I cannot believe that it was a whole month ago that I was in Edinburgh! Busy doesn’t even begin to describe this month. I’ve got a whole backlog of blogs to write, travelling to Provence, my parents visiting Paris, my internship completing… the list keeps growing!
But without further ado: I present to you Scotland!
Lets try again shall we:
We ended up taking a train into Edinburgh from London and the view from the train was absolutely breathtaking as the route took us past the craggy coastline. I didn’t get any pictures because I was sitting in the aisle seat and there were a couple British businessmen in the window seats so I might have gotten a couple weird looks if I had tried to take pictures over their heads…
But when we arrived we dropped our bags off at our hostel and promptly went to visit the thing literally looming over our heads:
The castle literally towers over the entire town and was home to so many historical Scottish events. The whole thing could be described as a giant spoiler alert for all my favorite historical fiction tv shows including the illustrious Mary Queen of Scots and the various Jacobite Rebellions.
**SPOILER ALERT** Everyone dies. It was the 1500s.
The castle turned out to be a giant windstorm where we were running in between buildings for shelter so when we were done and it was starting to sprinkle, we decided it was wise to head back to our hostel for a warm cup of tea before dinner. This is why I love Britain. Tea is everywhere and it comes in a giant pot for like 2 pounds or less.
I actually had a friend studying abroad in Edinburgh, so she took us to all the good places including a lovely restaurant where I had this Scottish specialty:
After dinner my friend took us to a small cafe where live folk music plays every night and thats pretty much when I decided that I loved Scotland. Sitting in a cafe with new and old friends, listening to scottish accents swirl around us, and legit folk music playing in the background that you couldn’t help but tap your feet to. It doesn’t get any better than that.
The next day we headed out early to go see the National Museum of Scotland which had a whole section on Scottish history, Mary Queen of Scots, and the Jacobite Rebellions.
My Scottish pride also came out on this trip in full force. On my dad’s side I belong to the Ross clan and on my Mom’s side I belong to the Menzie clan.
But seeing as how clan Ross is from the highlands… I’m much more inclined to claim them.
Evidence no. 1: Highlanders are just more badass
After our museum visit and after I bought my clan scarf and other souvenirs, we hunted down an Indian food restaurant that my friend recommended.
Then we met up with my friend for some hot chocolate floats at the local gelato store where they hand make everything.
If you’re planning a trip to Edinburgh Mary’s Milk Bar better be on your list. That thing was divine.
After our snack to warm ourselves back up, we headed over to take a whiskey distillery tour where we learned about the production process that goes into making whisky and how the different regions of Scotland produce different varieties of whisky.
And then we walked past the largest whisky collection in the world. All unopened, untasted bottles.
We also learned all about the Angel’s Share – the amount of whiskey that evaporates during distillation that is said to be taken by the angels. That is also the title of a very funny Scottish movie about whiskey which I highly recommend.
And as Jack Sparrow would say:
After our tour we did some random exploring of Edinburgh and climbed up Calton hill to get a birds eye view of the city at sunset.
And then we almost got knocked over by the wind gusts…
so we decided to head back down for an earlier dinner of chicken pot pie at a local pub.
Then we also learned about HP sauce, which does not stand for Harry Potter sauce because it is in no way magical. It is approved by Her Majesty The Queen however.
The next day was our guided tour of the highlands that went to Loch Ness. We woke up bright and early and headed out to meet our tour guide, a lovely man with a thick Scottish accent, before we headed out in a small van with our group of 16 people – which also included two American marines on vacation! So I ended up talking to them most of the way. Making new friends is one of my favorite parts of travelling – don’t be afraid to strike up conversations with the people you come across!
But if I wasn’t already in love with Scotland before this day, I certainly was after the landscapes we saw:
And then we got to the snow. And man did I ever freak out.
I’m just going to flood this post with pictures of snow now, because Scotland is super beautiful and I really can’t pick just one.
We also drove through the area where they apparently filmed Skyfall and our guide played the Skyfall theme. It honestly just looked like a field full of snow, but hey, James Bond was there!
Then we stopped in Glencoe for pictures… where the Glencoe massacre of 1692 occurred in the aftermath of the first Jacobite uprising because the MacDonald clan supposedly didn’t declare their allegiance to William and Mary fast enough. So they were all murdered by people pretending to be their guests.
Soon after we finally arrived at Loch Ness and I ate a sandwich and some Scottish shortbread for lunch before boarding the boat.
And then I saw something amazing.
After the boat tour we headed back towards Edinburgh and on one of our many stops along the way back I made sure to do this:
To finish off the evening our tour guide spontaneously played the bagpipes for us, completing my
day evening life.
When we got back we stopped at a burger restaurant for our last meal in Edinburgh so I just had to get the haggis burger:
Then we headed to bed early before our last morning in Scotland.
We woke up bright and early to see the last thing on our list right as it opened: Camera Obscura. I highly recommend it if you go. It was essentially a museum full of optical illusions and I had a blast! They have a mirror maze just like in the horror movies – what other reason do you need to go?
Sadly, my trip had to come to an end. Scotland has definitely been my favorite country I’ve visited this year though and I can’t wait to go back one day! The people were all extremely friendly, Scottish accents are definitely better than English ones, and well kilts:
Last weekend I went to Provence. But my next trip? Morocco. Then the weekend after that is a two week trip to Stockholm, Copenhagen, and Ireland. So you better stay tuned 🙂
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