I know what you’re wondering… where the bloody hell has Ashley been??? I probably should have said something about my departure, but I didn’t. So there you go.
Over the last ~9 days I’ve been parading around Europe and the UK with my fam! First my parents came to Cambridge to visit me for about 3 days, then we went off to meet my sisters in Edinburgh for 3 days, then we all went to Portugal for 3 more days! We had a lot of fun in all three places, and averaged like 21,000 – 27,000 steps per day! Loooaaads of walking. But it was fun!
In Cambridge we mostly just walked around the town centre, checked out some of the colleges, and walked by the river almost every day. We also checked out the Fitzwilliam museum to check out the newly discovered sculptures by Michelangelo.
Next up: Scotland! I’ve always wanted to go here, so I was thrilled to finally have the chance. My younger sister is studying abroad at the University of Edinburgh this term, which is why we went here next.
Party at Tom Riddle’s Grave!
There’s a graveyard in Edinburgh with Tom Riddle’s name on it! You know… the Harry Potter Tom Riddle. J.K. Rowling thinks she was inspired by this gravestone and that’s where she came up with Tom Riddle’s name.
The Elephant House: The birthplace of Harry Potter
We also stopped by The Elephant House which was just down the street from the graveyard. This café is where J.K. Rowling wrote parts of Harry Potter. It was pretty cute with the whole elephant theme.
The Castle of Edinburgh
Of course we visited the Castle of Edinburgh. It was pretty incredible. You’d just be walking around Edinburgh then look up and THERE’S THIS HUGE CLIFF RIGHT UP IN YOUR BUSINESS WITH A CASTLE ON TOP. It was massive.. and awesome.
Then we climbed up Arthur’s Seat. This was probably my favourite part of the WHOLE trip. It was incredible. Arthur’s Seat is like this big hill or mountain (I have no idea at which point a hill becomes a mountain) and it was the highest point in Edinburgh. You get to the top and there’s an AMAZING panoramic view of the whole city. Pretty spectacular. And it felt really good to climb up there. Some parts literally felt like rock climbing.
The Farmer’s Market
That day we had lunch at a farmer’s market. We had some amaaaazing chicken paella. The market had a lot of other cool, homemade stuff for sale too. It was fun to walk around. I also had one of the best hot chocolates of my life there (and I bought a pack to take home!). They had these shots of pure hot chocolate… mmm, delicious.
The last stop was Lisbon, Portugal! This was a totally different scene, and about 15 degrees warmer. Lisbon is a pretty interesting city. They’re really big on graffiti and street art. Pretty much every single wall had some kind of graffiti or artwork on it. Then there are the famous tiled buildings.
Oh, and there’s a bridge that looks exactly like the Golden Gate bridge in SFO. It was almost like being back home!
The first day we stopped for lunch at a place called LxFactory. This was like a big area with a ton of different restaurants and shops in it.
And the highlight? We went into a shop called Landeau Chocolate. They sold AMAZING chocolate. As soon as we walked in the shop, there was an INCREDIBLE smell of chocolate. Just an aroma of goodness. We all got a hot chocolate, but sadly nobody in my family got the chocolate cake (which looked delicious).
Castelo Dos Mouros (Sintra)
Then we took a half day trip to Sintra, which was just a ~30 minute drive away. We visited the Castelo Dos Mouros, which almost rivalled Arthur’s Seat. It was a castle up on a hill that had some spectacular views. Some bits of the climb up were actually quite frightening, because you were SO high up and there were only teeny tiny railings that you could easily fall over lol.
Pena National Palace (Sintra)
Then we stopped by the Pena National Palace, which was just a ways above the castle. It almost felt like a fun house because of all the bright colours and winding balconies/corridors.
The end of
the world Europe
On the way back to Lisbon, we stopped by the coast. This is the most western point in all of Europe! There wasn’t much to photograph since it was literally just a cliff overlooking the ocean, but it was cool to be there. (Even if it was cold and windy as hell!)
The oldest operating bookshop
One of the last things we did was visit the oldest operating bookshop. Honestly, I was hoping the inside would look a little more… special. The actual interior of the bookshop wasn’t anything super cool or exciting. You wouldn’t look at it and think it was the oldest bookshop. I guess it was still cool to have been there though, you know?
Home sweet home!
Going on a trip can be fun, but I’m always so ready to come home. I missed blogging, I missed work, and I missed my husband! Sadly, Coding God couldn’t come on the trip since he had to work… boo! So as much fun as the trip was, it’s nice to be home and back to my regular routine. 🙂