I’m baaaaaaaaaaaack. Please excuse my dropping off the face of the earth for the past month or so while I’ve been getting back into the way of balancing university, part-time work, and running four times a week, all while trying to maintain some semblance of a social life. Perhaps taking a year out the game and then coming back to what everyone calls the most difficult year of uni and taking on a bunch of extracurricular stuff on top of trying to maintain this blog wasn’t the smartest plan, but hey at least I’m ambitious, right?! And, being totally honest here, the only reason I’ve found/made the time to write this is because the niggle in my hip that’s been bothering me slightly for a month finally became a proper injury last week during my first intervals session of the year, and now I’m blessed(?) with a lovely groin strain injury and at least three weeks of no running. (Remember to replace your shoes every 500 miles, kids.) On the up-side, given I’ve been running for three or four years and this is the first injury I’ve picked up, I don’t think it’s all that bad. Just need to remember to be sensible with it and not try and run through it à la the past month.
Earlier this week I went down to London for the day for something very exciting (more info on that one coming soon). I had just under four hours to kill in the morning before the very exciting thing started, so I did what any sensible person would do having just travelled down on the overnight train and not slept at all: ran around central London like a mad woman trying to cram in as much touristy stuff as possible! Not counting multiple trips through various airports over the years, I’ve only actually been to London twice – and the last time was more than four years ago! Needless to say, I was absolutely buzzing to have a few free hours in the city.
The last time I recommended somewhere to eat in Glasgow it was a doughnut shop … this time it’s a Korean dessert cafe (I think I sense a theme emerging here). Bing Soul recently opened in the West End of Glasgow and I’d been planning on going since it did, so one sunny day last week my friend B and I paid them a visit to try it out. You’ll find Bing Soul on Dumbarton Road, close to Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in the Partick area of Glasgow’s West End, about 2 minutes walk from Kelvinhall subway station and 10 minutes from Partick train/bus/subway station.
My prediction of needing an early night so I could get up on time in the morning turned out to be spot on. I was up, dressed, breakfasted, had bought my meal deal lunch at Tesco, and made it to the office of the company I’d booked my tour with all before 9:15am!! Talk about a productive morning! I’d pre-booked a tour up the Antrim coast to the Giant’s Causeway online with a company called Allen’s Tours and the bus for the day was absolutely packed full. Our driver Phil was fantastic and told us lots of interesting anecdotes, funny stories, and not-so-funny jokes along the way.
One of the other girls in my dorm room wanted to do a Black Cab Tour to learn more about The Troubles and see another part of the city, so I said I’d go along with her and we could split the cost. Our tour guide and driver picked us up at 10 in the morning and we agreed on a price of £35 between the two of us before setting off to the epicentre of The Troubles, Shankill Road and Falls Road.
The first stop was a mural of William of Orange on lower Shankill (protestant territory). I don’t think I’ve ever seen as many Union flags in my life as I saw here…not sure I liked it as it felt pretty intimidating. We then got back in the taxi and drove along the wall that still divides these two parts of the city (the three sets of gates are closed every night and opened again in the morning) so we could see some of the graffiti and messages people have written there. After walking along a stretch of the wall, we hopped back in the cab again and drove through one set of gates to Falls Road (catholic territory) so we could see some of the peace murals. Unfortunately, we were only able to spend about ten minutes here otherwise we would’ve been charged more, but it was definitely a must-see. The most unsettling thing to me (besides the fact that the two communities are still separated by a giant wall) was that if you walked maybe about a mile and a half away, you’d be back in the city centre with no idea that this kind of thing is still an ongoing issue.
If you’ve read my last post, you’ll know I recently travelled to Northern Ireland for a few days because I found a cheap deal on flights. However, with super cheap flights came the need to get up super early. Like 5:30am early. I caught the bus to Glasgow International Airport from Buchanan Street bus station at 7, which gave me plenty of time to catch my flybe flight at 9:15.
After a very short and smooth flight, I arrived safely in Belfast City Airport just after 10 and then waited to catch my second airport bus of the day into the city centre. By the time I got in, I was craving second breakfast something awful because I’d had first breakfast so early in the morning, so after getting off the bus I stopped in pretty much the first cafe I came across for a cream cheese bagel and a coffee.
A few posts ago, I mentioned that I had a four days in a row off work coming up, so because this is likely the only holiday I’ll get this summer, I decided to book myself a wee trip to Northern Ireland. One, because it’s very close to Scotland and the flights were relatively cheap given I booked about three weeks beforehand; and two, I’d never been to Northern Ireland before, and after exploring Spain for 9 months I realised how little I’d seen of my own country and its UK neighbours.
So, flights and hostel booked, I set off for a few days exploring a new part of the world, and one of those days featured a coach trip up the Antrim coast to see the Giant’s Causeway. I took far too many pictures there, so I thought I’d post some of the best ones as a little teaser for the travel diaries which are coming up soon.
One thing I quite like to do occasionally is be a tourist in my own city. And so a few weeks back, when Mum was back at home with her injured leg (sorry pal), Dad and I thought it might be fun to get our weekly dose of Vitamin T one Tuesday and go on a tour of the Tennent’s Brewery out the East End of Glasgow.
The Wellpark Brewery is the biggest brewery in Scotland (the site is over 18 acres!) and produces 5 million cans a week. The current brewery was founded in 1740 by Hugh Tennent and Robert Tennent, and was taken over by a different Hugh Tennent in 1884; and it was in 1884 that the first Tennent’s Lager was produced. And according to their information leaflet, it’s the city of Glasgow’s longest on-going commercial operation, which is pretty impressive!
A few weeks back, Rosie from La Grenouille Anglaise nominated me for the Blue Sky Tag, which is a great way to find out a few things about bloggers that you might not necessarily get to know. Thank you so much for the nomination – I really appreciate it!! Rosie blogs about hiking, baking (I think she has as big a sweet tooth as I do!), travel, and life in and around Lyon in France.
So let’s get on with the tag…
- Thank the person who nominated you, and link back to their blog
- Answer their questions
- Tag 11 other bloggers (or as few/ many as you fancy)
- Write 11 questions for them
- Let them know you’ve nominated them
- If you could travel through time, which year (past or future) would you travel to and why?
I’d travel to 2217 just to see how much we’ve changed the planet over the course of 200 years. Are we all cyborgs by this point? Is Earth basically a wasteland with very little life left? Have all humans been wiped out by a virus?
Alternatively, I would loooooooooooove to travel back in time to Ancient Egypt. It’s been a source of fascination for me since we did a project on it back in primary school – I remember making a pendant with my name written in hieroglyphics, and I’m pretty sure there’s still a cat mummy piggy bank made from a Pringles tube lying around the attic back home at my parents’ house.
I had another few days off work last week, so I decided to head back home to my parents’ house for a bit to see them and my sister. I was back down for Monday and Tuesday, and my sister and I made the most of the lovely weather on the second day to get some jobs done around the house and generally be productive, so I thought I’d write a little post about that.
First job of the day: re-paint the garden bench and washing poles. Now, and this may have been a mistake on Mum’s part, because my sister and I were doing the painting, that meant we got to choose the colour….so sorry Mum, but cornflower blue just wasn’t to be. We ended up choosing a more turquoise blue instead. After going down town to buy the paint, I was in charge of sanding down the bench, and then we painted half each. Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to get all the coats finished because it started raining. But you can see from the photos that it looks quite different.