Friday, 29 July 2016

Around UK in 7 days: St. Andrews

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته and good day!

After our trip to the Alnwick Castle, we head further north to Scotland, specifically to St. Andrews. St. Andrews is located on the east coast of Scotland, further than Edinburgh, but lower than Dundee (if you can't imagine where it is, just Google it!)

Anyway...the sole purpose to come here is this...



My dad is a huge golf geek. He loves..and I mean L.O.V.E.S his golf. St. Andrews is the home of golf, it's where golf originates, so to speak. The first ever golf tournament was held here, specifically at the Old Course. 

 

This was our accommodation for the weekend. Again, my mum found it from Airbnb. I'll write a review of it in another post. The purpose of this pic is the flowers in the red circle. Look at it carefully because you'll see them changed later on. 

 

The courses at St. Andrews or better known as St. Andrews links are open to the public, but you have to book the slots earlier on (either online or just walk-in to the clubhouse). There are 6 courses if I'm not mistaken. The Old Course is the most famous, where the legends play, most expensive, where people travel thousands of miles just to play at, and the oldest course, hence the name. This course is fully booked, months, almost a year in advance.

 

See how happy my dad is..huhu


Since he didn't get to play at the course, we just took pictures instead. The course is closed on Sundays, which was lucky enough the day we came to visit. So we get to stroll around freely and not disturb anyone playing.

 

See the green, how perfectly trimmed they are. My dad told me the grass are naturally like that (like carpet grass), that the workers only need to trim them now and again to keep them short. Unlike all other golf courses, where those greens are planted. That is why you can't wear other types of shoes, other than golf shoes on the grass in order to maintain them that way. But here, anyone can just walk around freely, as the course itself are very open. 

Even when there's a game, it'll still be open to the public. Only certain places you can't just simply walk, as people are playing. It's even very near the road, where my dad told me sometimes the balls will hit oncoming vehicles. Cars that are parked on the side of the course will be given notice, where they are parked at their own risk of stray balls.  

 

My dad told me this bridge is famous and legendary among golfers. This is the bridge where all golf legends walk on.

 

Of course, we didn't know that. There are quite a few people took pictures here. They must be big golf buffs too. =P

 

The weather wasn't really good when we were in Scotland, well..it's normal there I guess. This is some of the other courses here.

 

This is the clubhouse that I mentioned, besides the Jubilee course. You can book your slot here. They have a souvenir shop and a restaurant as well. 

 

There's one place called the Himalayas where the public (a noob like us, other than my dad) can have a whack at golfing. People can try out putting, £4 for 18 holes which are considerably cheap!! You can check the opening times on the board.

Of course we tried! Since it hasn't really stopped raining, we only paid for 9 holes which cost £1 per person only!! 

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How awesome am I? hahaha...I could be a golfing protege. LOL
My dad was super proud when I made the put!

We were the only people left since it began raining heavily. We didn't stop since we were having too much fun. As the rain began to slow down a bit, a couple of older guys joined in. They offered to take our pictures as we were leaving. Very friendly old folks.

 

After all the golfing excitement, we went to visit the St. Andrews castle, since everything else started to close already. 

 

The cost to enter the castle is just £5 per person. If you want to combine the tickets to the cathedral as well, you can pay for only £8 for both. We weren't really keen on seeing the cathedral, so we just bought the tix for the castle.

 

This castle used to be a fort for Scotland before it was ruined in the war. There's very little of what's left of the castle. One interesting part of it is the tunnel that was dug up by the enemies that tried to penetrate the castle from outside. The protector of the castle, however, dug a counter-tunnel to fight them and prevent them from entering. 

 

The tunnels are still there, well intact. You can crawl in if you are adventurous enough.

 

I'm quite short, so you can imagine how low the ceiling actually is. Because it's a tunnel, the temperature is like a cave, quite chilly. If it's raining outside, you can see some streams got through inside. 

 

This is the tunnel end from inside the castle. There's no through the passage, so after you went down the tunnel, you have to walk/climb back up the same way. 

 

This is not a tunnel. Believe it or not, it used to be a dungeon. There are three levels of dungeon here that are kept for different classes of people. The higher levels are of course for the important people. For those who aren't so important, they throw those people in a flask shaped dungeon, where it has a tall narrow neck (as you can see from the picture) and a round bottom. The round and narrow neck are where they throw (I mean literally throw) the prisoners from, and build as it is so they won't be able to climb up. How sick is that? Talk about inhumane.

 

From the side of the ruins. There hardly any walls left. 

 

The front of the castle is the most part of the castle still standing.

Remember in Newcastle I told you about the bagpipe player? These are the genuine Scottish bagpipers. 

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We were lucky they were there when we arrived.

 

Remember the flowers earlier?  This is what they look like in the morning...

 

and half bloom. SubhanAllah. I've never really seen such an amazing thing. 

Some more information for Muslims that wants to travel to Scotland. Just so you know, around the east coast of Scotland, or even England for that matter, uses beef drippings to fry their fish and chips or any other seafood. So please ask the restaurants that you want to visit if they can entertain to cook your food in vegetable or sunflower oil (sometimes they can) and not simply just go and eat even though they are seafood and chips. 

