumbing and electricity!)  I don't feel confident that my house, constructed in 1998, will still be standing 300 years from now.

We ended our night with some of the best Thai food we have ever had.  We had some really good Thai in Salisbury, England, and now again in St. Andrews, Scotland.  Who would've thought?  It turns out that this restaurant (Nahm-Jim) won a Gordon Ramsay show a few years ago, and I can understand why.  So good!  Then gelato afterwards while we walked back to the car, and we call that a perfect evening!

We're looking forward to an early bedtime tonight after a few very late, but very fun, evenings. We're up early in the morning to catch a flight to our final destination of the trip - Barcelona!  Good night from Scotland; it's been a pleasure! 



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