Winter Break Part 1

My mom flew out to England the day I had to move out of my dorm for winter break at the University. We spent our first night in Nottingham and I got to show her a little of the city I’ve been living in the past few months! We went into the city center for dinner, walked around the Christmas market, and then got mulled cider at Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem.

The next day we headed to Edinburgh, Scotland. We spent 2 days here wandering around and taking in all the history of the city. Our only full day here we walked to the Castle, around Royal Mile and stopped to try (vegetarian) haggis.

The Parish Church of St Cuthbert with Edinburgh Castle in the background
The Parish Church of St Cuthbert with Edinburgh Castle in the background

Our last morning we found Victoria Street- the inspiration for Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley and we found a few other of J.K. Rowling’s inspirations around the city.

The coffee shop JK Rowling supposedly wrote a lot of the Harry Potter books in
The coffee shop JK Rowling supposedly wrote a lot of the Harry Potter books in
Victoria Street: JK Rowling’s inspiration for Diagon Alley
Victoria Street: JK Rowling’s inspiration for Diagon Alley

Later that day we moved on the Glasgow. Although there was a lot less to do here- we really just wanted to get a feel for the cities and see what they had to offer. Every blog that I had read when trying to decide between the two had said that they were both great- neither was a bad choice. Tired from our first few days of non stop traveling and wandering around, we went to the Christmas markets in Glasgow and then ordered pizza to eat in our room while watching Christmas movies!

The next afternoon we flew to Dublin. We spent just one night in Dublin, in a hotel on O’Connell street. We wandered around the busy street to find dinner and I showed my mom a little of what I had seen earlier in the month when I had been here with my friends.

The next morning we woke up early- 5:30- for a tour to the Cliff of Moher and Galway. Although everyone else on the tour was going back to Dublin later that night we had decided to spend a night in Galway per a family friend’s recommendation. The first stop on the tour was just a bathroom break but it was at Obama Plaza- somewhere in rural Ireland where Barack Obama’s ancestors are from apparently.

The second stop was the Cliffs of Moher. The cliffs were beautiful, but the wind was so harsh it could knock you over if you weren’t careful and it was raining off and on while we were there. Still it was an amazing experience and I am so happy we got to go.

The Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher
The wind at the cliff was so harsh you could see water being sprayed over the edge
The wind at the cliff was so harsh you could see water being sprayed over the edge
O’Brien’s Tower at the edge of the cliff
O’Brien’s Tower at the edge of the cliff

The third stop was at the Burren region or “rocky area” which is a large region of Ireland.

The burren region in Ireland
The burren region in Ireland

And then we were in Galway. We only spent the one night in Galway before heading back to Dublin. In Galway our hotel was in Eyre square right in front of the Christmas Market and we easily walked everywhere.

Galway’s Christmas Market
Galway’s Christmas Market

The next two nights we were in Dublin and this time around we actually got to explore the city beyond the one street. 

The Temple Bar in Dublin
The Temple Bar in Dublin
St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin
St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin

Our final stop was London for Christmas. We got there the night of the 23rd and got to explore a little of the city at night. On Christmas Eve we did some grocery shopping and then went to high tea near Hyde Park and Buckingham Palace.

High tea at the Park Room: finger sandwiches, scones, cakes and tea
High tea at the Park Room: finger sandwiches, scones, cakes and tea
Our cakes from high tea
Our cakes from high tea

Christmas Day we opted to stay in the apartment, watch crappy Christmas movies and cook. It was so nice to have a homemade meal after all these months of eating dorm food and eating out. It may not have been a very exciting Christmas Day but we were just lucky to have been able to spend the holiday together. The next day we explored Notting Hill’s Portobello Road. From there we walked through Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park to Buckingham Palace.

Queen Victoria statue in Kensington Gardens
Queen Victoria statue in Kensington Gardens
Peter Pan statue in Hyde Park
Peter Pan statue in Hyde Park

Our last day together we visited the Tower of London and Tower Bridge, Covent Gardens (for some souvenirs) and then the London Eye.

Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge

It was such an amazing experience to get to travel with my mom and I was so grateful to have had her with me for Christmas. For the second half of my break my best friend will be flying over and we will travel a bit of Europe before I head to Italy for my last week. More travels to come.

 

Cheers,

Rilee