They do fry any other meat using the same oil (pork, chicken, beef). I know this because someone suggested Cromars Fish and Chips in St. Andrews, which is known as the best fish and chips in Scotland, or maybe even in the UK. But when we checked, they fry their food in beef drippings and don't cook any of them in vegetable oil, plus they also sell pork which they cook in the same oil. So during our trip, we didn't get to eat any fish and chips nor seafood because all of the places that we find only cook in beef drippings. So please be more aware of this.

Until next time....

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Around UK in 7 days: Alnwick Castle

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته and good day!
After our Eid celebration, my family and I went for a road trip around the UK. We (my mum and I) have been planning this trip for months in advance. A lot of changes were made, in the end, we did manage to plan everything accordingly.
On Friday afternoon, after sending off my uncle and aunt to the airport (they couldn't come along since they can't take a lot of leave from work), my parents, my bestie and I head up north for our trip. Our first stop is Newcastle upon Thyne. Our main goal is actually further up, but it'll take too long of a drive to get there, so we break the trip a bit and rest in Newcastle. 



Our accommodation for the night that my mummy found through Airbnb. 
While we were there, of course, we should go somewhere for a visit, so I suggested Alnwick Castle, which is an hour from our accommodation. The castle was used for the shooting of Downton Abbey and Harry Potter, plus many other movies and dramas. Being a huge fan of the two, naturally, I would arrange for us to go there.



The city of Alnwick. 


It's a very small town.


As you walk following the signs, you'll see the garden on your right.


One of the windows that previews the garden. We didn't enter since going around the castle will take most of our time. 

The entrance tickets only cost £13.45 for adult and £11.25 for students if you buy online. Prices are a bit higher if you buy at the booth.


The castle started to get a lot of attention since Downton Abbey and Harry Potter. It is, until today, remains the house of the Duke of Northumberland and his family. That is why parts of the castle are closed as it is a private property.


Most parts of the castle are open for visitors. There are the state rooms, where they maintained the furnishing, atmosphere as it was centuries ago. This is where the shooting for Downton Abbey are held. They even display the clothing that the actors/actresses wore during filming. However, cameras aren't allowed inside. I would've sneaked in a preview, but I need to behave since I was with my folks. huhu...


This is the coach room, where they used to put their vehicles. 

The main attraction of this castle is this...


Dumbledore...and of course...


Harry!!! I found out about their appearance on their website just a few days before we came here. Their appearance was only held for two days which included the day we arrived. Lucky!!!

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These two lot were very entertaining and hilarious. They have what we love to call, the British humor. 

They even stayed to take pictures with everyone there. My phone suddenly died when I wanted to take the picture. I was so flustered, and they were kind enough to wait. 


Actually, before the two wizards appeared, we were entertained with other things such as the broomstick lesson.


We were just in time for this as well. We didn't even know what the schedule was. 


Professor what's her name and what's her face taught us some basic skills in mounting and flying a broomstick. Jolly good! Basically, they were bullying us and we let them. =P

It's all good fun.


On the last session, they thought us a few tricks to capture a good picture like in the movies. Such as these...


Good one mum. You're a genuine witch. woah...did I just call my mum a witch??!! *%£$


Hey..I'm even better. Didn't even manage to finish saying up, the broomstick already went up. Better than Harry I would say. 


err...this girl didn't really know what she's doing. The broom got up, nevertheless. Good Job!


And now the flying part...She made it look so easy


The feminine way of riding a broomstick.


Sorry lads...the broom just got away from me. It got a mind of its own.


Finally got the hang of it.


Victory pose...woohooo...We sure had fun. 


Afterwards, we went in the Knight experience. The most fun part about this is..


Getting to play dress up! We even made the wand inside the circle at the wand making experience. It's very simple, but enough to make kids like us have fun.


There's pillory...the medieval head and hand restraints where they use for their enemies and prisoners. 


Thrones for the king and queen...


This is a medieval loo (toilet). I don't know why they have this though. haha....I guess it's significant.

At first, my parents didn't want to join us in our quest. But after we told them of how fun it was, they want to join as well.


The King helping the damsel...


And made her his queen...All hail the king! =P

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In the end, they had the most fun.

Beside the Knight's experience, there's the Dragon Quest. It's kind of like a haunted house for kids, but it was loads of fun!

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After our knightly journey, we went outside for a stroll.


This guy is not actually playing the bagpipe. It's a fake! I'll show you a real one when we get to Scotland later on.


We climbed the walls of the castle.


It was a spectacular view. 


Inside the towers, there are more museums.


These statues actually talked. My bestie jumped when one of them talked while she was holding 'his' hands. hahahaha


oii you..I'm talking to you!


That's the end of our trip at the castle. There were actually more to see such as the dungeon, the world war exhibition, but we were wiped. So we head back. On our way out..we saw these birds. So many of them, walking towards us looking for food.


Do you know what kind of birds are they?

Until next time...