Good morning! Are you ready for another busy day on the eastern shore of Scotland? You may still be jet-lagged over the 8-hour time difference, and you may have stayed up too late playing cards and watching old episodes of "Castle" with your sister, but have a cup of tea and a scone and let's get going.
Yesterday we landed in Glasgow (A) and drove east to Edinburgh (B) and today we'll spend time at Saint Andrews (C) and other seaside villages (D).
Although I imagine Saint Andrews can be lovely on a nice summer day, the weather was positively miserable the day we were there. It had snowed the night before, and even though the snow had melted, icy wind whipped around us and frozen rain pelted our faces.
I hadn't quite packed for this kind of weather, but oh well. I won't soon forget the experience of being tossed around by the North Sea wind and protecting my face from ice pellets.
First we walked around the old ruins of St Andrews Castle, parts of which have been standing there for several hundred years.
The castle sits right on the North Sea, and once we stepped out from behind any of the buildings the wind was fierce.
We took a few photos standing on the wall even though I admit that I was just a teeny tiny bit nervous that a big gust of wind would push us over. The ocean was also surging over the wall at times, so we didn't hang out there too long.
To give you the full experience of the standing out there, here's a 1-minute video I took.
We finally had enough of the wind and walked back towards the town of St Andrews, where not surprisingly, the buildings provided some protection from the wind.
And because Andrea and I are always on the lookout for good cupcakes, we couldn't resist stopping in at Bibi's Bakery for some sweets.
They had macarons too, so we bought half a dozen for our further road travels.
We did a little bit of window shopping, but eventually we were ready to get back in the car. On our way to the car, however, I did manage to spot this coffee shop:
The sign in the window says, "WHERE KATE MET WILLS (for coffee)". Being rather fond of that adorable royal pair, I was quite tickled to have snapped a picture. In case you didn't know, St Andrews University is where Prince William and Kate went to school, so I suspect they hung around the town a fair amount. We didn't get coffee there though, for whatever reason.
Back on the road, we headed south to the coastal town of Anstruther.
But before we got to Anstruther, I wanted to make a stop at the St Andrews Botanic Gardens. It sounded nice in my head, until we got out of the car. Once we stepped out of the car again, however, we changed our minds. Wandering through a half-dormant flower garden just wasn't that appealing to us. Our brief sidetour did bring one interesting sight. A big pig!
You can't quite get the full effect of just how big this pig was, but take my word for it: it was big. Big enough for me to jump out of the car and pose for my sister to take a picture of me through the car window. That counts for something, right?
Anyway, onto to Anstruther and lunch at the award winning Anstruther Fish Bar. It's a good thing that I actually like fish (when it's deep fried, not so much plain) because we had quite a lot of it in Scotland. And of course fish and chips is a very UK-centric meal.
Jason and I had the traditional haddock, which was very good. Andrea had Hake, which is evidently a fish from South Africa that is farmed in an environmentally sustainable way. Because fish is such a prominent part of the UK diet, then there has been concern about over fishing the waters and destroying the local fish population. So, they've tried to introduce imported fish to the population, with some mixed results. I ended up liking the hake even more than the haddock, but it doesn't seem to be readily available around here.
If you put a fisherman by the door, people are obligated to get their pictures taken by it.
It was here that I had my first taste of mushy peas, a common UK side dish that is, yes, peas mushed up. Since I like peas, I didn't mind mushy peas. Nothing surprising about how they tasted; probably more salty than I usually eat my peas.
The town of Anstruther is a cute coastal town that was once a thriving fishing town. It had lots of cute shops, and various landmarks, though after a fairly lengthy search, we couldn't find any landmarks that were significant to any well-known literary figures.
From Anstruther we drove a few miles south to visit St Monans.
St Monans church is considered to be the church closest to the sea, which I wouldn't doubt. You could stand at the church and throw a stone into the North Sea. It would have been lovely to attend a service in this church, but it was mid-week, so back to the road for us to search for the Robinson Crusoe Statue.
On our way, we saw a sign for a chocolate company. Never one to pass up chocolate, we headed into Pittenweem, which has got to be one of the most delightful names ever given to a town. We took as many opportunities as we could to say Pittenweem, I assure you.
And there in Pittenweem we tasted the wonderful treats from The Cocoa Tree!
Yes, we had hot chocolate that was amazing. And, yes, we bought several chocolate truffles that did not last long as we drove around. I'm currently abstaining from chocolate during Lent, and just looking at these truffles is making me uncomfortable.
Our last touristy thing of the day was to find the Robinson Crusoe Statue. You'd think that it would be rather famous, right? Big signs? Maybe a gift shop?
Good thing we had a map as well as a small car because we were driving around all sorts of narrow village roads in Lower Largo to find this supposedly famous statue.
Finally, we saw a sign!
And then there it was, the statue, on the side of a building.
As you can see, it was quite the understated landmark. But we found it, and we got pictures to prove it. Its significance? "Lower Largo is famed for its links with Alexander Selkirk, who was born in the Village in 1676 and as a youth ran away to sea. He was marooned on a desert Island in the Pacific Ocean where he remained for four and a half years before being rescued. Daniel Defoe the novelist published the real life story as Robinson Crusoe at the start of the eighteenth century. Lower Largo has a statue of Alexander Selkirk marking the site of the cottage where he was born." So there you go.
We ended the day by heading back to our B&B and getting some dinner near it. A very fun day at the coast!
Tomorrow? The William Wallace Monument and Stirling Castle! Oh goodness, it's going to be exciting.