|This club sign made us giggle - wow, TfL are expanding their reach!|
After the hibernation of January and February, this month sees us heading off on two little trips. Both are visits to places I've lived before and haven't been back to in ages. I've been saying for a while I wanted to take Matthew up to Aberdeen, where I studied for four years, and last weekend we made the journey up to the Granite City. Later in the month we are heading over to Luxembourg, where I aupaired for a few months after university.
For our journey up, Matthew had two complimentary tickets in first class (loyalty scheme win: thanks, all those farflung football fixtures!), so we decided to take the journey up by train. We caught the 10am train from Kings Cross, which then delivered us to Aberdeen a little after 5pm. Our journey was smooth and uneventful - the crew kept us going with food, drinks and snacks and we whiled away the day with reading, watching downloaded TV shows, listening to music and generally lazing. It was so nice to have a day together when neither of us was dashing off somewhere!
|All set up for the journey|
|I love the 'Hop On Board' beer on Virgin East Coast. So fun! Matthew's pie smelled amazing - I totally had lunch-envy.|
Once we arrived in Aberdeen we stepped out of the train station and our hotel was all of fifty metres from the exit. Since I left the city in 2003 all sorts of developments have sprung up, including the giant Union Square development of shops and restaurants where our hotel, the Jurys Inn, was located. This was my first stay in a Jurys Inn and I was pleasantly surprised; the location was fantastic (as well as being close the the train station it has the bus station on the other side, and is a stone's throw from Union Street), the rooms were clean and well appointed, and the staff in the bar downstairs were very polite and sweet, and didn't mock me when my drink of choice on a Saturday night was a nice cup of tea.
After unpacking and freshening up, we headed out for dinner at Amarone. I'd heard great things about this Italian restuarant and we were not disappointed, tucking in to a lovely meal in a comfy booth at the back. It's a big place but the tables and banquettes are well-appointed and the acoustics forgiving, so we were able to have good chats even in a very busy restaurant. Matthew enjoyed a generous calzone, and I tucked into a delicious chicken with mushrooms and pancetta. Delightful. After that we headed for a couple of drinks and a little blackjack at the Soul Casino on Union Street; we went early in the evening so there were only a half-dozen people there - perfect for avoiding the St Patrick's Day crowds who were thronging to the other pubs in town. The casino was no doubt mobbed later on! After a long day travelling (albeit very comfortably) we were ready to turn in.
The next day we woke up after a huge sleep to find we'd missed breakfast altogether and that it was almost time to head out for lunch. My brother Peter and his girlfriend Julie live in the city so we'd planned to meet them for lunch, and as Union Square is full of restaurants we figured that was as good a place as any to catch up. We ate and chatted and got properly caught up - I hadn't seen them since my sister Sian's wedding last January so it was wonderful to see them in person.
|So fun to see my 'little' brother, now half a foot taller than me!|
After that Matthew and I went for a walk around some of my old favourite spots, as well as having a good nose around the Old Aberdeen, where the university has its base. It was so fun to walk around the place where I learned so much and made such great friends and lovely memories. After a few hours we wended our way back to the city, where we popped into the 6 degrees North brewpub, with its stellar collection of brews. Then we walked all of fifty metres up the road to the flagship BrewDog pub to finish off our evening, where I bumped into a lady, Sheena, who had lived in the flat above me my final year of university. We spent a good half hour catching up on the dozen years or so we hadn't seen each other!
|King's College Chapel|
|I love that the animal of Scotland is the unicorn|
|I was always tickled that the English and Film departments were based in the Old Brewery.|
|Whiskeys at the St Machar Bar|
|Boozy coffee = winning|
|Decisions, decisions at BrewDog|
Such a fun day, but then it was time to rest up ahead of our jaunt to Stonehaven the day after. So lovely to be up in the north-east.