Friends, food, and books

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Last week our friends Andrew and Cris flew around the world to spend a week with us, and we had a blast. We ate way too much, stayed up much too late, drank too much coffee, slept too little, and walked from one end of Dublin to the other end of London. We drove from the east coast of Scotland to the west coast, and stopped every 5 minutes for pictures. Friends are the best.

Most photos on this blog will be brought to you by the talented Cris Mendoza. 

We met Cris and Andrew in Dublin, where they landed at 9 am Sunday morning. They were determined to stay awake and defeat jetlag, and they most certainly did. Sunday we had to first find some coffee for Cris (which we all happily partook of). We ate a late lunch at L Mulligan Grocer, where we introduced Andrew and Cris to the wonderful pub feel. Beautiful wood work, friendly staff, and great food and drink, they were quickly hooked. We slowly made our way to visit Kilmainham Goal, a jail that was central to much of the political history of Ireland. (I believe it was around this time that Cris snuck off and drank two redbulls) In the evening we hung out in the Temple Bar area, eating a delicious dinner, introducing our friends to my favourite ice cream at Murphy’s, laughing so hard at stand up comedy, and enjoying some live music before crashing into our beds around 1 am. In order to save money, we decided to stay in hostels on this trip, so our accommodations were a bit… hairy, but a good enough place to crash at night! (Don’t worry parents, they were completely safe, just a bit uncomfortable and loud.) Monday we visited 3FE, Cris’ dream; where he drank at least 8 different coffee drinks over 3 hours. We relaxed at the Brazen Head, which claims to be the oldest pub in Dublin. We sat in the garden and ate amazing food, and just relaxed for the afternoon.

Late Monday night we flew to London, where we took Uber to our hostel (even worse than the one in Dublin), and started our next city adventure. In London our days consisted of the most perfect coffee, numerous bookstores, decadent food, and visiting some of the coolest bars in the world. One evening we sat reading in a pub over looking the Themes before heading to dinner at the delicious Old Red Cow Brewery. Jared and I shared an amazing steak frites, I think I would go back to London just to eat there again. Cris brought all of his camera equipment (well actually he probably has a lot more, but he brought a lot of camera stuff…) and he took some amazing pictures at night in London. Most of our time was spent just enjoying each other’s company, while reading, eating, drinking, and chatting.

On Thursday we took the train back to St Andrews (barely making it to the train station on time because we made a stop for ice cream…), where we stayed in our new flat! (PS we moved! More on this in the coming weeks!) Friday we got up early and rented a car for a whirlwind tour of Scotland. We visited Stirling Castle, Bannockburn Battlefield, Oban Distillery, and pretty much everything in between. We stopped at seaside castles and churches overlooking the Lochs. We drove up the coast of Loch Lomond, in awe of the beauty of Scotland. Once again Cris took amazing photos, I’m so glad to have some of his pictures of our home!

Saturday we spent a lazy day in St Andrews. Andrew kindly helped us move most of our things to our new flat, we had a late breakfast, and Cris slept til 3 pm. We explored the Cathedral and castle, and did a walking tour of our town. There has been a fair in town the past week called the Lammas Market. There were food and clothing shops lining Market Street, and we enjoyed snacking on crepes and an amazing wild boar burger. Cris found a new love for fish and chips on this trip, so we took him to the Tailend (my restaurant), to get what we consider the best fish and chips. We tried out the new menu at Jared’s pub, and finished the night at the Criterion, where we learned all about the Lammas Market from some locals. One older couple talked to us for a while about how the Lammas Market used to be a sort of homecoming week for the town. The gentleman was telling us how all the local pubs would be open from 10 am til 10pm, a complete change in that day, and that everyone came home that week. He would go into one pub and see friends who had joined the army, but were on leave to be home this week. Or friends who had moved away, all came back to St Andrews for this week. They also told us about how their used to be bidding for the best spots on South Street for the carnival rides, and the magic of experiencing the market on the weekend, and then Sunday during the night, all the rides were set up, and come Monday morning, South Street would be lined with carnival rides. We loved to be able to experience this conversation with Cris and Andrew, to share a bit of the Scots with them. We have loved the community and friendliness of the local people here.

Sunday morning we headed to Edinburgh where the boys stayed with Jared’s friend Eric, who will be starting a PhD at the University of Edinburgh come September. I won’t bore you with repetitions of Edinburgh, but just say that we showed Andrew and Cris all of our favorite spots in the city. We love Edinburgh so so much, it is an amazingly beautiful, fun city.

Andrew and Cris, thank you for your friendship, your generosity, your photographs, and your time. See you soon!

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