May of 2009, I got to travel outside the country for the first time, traveling to Scotland. My family was picking up my sister, Carrie, from the University of Dundee and bringing her home, having a short vacation at the same time.
Dundee is not a big city in Scotland but still has the centered city, bus transit, taxi system. One day my Dad and I traveled on the buses to the cliffs of Arborath for the day and traveled back, using the government regulated transit system in the UK.
My sisters and I, bored sitting in her flat (basically an apartment) with nothing to do, walked down to the local park. We spent an hour or so there, and, because my sister is a photographer, we have some pictures from playing in the park.
On the way back to her flat, we stopped at the 24 hour bakery, which is said only to have treats that seem tasty because it is opened 24 hours. Most shops around Dundee actually close at 8:00 pm, the 24 hour bakery, roller skating rink, and movie theatre being the exceptions.
Dundee has a local sight of its own called the law, a short hike up to see a WWII memorial along with a staggering view of the city.
We also traveled to Belfast, Northern Ireland, for a day. On the way to Belfast the train system takes us through Edinburgh and Glasgow. Carrie had friends, from University, back home in all Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Belfast, so on the way to Belfast we made pit stops at each city. While in Edinburgh, we hiked up what is known as Arthur’s seat. To achieve quite the view, such as this, requires quite the hike, but it was definitely worth it. The way down was definitely the best because we could run very fast, scream, and have locals look at us as bloody tourists. Afterwards we traveled to a couple museums ambled through the city, being level with and above. Leaving Edinburgh, we continued on train onward towards Glasgow. We didn’t spend a lot of time in Glasgow only to eat and drop off our luggage at Carrie’s friend’s house. We continued, venturing by bus and ferry, to Belfast, Northern Ireland, staying again with a friend of Carrie’s. Unfortunately the stay was short, only a day, and we made our way back to Glasgow the same way we left.
We picked up our luggage after another meal from the friends in Glasgow and headed to a 4 star hotel for the night before the flight back over the big pond back to the States. While at the hotel, my sisters and I watched the memorable football, soccer, game of Barcelona vs. Manchester United in the UEFA Champions League Finals Match, Barcelona winning 2-0. The flight back was nine hours, compared to the eight hour flight to Scotland, because of jet streams. Over these nine hours the memories replayed in my head to leave an everlasting imprint on my mind of the amazing first and, so far, the only travel experience I have had outside the country.
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