I Fell in Love With Scotland
(Seen in photos: (1) View from Stirling Castle, (2) Posing in the Highlands, (3) View from Edinburgh Castle)
“Surrealism” seems to be the theme for this trip, as I cannot believe I am about to type the sentence: “I just returned from my weekend in Scotland.” How cool is that?! Scotland is easily the most beautiful place I have ever been to. Scotland I would have to say is the perfect median between London and Paris, the two other places I have spent time in during this month. Scotland is beautiful and green, and though I do not want to say “slow moving,” because the majority of our stay was spent in Edinburgh, which is the country’s capital, that is the descriptor that comes to mind. The people of Paris is notoriously known for disliking tourists, particularly Americans. This is something that our group absolutely experienced as we rode public transportation in particular. (Examples include: men lewdly attempting to join the conversations we had by telling us in broken English that they too spoke English, and the woman who covered her ears upon entry to the train when she heard us speaking English.) London, on the opposing side, is full of people that are willing to help you at the tubes when you seem lost and are generally of a cheerful disposition. (Note: I’m sure a lot of our issues in Paris absolutely had to do with the language barrier.) Scotland falls somewhere in the middle of all of this craziness. People are not outwardly nasty, nor do they go out of their way to best situate you (not that anyone was expecting this!). It is quite relaxed in the sense that everyone is trotting along the city at their own pace.
Upon arrival, our group went on a tour of the Royal Mile, the busiest tourist attraction in Edinburgh, which is littered with shops, eateries, and street performers. Scotland has a rich and violent history; there is no shortage of ghost tours that take you underground to explore historic vaults that served as anything from taverns to places of refuge for the poor during the 1700s. The tour I went on with friends took us through two vaults that allegedly are home to two, possibly three ghosts (thankfully none of which made any appearances during my time there!)
Throughout this trip, we explored both Edinburgh Castle and Stirling Castle, which overlook the more populated parts of the country and are as beautiful as the view we saw when visiting the Highlands, (the set in which Braveheart was filmed) but in a different way. Perhaps one of the most exciting things we became witness to at the castles was seeing THE Crown Jewels!
Here, there was no shortage of people in kilts, Harry Potter trivia (as we visited both the cafe in which the first book was written, as well as the graveyard Rowling would visit to get inspiration for characters’ names), rainy weather, or perhaps, most importantly, good times. Some of the most notable include touring Loch Ness, though there was no monster (affectionately known as “Nessie” by locals) to be seen. The lake is 23 miles long with gorgeous mountainous terrain surrounding it. The water is stark brown–resembling Guinness before it does water! On the lower deck of the boat we sailed on, radar lines the walls, measuring motion below the boat, and various screens of sonar.
At certain points throughout the trip, I found myself missing London as aspects of Scotland reminded me of England. Though I really have only been in Europe for three weeks, it truly astonished me to have London become the place that I was excited to return to while being on vacation!
However, now I am back and cannot believe I am approaching my final week is this glorious city that I call my temporary home. The age-old adage really is true–time does fly when you’re having fun!