Monday, 29 December 2008

Tim Hortons in Scotland!?!?!

Imagine my excitement when I found a corner shop that sold Tim Hortons coffee and doughnuts???

A few weeks after we arrived, we drove past a little shop that had a Timmies sign out front. We aren't in that area very often so it was a while before I was able to go back to try some. It wasn't much - just a self-service coffee machine that had cappuccino, coffee and lattes and a small stand with doughnuts. I was excited to try the cappuccino, hoping it would be like the french vanilla cappucino back home (something I've been craving for a while!). Unfortunately, it wasn't at all like it. It tasted like a normal cappuccino, but not a very good one. I ended up dumping most of it out because I didn't want to drink it but wanted to keep the cup. I didn't try any of the doughnuts - the chocolate on the Boston Creme (my favourite) was sweating and I didn't think that was a good thing! All in all, it was a little disappointing and not a very good representation of Tim Hortons, but having the cup in my room is a nice reminder of home.

Always fresh, always Tim Hortons.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Leaning Tower of Pisa here we come!

A few days ago Amy and I booked our first trip to Europe. We will be heading to Pisa, Italy on January 13th and staying until the 15th. It's a short trip--we'll only be there for a day and a half--but Pisa is relatively small and everything we've read online suggests it is easily doable in a day. Of course, Pisa is famous for its leaning tower but there are many other interesting old buildings and 'piazzas' throughout the city. Here are a few photos to give you a taste of what we will be seeing.

And of course...the tower!

mmm looking forward to trying the pizza and gelato in Italy...

Update: After being advised by an Italian man Amy and I work with we have decided to go to Florence as well as Pisa. We will take the train from Pisa to Florence early on the 14th and spend the night there. We will then take the early train back to Pisa and have most of the day to traipse around the city before our flight back to Edinburgh.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

German Market

Every year Edinburgh has a big street market called Winter Wonderland. It is filled with rides, a skating rink and lots of wooden huts filled with exciting and delicious gifts and treats. It started November 27th and is around for a month or so. I went to the opening night where they turned on all the Christmas lights on the main street. This sounds like it would be exciting but it was a bit of a let down. It was freezing that night and I waited around for two hours for the lights to come on. When they eventually got around to flipping the switch a few trees with lights lit up and some "fireworks" went off. I say "fireworks" because I heard maybe four bangs but didn't see any actually fireworks in the sky. Even though the opening night was a bit of a let down the actually market is pretty cool. Amy and I walked around it for a few hours (before the eyebrow piercing!) and bought a few festive treats--chocolate covered apples and sugared almonds. We'll definitely frequent the market quite a bit as they have crepes--my favourite--and delicious looking mini sugared doughnuts that we must try!

Here are a few pictures we took of us enjoying the market:

Our new, WARM Scottish hats.

The market at about 4 pm. It gets dark insanely early here.

We saw this dress on display while we were walking down the Royal Mile towards the tattoo parlor. Very cool!

Monday, 1 December 2008

Black Sheep

I believe I am officially the Black Sheep of the family. Wanna know why? Today I got my eyebrow pierced. Yep, my eyebrow. When I told my mom the other day that I was getting it done she said "why don't you get your nose pierced instead?" Well, I didn't want my nose pierced, I wanted my eyebrow pierced. I've wanted it done for probably four years but refrained from getting it done because I knew my parents wouldn't be too pleased. Now that I'm out on my own I decided it was time. I was pretty nervous about the whole thing. The pain...the aftercare...keeping it clean...whether I would actually like it or not...but I figured I've wanted it done for a long time and the only way to find out if I would like it was to get it done. So Amy and I went to a tattoo parlor on the Royal Mile to check things out. My flatmate Rachel told me about this place and said that it was a safe, clean place to go. So, I went in, filled out the paperwork and got it done. In total it took probably 5 minutes. I was worried about the pain, but honestly it didn't really hurt. It just felt like getting a needle--which I guess is essentially what it is! The barbell that I got it pierced with is bigger than what I would have wanted but it is the smallest one that they could actually pierce with. It has to be a little bigger to accommodate for any swelling. After it is healed, in about 2 months, I can change it to a smaller one. I was feeling a little faint after I got it done so had to sit down for a couple minutes. You know how your hearing starts to go when you feel like you are going to faint? Yeah, that happened to me. It went for about a minute than slowly started to come back.

Here I am feeling a little faint. I am wearing the new coat, but there will be a better picture of it later.

Back at home...feeling much better. I tried to upload the video that Amy took of the actual piercing, but it didn't work. I managed to get it on Facebook so if you really want to watch it you can head over there. I promise it isn't gross and is suitable for everyone to watch. You can't see the needle going in because the guys hands are in the way. I've had it for a few hours now and it feels really good. It isn't throbbing or hurting at all. I'm not looking forward to the first cleaning though, or sleeping with it in. I'll let you know how it feels in the morning :)

Update: I've now had it for more than 24 hours and it feels great. Cleaning it is a breeze and I slept with a hat on last night to keep my bangs, sorry fringe, away from it and that seemed to work well.

Glasgow shopping adventure

Last Monday Amy and I went to Glasgow to do some shopping. It was her birthday so we wanted to do something special and at first we decided we would rent a car and drive down to the Scottish Borders. However, we didn't rent the car on time and I wasn't feeling very good the day before, so we thought a less adventurous trip might be in order. Who doesn't love a little shopping!?!?

So, we caught the bus to Glasgow and were in the city till 6:45. There is a store called Primark that we discovered for the first time in Inverness that is incredibly cheap, but really nice. They don't have any in Edinburgh--don't know why--but have about four in Glasgow. We were very excited to go back to this store and do some birthday/Christmas shopping. I bought a nice winter coat (which you'll see in later pictures) for 25 pounds, a pair of shorts for 50 pence (thats like cents, folks!) and a little something for Amy's stocking. Something I love about Scotland is that the tax is included in the price already. When you are shopping what you see is what you pay. This makes it much easier to calculate what the total cost will be when shopping, and whether or not you have enough cash on you.
So back to Glasgow...after Primark we walked around the downtown area for a bit. Glasgow's downtown area is more normal looking compared with Edinburgh's. There are a lot of new builds in amongst the old buildings that gives it a normal downtown area feel. It's definitely not as nice looking as Edinburgh so if you are planning on visiting Scotland I would recommend going to Edinburgh over Glasgow any day. We didn't really do much in Glasgow besides shop so I don't have a lot to type. I will say that the malls there are actually malls, in the North American sense of the word. In Edinburgh, all the malls are quite small and the same shape, a straight line where you can see one end while standing at the other. The mall we went into in Glasgow was 4 stories and had lots of different wings. Oh how I missed the feeling of being lost in a mall!