Family Time that Involved Illusions, a Cove, and a Cotton Candy Baked Alaska

What a busy month March has been! With a long-lasting, terrible cold and multiple exams, my month has been filled with studying and getting as much sleep as possible. It has been the final push until my MONTH-long spring break in April. Some friends and I have planned an adventurous 21-day trip around Europe for April where we will visit 7 countries! I’m excited to go to new countries that I’ve never been to and see what each one is like.

In between school and planning for April, I was so lucky to have my family come visit me last week during my younger brother’s spring break. We went to Edinburgh, Scotland for 3 nights. We walked around the city, ate lots of food, and went to a butterfly house. I think my whole family will agree with me that our favorite thing we did in Scotland was go to Camera Obscura & World of Illusions. This place had us amused for hours on end with the illusions and hands-on activities that they have. Originally, we planned on just checking it out and seeing what it was like, but then we ended up there for the better half of the morning and early afternoon.

After Scotland, my family headed to Dublin, Ireland for 2 nights so that I could study for and take an exam I had in my neuroscience class. After my exam, I met up with them at their Airbnb back in my city. We went to Nando’s for dinner that night—a personal family favorite that we go to multiple times when we are in a city that has it. It has delicious, Portuguese style chicken with varying levels of spicy sauces. In case you are wondering where you can get this amazing food near you, the closest one to Madison is in Chicago.

The next morning, we drove for about an hour and a half to go to the Yorkshire Dales National Park. In the park, there is a limestone wall called Malham Cove. On the path to the cove, there are sheep that wander around, a calm river, and pretty flowers blooming.

My incredible family!

Once you get to the base of the massive wall, there are stone steps on the side that you can use to get to the top of the wall. At the top, there are gorgeous views of the country landscape.

Before I came to Leeds, I was searching online for things to do in Yorkshire and Malham Cove was a recommended destination. I’m so glad that I told my family about it. It was so pretty and fun. A quick side note: the roads are very winding and narrow once you get into the national park, so be prepared to sit in the passenger seat if you get car sick. But, it is totally worth it for the view!

After our day at the park, we headed back to Leeds for our dinner reservations at a restaurant called The Alchemist. They are well-known for their fancy and elaborate cocktails and mocktails, so we got some of their crazy drinks. A bubblegum flavored drink and a strawberry coconut drink were my favorites. We also were intrigued by their dessert menu which contained a Cotton Candy Baked Alaska. The base was a waffle, with vanilla ice cream and meringue on top. On the outside, they had cotton candy that they lit on fire, so it got melted onto the meringue—absolutely delicious!


We fit a lot of fun activities and delicious meals in during my family’s time here. I feel truly blessed and grateful that my family was able to come visit me. Any time that I spend with my family is always filled with so many great memories and laughs. Being almost 4,000 miles away from them made me appreciate my time with them even more than usual. I look forward to seeing them again when I come home at the end of my program. Until then, I’m excited to travel around Europe in April and continue to take in all that Leeds has to offer come May and June.