St Andrews (2005-06-01 - 8:18 p.m.)
So the internet cafe is combined with a coffee shop. BUT they won't give change for the internet machines at the coffee shop, and I hate buying rip-off coffee from them just so I have change for the internet. But you can borrow a board game for a £2 deposit - so I paid for my board game with my £5 note, got my £3 back, bought my internet time - and now with any luck I will get my £2 deposit back when I bring them the game. (Either that, or I just bought a really cheap game!) I'm so pleased with myself for figuring out a way to manipulate the system without having to actually give Cafe Nero any more money.
Anyway. So it's another rainy Wednesday, and I am suffering post-weekend hangover. (Not literally, by the way, in case you were wondering). I was going full-tilt all weekend, which was great because at least I feel like I squeezed every last drop out of it. But now I'm tired and I haven't got anything that I wanted to done and blah, it's Wednesday.
So right, the weekend. Well, I went to St Andrews on Monday with Kelly and Lindsay, two more Islanders who are very cool. We took the bus up as there's no train station, which was a bit unfortunate - it's a milk-run bus that stops at every little town in Fife. St Andrews was worth it, though. Such a nice little town, right on the sea, with its medieval layout still intact (three streets intersecting like a crow's foot).
We started at the castle, which I got into free due to my Historic Scotland membership card. Sadly Kelly and Lindsay didn't want to pay the admission, so they waited outside - extremely nice of them, though I felt a bit guilty for making them wait.
The castle was interesting in that it was mostly a shell. Very little of it actually remains. It has a moat, which is cool, and is in a great castle-location since it's got the moat on one side and the sea on the other. Except for the fact that half of it has now fallen into the sea. It was the scene of some burnings at stake and other grisly deeds, and has a "bottle dungeon" - narrow at the top and wide at the bottom, so once you're in you ain't going anywhere!
The best part, however, was the tunnel. There was a siege and the soldiers outside decided to dig a mine to try and get into the castle and break the siege. Literally undermining their opponents! But the soldiers inside the castle got word of this and started a countermine to try and intercept the first tunnel and render it useless. They had no way of knowing where it was and were guided only by the sound of digging. There are two false starts to the tunnel in the grounds, because they had no way of knowing where to begin...
Eventually they did get the right spot and did manage to intercept the other tunnel, and you can actually go underground and see both tunnels! The one from the outside is wide enough for three men abreast and nicely finished with an arched roof. The one from the inside is so small that I had to bend double, and twists and turns all over. There are side tunnels that go nowhere as the diggers realised they were going the wrong direction. The tunnel gets narrower as they got more desperate, until finally there is a tiny shaft down to the first tunnel when they finally managed to intercept their enemies. It's so weird down there - damp and cold and squashed. Must have been a horrible place to be, digging for your life.
We also saw the graveyard and cathedral (though didn't go up St Rule's Tower) and of course the Old Course, the home of golf. We went to the clubhouse, where a single golf ball cost £4. And then we went shoe shopping and hit the coffee shop! All in all a very worthwhile day trip, and I hope I can go back when I have more time to potter about the town.
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