Welcome back for the next installment in Adventure Awaits: Traveling the World with Alex and Ani! This week, Rachel talks about her spring break trip to England, Ireland and Scotland with friends.
I crossed three more countries off my list as my spring break in Europe began. I wanted to see as much as I could of the world and this semester abroad was the start.
First stop: Leeds, England! It was the first time that I found myself traveling solo in Europe to meet up with some friends from college who were also studying abroad. My friends, Sara and Shelby, were fantastic tour guides! I had a blast and loved seeing where they studied. For the rest of my spring break, I traveled with them and Shelby’s boyfriend.
Leeds was a really fun city to visit. I went to an art museum opening during my first night and was handed a glass of white wine upon my entrance. It was definitely something different that I had never pictured myself doing. After the museum opening, we headed to a cute restaurant where I tried authentic fish and chips! During my time in Leeds, we also took a day trip to the historic town of York and did a bit of shopping as well.
From Leeds we headed off to Dublin, Ireland. Ireland was a country that I had been hoping to cross off my list for a long time because my ancestors are from there. Dublin is a city that is full of amazing culture and unique people. I really loved exploring the Temple Bar District, walking along the river, and hearing the accents. We listened to live music during every meal in pubs and took part in a bar crawl for the first time.
A highlight from this trip for me was taking a tour of the Guinness Factory Storehouse. I have never been a big fan of beer, but the tour is definitely worth it! You learn about the history of the company, how the beer is produced, ways to pour the perfect pint, and more. It was all really interesting!
Sitting in front of the Dublin Castle.
We also took part in a free walking tour that was offered by our hostel to learn more about the history of the city. We were brought to places such as the Dublin Castle, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Trinity College, the Temple Bar District, and St. Stephen’s Green. We were taught about where the country stood on current political issues, education, religion, and more.
Free walking tours are definitely something I would suggest to any tourist in a new city. It helps you become oriented with a new place and opens your eyes to many things that have happened in the city you are in. The tour guides are usually always passionate and have great personalities as they take you through their city.
Getting some sun in front of the Dublin Castle on our walking tour.
After what seemed like a whirlwind two days in Dublin, we headed to Edinburgh, Scotland, which was perhaps my favorite city that I visited outside of Barcelona. It is charming, beautiful, and incredibly historical. It captured my heart right away!
Our flight to Scotland found us arriving to Edinburgh at 6 or so in the morning. We caught a few winks of sleep on the bus ride from the airport to the center of the city and were ready to go! We stayed at Castle Rock Hostel where each room had a different theme having to do with something in Scotland. Ours was the Scottish Writers Room and everyone’s bunk was named after a different writer who was important to Scotland. I stayed in the bunk labeled “Rabbie Burns.”
Another cool aspect of our hostel was the fact that it was essentially at the base of the Edinburgh Castle. You could see it from the windows and we met some great people who were also traveling through Edinburgh. I even practiced my Spanish with someone who was from Barcelona!
View of Edinburgh Castle from outside our hostel.
Excited to see where Rachel’s journey takes her? Be sure to check back next week for more Adventure Awaits: Traveling the World with Alex and Ani!