Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Travel Tyro: Dover Cliffs

"We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch - we are going back from whence we came." — JFK 

Growing up in Florida, I've always lived close to the ocean. Even as I've gotten older and lived in new cities or explored foreign lands, I'm always comforted by the sight of the sea. Like an old friend, the familiarity of the salty air combined with the crashing of rolling waves never fails to envelop my spirit with a feeling of home. 

Recently, I've been trying to wrap my head around a feeling of homesickness, a concept that is as strange to me as eating your french fries err chips with utensils (it's not proper and polite to do otherwise according to the Brits). A trip to the White Cliffs of Dover for sweeping seaside views was just the sort of chicken noodle soup for the soul that I needed a few weekends ago. While I always seem to dream about the adventures beyond the horizon, it was comforting to look out at sea for once and know home lay just beyond the horizon. 

Where: White Cliffs | Dover Castle
(Dover is only an hour's train ride from London)
When: Would not recommend going in the snow...
I think the ideal time was early autumn when the weather wasn't too hot yet the grass was still green. 
Wear Comfortable shoes for walking. I wore these Sorel boots that I wore in Scotland
Why: Dover Castle: Not only a medieval castle since the days of Henry II, but also a refuge  with underground tunnels used for British soldiers during the evacuation of Dunkirk
White Cliffs: Due to natural erosion over millions of years, the cliffs are a build up of white chalk that became exposed above sea level today. Stretching about 10 miles along the coast of Dover, the White Cliffs include the South Foreland Lighthouse and views of France on a clear day. I guarantee you the cliffs will also make you feel like you're in a Jane Austen novel, like this scene from Emma. ;-)
Tyro Tip: Stop at the Dover Information Center for a free leaflet with very thorough directions on how to get to the cliffs from downtown. I naively thought it would be somewhat intuitive to figure out how to get the cliffs (how hard could it be to find some giant white cliffs after all?); it's actually 2 miles just to get from the train station to the start of the cliffs! 
I also 

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Travel Tyro: Scotland

Scotland is one of those faraway places that has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember. So, when the time came to pack my bags for a weekend getaway with my school, I was not going to let an impromptu stomach virus ruin my chance to see the rugged and wild northernmost country of Great Britain. While I spent the most of the trip eating applesauce and feeling car sick, I can honestly say that Scotland is one of the places that will remain ingrained in my heart for the rest of my life. 

Starting from Edinburgh, we traveled through the Highlands for a full day, stopping at Doune Castle and Loch Ness before spending the night at Inverness, the largest and northernmost city on Scotland's northeast coast. The following day, our journey continued on to the Battlefield of Culloden and the Shakespearean Hermitage Woods before we headed back to Edinburgh to catch our train. There were countless picturesque moments of our trip that looked like something straight out of National Geographic, but by far my favorite part of the trip was passing through the Highlands. I don't think any words or photographs can ever truly capture the overwhelming mix of wonderment, freedom, and beauty one feels there. 


Doune Castle

Scottish Highlands

Battlefield of Culloden

Loch Ness 

Hermitage Woods


Where: Edinburgh
When: Spring-Fall
In winter, certain areas in the Highlands get closed off when the snow hits heavily, making travel along the narrow winding two-way roads impossible. While most tourists visit in the summer when the terrain is lush and green, fall is ideal if you're a warm color enthusiast!
Wear: Thank you to the SOREL team for my new Addington tall boots this fall. They are not only gorgeous full-grain leather, but extremely waterproof and versatile. Even with a small heel, they're extremely comfortable for long hikes in the countryside or city sidewalk adventures in London. I have honestly lived in them all season.
Doune Castle (featured in the tv show Outlander!)
Hermitage Woods (Birnham Woods in Shakespeare's Macbeth)
Loch Ness (take a cruise to see Nessie)
Tyro Tip: While I could't stomach any whiskey or solid food during the trip, my friends raved about the cullen skink soup, an authentic Scottish dish that apparently tastes better than it sounds!