We realized recently how much we like not having cars. No car insurance. No worries about gas prices. No random mechanical failures or transmission issues. No check engine light woes. No hour long commutes sitting in highway traffic. And the best part, no ice scraping on frosty mornings. I mean, we loved our ’96 Honda Passport and our fancy ’99 Honda Accord, but life without them is not as hard as we thought – that is until the time comes when you want to go for a little road trip.
This past fall, my aunt Debbie and uncle Nelson came through Edinburgh on an epic, month-long trip through the United Kingdom. They invested in a rental car and when they asked if we wanted to tag along on a day trip to St.Andrews we simply couldn’t resist. An entire day spent with our sweet family from home and a wee road trip? Yes please!
When they told us about their plan to take the scenic route we were even more thrilled. The scenic route includes several miles of coastline, and a string of beautiful villages lining up one after another as you make your way closer and closer to St.Andrews.
Buckle up and join us as we recap one of our favorite trips so far.
First stop – St. Monans
St. Monans is considered to be one of the most attractive of East Neuk of Fife’s coastal villages. For those of you that enjoy history (there is a lot of that here, come visit us!) St.Monans hosts the ruins of Ardross and Newark Castle. You can also view the Parish Church at the west end shoreline.
We decided to stop here for some sunshine at the pier, warm coffee and fluffy scones. We found our way to the rooftop of the cafe to sip our lattes. As we sipped and talked about what a great idea this all was, our favorite author and theologian, N.T. Wright. walked up the spiral staircase and headed straight toward us. Ryan and I both did the double blink, did-I-just see-what-I-thought-I-saw thing. We recognized him immediately, and were instantly starstruck, like a couple of teenyboppers seeing N’Sync in person. We eventually settled down and introduced ourselves telling him how much we enjoy his work and how important his books have been in our faith and ministry. Curious? We recommend his books whenever we get the chance, here is my chance and here is a great title to start with Simply Christian by N.T. Wright.
Next stop- Crail
A few miles further east you come to the most remote, and perhaps most photographed of the villages, Crail. Charming cobbled streets wind down to the miniature harbor, which is sheltered by cliffs, surrounded by historic fishing cottages and places to eat lunch or grab a pint. An older gent that I met here told me that the harbor has been featured on postcards for “as long as there have been postcards”. So, for a very, very long time. The whole village was a fascinating place to walk through, explore and needless to say, photograph.
Final stop- St. Andrews
St. Andrews is home to golf, one of Scotland’s oldest universities, to a castle standing on a rocky cliff, and to the partial remains of a once great cathedral. Here, I’ll save you the trouble of googling it and highlight some Wikipedia facts for your reading pleasure.
- Built in 1158, St.Andrews Cathedral was a Roman Catholic cathedral that became the centre of the Medieval Catholic Church in Scotland.
- It fell into disuse and ruin after Catholic mass was outlawed during the 16th-century Scottish Reformation.
- The ruins indicate that the building was approximately 119m (391 feet) long, and is the largest church to have been built in Scotland.
- *It is old, it is huge and a lovely place to wander. *Not from Wikipedia.
St. Andrews Links is regarded as the “home of golf”. It has one of the oldest courses in the world, where the game has been played for 600 years! What many people don’t realize is that there are seven public courses here; the Balgove, Eden, Jubilee Course, Strathtyrum, the Old Course (1552), which is widely considered one of the finest, the most famous and traditional, courses in the world, the New Course (1895), and the new Castle Course (2008). Yes, I am bringing my clubs to Scotland after our visit home this May and you betcha, I am definitely going to try and play here.
P.S. Dad and Papa, if you are reading this, thank your for instilling a love in me for this frustrating but oh so darn addicting game. I hope you can come see the course one day!
We really had a lovely time getting outside of the city and being able to explore some of Scotland’s gems with our family. We are grateful for an aunt and uncle that accepted the challenge to drive on the left side and we simply adore their spirit of adventure.
Moral of the post… Come and visit, let’s get a rental car and go take a scenic route!
A + R