Hi, my name is Riho Sayama. I am an exchange student from Japan. My major at Japanese university is political science, but here in Edinburgh I am studying social policy, social work and Scottish studies! This is my very first article on this blog. Today I would love to share my experience of a day trip to St Andrews from Edinburgh.
While you are staying in Edinburgh, you will be blessed with many opportunities to visit other places in Scotland. Edinburgh is, of course, a lovely city in its own right with a lot of places to explore. However, travelling around Scotland is also highly recommended during your stay (since obviously it will be much easier to visit many places in Scotland from Edinburgh than from all the way in your home country!)
I discovered the tour through Facebook. It is run by Citylife Edinburgh. If you search for it on your Facebook page, you can easily find it. Citylife offers us a lot of opportunities to travel around not only Scotland but also the UK. For instance, you can go to the Isle of Skye, Harry Potter bridge, the Lake District in England, take a trip to London and visit Stonehenge. The St Andrews and whisky tour I took part in was a day trip, but some of the tours last for the whole weekend. Tickets can be booked online. Mine cost 27 pounds, so it was reasonable.
On the day of the tour we all gathered at the meeting point at 8:45 in the morning. From there we got on a bus. It was just a one and a half hours journey to St Andrews.
First of all, we went to the old St Andrews course. This city is famous as the home of golf and the old course is considered the oldest in the world.
Next, we visited the University campus. The University of St Andrews is one of the top universities in the UK and well-known as the university where Prince William met his current wife, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.
We also went to see the St Andrews Castle and Cathedral. A professional guide taught us the historical background and some interesting facts about the sights. The Castle is located near the beach, so it was beautiful to see the contrast between the ocean blue and the grey stone castle walls.
After the guide finished, we had a two-hours of free time, so my friend and I ate lunch together. Of course we had to try their fish and chips.
After the free time, the whisky tour began. We rode to Kingsbarns which is 6 miles away from St Andrews. A professional whisky guide explained how to make a scotch whisky from the scratch, and at the end of the tour, I tried some for the first time in my whole life. It sure was strong since it only contained 63.5% of alcohol. I felt tipsy just smelling it. I still cannot enjoy the taste of scotch whisky but I hope that will change when I get older.
Finally we returned to Edinburgh by bus and got home at around 18:30. St Andrews was much smaller than Edinburgh, but it was lovely and quite historical. It was a nice trip and I enjoyed exploring another city in Scotland. I am definitely going to participate in this kind of tour again.
Epilogue: The very next weekend, I went to watch a rugby game: Edinburgh vs St Andrews. Because I’d visited the campus and now knew some historical facts about the University of St Andrews, I personally felt familiar with both universities. It was hard to decide which team to root for (Edinburgh). These two universities are part of an ancient rivalry, and it was such a hot game! UoE won both the women’s and men’s matches, so I was happy about the result. And I really enjoyed the atmosphere of the stadium!