Full Stomach, Happy Heart

January 24, 2017

in Abigail Remiarz, England, Europe, Spring 2017

Hello All,

I can’t believe it has been almost three weeks since I have arrived in London. I feel like I’ve done so much already! If you’ve been keeping up with my posts, then you’d know that two weekends ago I was in Edinburgh, Scotland…. That also means that this post has been a long time coming, so I apologize for putting it off a bit. Hopefully this is a long enough post to fully describe the past week and a half of my time here. So, without further ado, please fasten your seatbelts, return tray tables to their original position, and prepare for this post to begin.

OK, so Edinburgh was honestly one of the most gorgeous places I’ve ever been, I literally could not get over the fact that there was a castle in the city. Although our train left London at 7am, and we were all pretty tired upon arrival, simply walking out of the train station was breathtaking. We were immediately greeted with views of the castle. The sun was out in full force that day, so the whole city was bathed in the light (unfortunately the sun didn’t provide much warmth).

After checking in at the hostel we were staying at (which really wasn’t that bad, but I will be staying at an air bnb next time…) we spent the rest of the day walking around town. Very quickly, however, our walk turned into a tour of Harry Potter related areas. From the Elephant House Café (aka the “birthplace of Harry Potter”), where JK Rowling wrote some of the series, to the graveyard where the real Tom Riddle is buried, and even a little street called “Diagon Alley,” I was really geek-ing out.

After completely nerd-ing out about Harry Potter, we then made our way to a local restaurant to eat dinner. Most of us ordered mac and cheese (the real kind, not the unnaturally orange Kraft version, but we’ll get to that later) and it was so, so good! From there we went to a local pub where we spent the night celebrating a friend’s birthday! The night was cut short early, however, as we needed to make our way back to the hostel due to the fact that we had another early morning the next day.

Waking up at 6:00 a.m. was not the easiest thing to do, but I’m so glad we committed to going on a bus tour! It was a 12-hour tour that took us to the Highlands, Glencoe, and Loch Ness. Our tour guide was hilarious, and made the bus ride that much more bearable. The views were absolutely stunning, so much so that words cannot even do it justice. Instead, I’ll leave a couple pictures that hopefully give you a sense of just how gorgeous it really was.

After the bus tour, most of us stayed in for the rest of the night, as we were all so exhausted. The next morning we spent our time in the local Starbucks, where from the second floor we got an amazing view of the castle. It was nice to be able to just sit and talk, but also enjoy the picturesque city. All in all, I had an absolutely amazing time in Scotland, and I can’t wait to go back! I feel like there is so much more of the city to explore!

This last week passed by uneventfully. Homework is starting to ramp up a bit, and although I do have reading and research papers to do, it’s not quite as overwhelming as classes at Madison. The three-hour classes were quite hard to sit through this past week, as I was really excited for the weekend to come! While I didn’t travel over the weekend, I was lucky because my Dad got to stop in London on his way to a business trip! Friday we spent the day traveling around Piccadilly Circus and Covent Garden. He also treated me to tickets for that night’s showing of Phantom of the Opera. Although I have seen it before, it’s just as wonderful and engaging as the first time I got to see it live. Honestly, if you haven’t seen Phantom, I would encourage you to go. It definitely was the show that made me fall in love with theater!

Just when I thought seeing family couldn’t get any better, Saturday came around. Remember a couple of posts ago when I mentioned that I have family who live in England? Well, here’s a picture of us at lunch (which was delicious and a nice change from my daily decision between pasta and grilled cheese—basically I ate better food this weekend than I have in the past 3 weeks).

After lunch we made our way up the Shard, where I was greeted with yet another amazing view.  Unfortunately, this is where my dad had to part us, and make his way to the airport. While I was sad to be leaving my Dad, my family was kind enough to invite me to spend the rest of the day with them. I am so thankful for that, as not only did I have some great “tour guides,” but also I was able to pick their brains a bit about life in London. I truly didn’t realize how much of an American bubble I’ve been trapped in since arriving in London, and it was nice to escape it, if only for a few hours. From the Aqua Shard we went back down towards the river, where I got to walk across Tower Bridge for the first time. Then, we took the tube towards where dinner reservations were, and stopped at a local pub along the way.

Although dinner didn’t go exactly as planned, the food was delicious (even though they were out of their mac and cheese—sorry, Ben, I hope they have it next time you go). I cannot even explain how happy I felt the entire day on Saturday. I’m still so giddy just thinking about it, and I will be eternally grateful for how kind and welcoming everyone was. I cannot wait to see my family again! Seriously, if you all are reading this, you’re the best, and thanks again for everything!

Once again, I’m sorry this post has been so delayed… until next time

xoxo Abby

P.S. So basically there really are no preservatives in food here… which is great and all, but I miss the unnatural orange color of Cheetos, cheese-its, and Kraft mac and cheese. Luckily, my dad brought over 4 boxes of mac-and-cheese. I ate one tonight. It tasted like home and happiness, orange food dye and all.

Emily H. January 24, 2017 at 9:03 pm

I had NO clue there was a “Thomas Riddel” gravestone. Do you know if she was inspired by that or if it was a coincidence?

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