Categories
Moving to Scotland Travel

Notes from St Andrews

Spent 72 hours in St Andrews with my Dad and the family last week, here are some notes:

  • The golf courses (there are seven that are part of St Andrews courses) the club houses, the Royal and Ancient club, and the British Golf Museum are all iconic and of course a must see for anyone the plays or is interested sports in any way. The sheer size of the space that the courses occupy and the open style of the links style courses are wildly different than anything I had seen before. It was crazy cold and windy and then snowy and then sunny and back again, but no matter, the courses remained busy throughout.
  • Speaking of cold…St Andrews is cold! Granted, we did have Storm Ciara to contend with and it’s a coastal town (and Moscow and Labrador in Newfoundland lie on the same latitude), so this is expected, but respect due to what the students and golfers there contend with in the winter months.
  • The cathedral and castle ruins almost stole the show from the golf course. The size of the ruin and the fact that it was built in the 1400s (with tombs and stone coffins concealed under massive stone planks) made it a great site to visit. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Andrews_Cathedral https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Andrews_Castle
  • Lavulins Bottle Shop – great selection of beers, whisky and wine. Picked up a draft liter-to-go of The Kerner’s Foeder Beer and a bottle of the Dalmore 15 year to keep us company upon arrival. https://www.luvians.com/
  • There are a ton of great pubs and restaurants. Here are some highlights:
    Rocca Deli for great coffee and lunch – https://www.roccadeli.co.uk/
    Forgan’s was great for a family dinner and very kid friendly – https://www.forgans.co.uk/
    The sister restaurant to Forgan’s, called Mitchell, was equally good for breakfast – https://www.mitchellsstandrews.co.uk/
  • Speaking of golf and good pubs, we spent some time in a few.
    The Dunevegan (aka the 19th hole) is impressive simply for the backstory and all the pictures covering the wall of the famous players and celebreties that have been there – https://www.dunvegan-hotel.com/
    The Greyfriars Inn Pub was another classic British pub and St Andrews Brewing and Brewdog St Andrews offered very different experiences, the former more classic and warm, the latter more modern and cool.
  • February was pretty empty and we enjoyed being able to get in and out of everything with ease, something we wouldn’t be able to do in the summer months.
  • The town is bigger that most people realize and the golf courses are just one part. There are nearly 10,000 students that attend the university, a bustling little downtown of restaurants, shops and pubs, and two large beaches.
  • It’s way closer to us than I realized, only an hour and forty-five minutes from Glasgow and there are some great roads and views along the way.

We didn’t have much time and I didn’t get any drawing in but I’m looking forward to my next visit.


Here’s a map of the journey:

Here are some pics from the sites referenced above:

Categories
Moving to Scotland Travel

First visit to Amsterdam

Spent my first time in this city last weekend, hanging out with my good friend Chris. Here are some notes.

  • Nothing planned at all except for the Van Gogh museum (learned the hard way about museum booking in advance after Paris).
  • The Van Gogh museum is absolutely worth it and one of my favorite museum experiences to date. Something new I learned was that he started seriously pursuing painting later in life and studied, practiced and struggled to improve for years to develop what would eventually become is signature style. One of his earliest works (The Potato Eaters) was heavily criticized because the figures had “tons of mistakes”, and one of his idols wrote to him “you can’t be serious” when he saw a print.
  • Now I understand the bike thing in Amsterdam. I love it and am jealous that the city it built for it, but it does make it hard to be a pedestrian at times.
  • The beer is superb and we sampled many, some of my favorite spots from the trip (with many other still to get to):
  • I enjoyed the architecture and the canals and the cafes and alleyways. Something new everywhere you looked. It felt dense but not claustrophobic.
  • Went to plenty of “coffee” shops to sample the wares and it was nothing special after living in the states where it’s legal to buy. Not as many options seemingly and the quality could be excellent or just ok.
  • Food was good, but I didn’t really get a chance to go to any spots I would consider particularly amazing. Bakers and Roasters was a particularly good brunch spot and the pancakes were good at De Vier Pilaren.
  • Amsterdam airport is 👍🏼. Easy to get into, out of, and through.
  • I heard Maxwells Urban Hang Suite multiple times at different place while there. 🤔
  • People were friendly but not overly so. Not a lot of chat.
  • There is a colony of parakeets living in Vondelpark: https://theculturetrip.com/europe/the-netherlands/articles/a-colony-of-wild-parakeets-is-flourishing-in-amsterdam-heres-why/