I’m glad I came to Aberdeen. It’s not usually the most popular tourist town, but I liked the sound of the name so much I knew I had to visit. Aberdeen. Aberdeen. What a classy, beautiful name!
On arrival by train from the north of Scotland I was met by Lukasz (woo-kash-z), my couchsurfing host in Aberdeen. This is probably one of the best couchsurfing experiences I’ve had so far, and he’s one of those people I’d probably hang out with and get to know if we lived in the same city. Lukasz is from Poland, studying Sociology, on his 3rd year at the University of Aberdeen. He has such a relaxed, cool, happy attitude that its really easy to get along with him and talk about stuff. I felt instantly at ease, and we had many interesting conversations over the 3D2N I spent with him. Learnt a few Polish words as well, and probably found out more about Poland than I originally knew.
On the first night I went shopping for groceries at ASDA, one of the big hypermarkets. Was transfixed by the discount section, and grabbed 4 1-pint bottles of milk for just 5p each. The guy there was sticking reduced labels on every item and kept piling on the discounts until people bought all of them. I also got a huge bag of spinach for less than 20p and a Spotted Dick and Custard for 57p (more on that later).
Dinner was pasta with a minced beef and spinach tomato base. It was one of the most delicious and healthy meals I’ve eaten on this trip, proving that food in Britain generally sucks (a point concurred by all the people I’ve met in the UK, British or otherwise).
The next day I explored town. I actually quite liked Aberdeen. Its called the Granite City because all the buildings are built with granite bricks, such is the abundance of the mineral in the vicinity. At first it looked grey and dull under the overcast sky, but when the sun emerged, it was positively sparkling and very nice indeed. There’s also unique architecture along the main street, Union Street, such as some castle turret-like buildings. I spent a few happy hours just wandering the streets, window shopping at Marks and Spencers, buying some books at charity shops, darting into the library and art gallery, as well as looking through the Aberdeen Maritime Museum, another one of those amazingly free-of-charge museums dotted around the UK. Really, I haven’t paid a single admission charge since arriving 20 days ago except for the London Transport Museum (5 pounds)!
For dinner, Lukasz made some baked potato dish which was a bit too savoury for my taste, but nevertheless interesting. I did my specialty Thai Red Curry again, with Red Curry from a can bought from ASDA (1 pound) and some chicken. It actually tastes quite nice though was somewhat lacking in the spicy department. About spices: all the Europeans I’ve met so far on this trip (except a Bulgarian girl) love eating spicy food, so its somewhat of a stereotype that they can’t take spices. In particular, Lukasz has eaten wasabi on its own without any sushi or anything to go with it. None of the people I met liked durian though!
Then we went to the pub and had a few drinks. Its definitely more lively and boisterous than the one I went to in Glasgow, because its right next to the university and frequented by students for the cheap drinks. Met friends of Lukasz, who are very friendly and amicable. Interesting people and I wish I had more time to get to know them!
On the last day in Aberdeen Lukasz brought me to a ‘fishing village’, which is a charming little community of picturesque small row houses and beach shacks located right between the beach at Aberdeen (with dark waters that looked super cold, though the beach itself was actually not too bad) and the industrial district bordering the port. And then we went to the city for a bit, before heading back to his place and cooked some pasta for lunch. Also had the spotted dick for dessert, LOL. It actually doesn’t taste half as strange as it sounds.