Saturday, April 21, 2012

A Scottish Weekend

On March 30th, a Friday, Nate and I got up early and caught the bus to the capital of Scotland, Edinburgh. Taking the bus was the cheapest way that we could find to get there, only £10 per person, but it was a long 9 hour experience that wasn't the most pleasant of memories. We got to the bus a little late, so all the double seats were gone, so we couldn't sit by each other the whole time. There went our plans to sleep, snuggle, eat our snacks together, and watch the movies we downloaded. Nate sat by a huge man that took over the whole seat. Nate said that they were "butt and leg snuggling" the whole time even though Nate was all the way on the edge. The guy next to me wasn't big, but he had the worst manners. He kept on burping and licking his chocolaty and chip fingers, not to mention his BO smell. Half way through Nate decided to switch seats and moved to the back of the bus. It actually got worse, because the people around him were drinking beers and looking at porn magazines! The lady behind me had a crying 2 year old with her, and the whole time she kept on telling her to shut up and that she was a bad girl, (in a Scottish accent.) It was a long journey.....

But we finally made it and we had an amazing weekend together. We stayed at Travelodge for about £10-15 a night which is so extremely cheap. We took so many pictures so it was hard for me to choose which ones to post, but here it goes....Friday night we got there and most everything was closed, so we decided to go see Hunger Games at the theater. It was cheaper than in London and we both were dieing to see it. Of course, it was amazing and we loved it!

The next morning was my favorite part of our Scotland trip. We took a ferry ride to......
Inchcolm Abbey on Inchcolm Island. It was a perfect day with beautiful crisp spring weather. We caught a ferry and rode out to the island in the middle of the ocean. On the way there we saw other little islands. Some had seals living there that were sun bathing on the rocks! The views were amazing with sailboats in the distance. So beautiful. We finally got there and they dropped us off so we could explore the island for a couple hours. Wow. This is what we saw:
The island was beautiful with wild birds living on it. The abbey was open to tour inside as you pleased so we explored through it and were amazed. It is a medieval abbey from the 12th century that looked like an old castle. Monks used to live there and it was also used as a defense location for a period of time. Exploring through it was so much fun. It is still intact on the inside so it was easy to imagine what it was like for those people. There were so many crazy small twirling staircases and hidden rooms. I felt like a small child playing in a McDonald's play land as I ran through the abbey, exploring its rooms and the history behind them.
Saturday night, we signed up for a walking ghost tour of Edinburgh. After getting some Starbucks hot cocoas, we headed for the late night tour. Our tour guide was quite the performer and he told some pretty gruesome stories of things that happened in Edinburgh long ago. The highlight of the tour was exploring through the old underground dungeons while hearing spooky stories of things that have happened there.
The next morning we signed up for an all day bus tour that left at 8AM through the Scotline Tours group. We didn't get back until 8PM that night, so it was a long day but so much fun. We went North up through Scotland and stopped at little towns along the way and at different sites. Our tour guide told us stories of Scotland history, and he was quite entertaining. We saw a ton of sheep and beautiful scenery. Scotland is known for raising sheep and for their lambswool and cashmere scarfs and sweaters. Nate bought two scarfs that were blue and red plaid. We also saw the golden Highland cattle that are only found in Scotland as well as a man playing Scottish music on the bag pipes by a scenic view.

The main destination of the bus tour was going to Loch Ness Lake and the demolished castle that sits on the cliff over looking the water. Scotland is known for Lake Loch Ness because of the Loch Ness Monster commonly known as, "Nessie." It is a belief even today that there is a monster that lives in this lake and some people have even reported seeing it themselves. Some people have taken photographs and claim it is real. Some say it is a myth. Who knows. But this lake is so big that it has more fresh water in it than in all the lakes in England and Wales combined. It is the 2nd biggest lake in the world. Maybe there could be a monster living in it.....I didn't see it though!
After we explored through the castle for a little while, we got on another ferry and rode through the famous lake. I still didn't see Nessie, but I was hopeful! I did buy a cute children's book about the Loch Ness Monster though in the gift shop at one of our bus stops that I am excited to read it to my kids someday.
Here is the main castle in Edinburgh called the Edinburgh Castle. After the bus tour, we walked around the town and the castle. There is a street there called the Royal Mile full of fun shops and restaurants that leads you up to the castle entrance. Thanks to Nate's photography skills, we got a great night view picture.
The next day we bought tickets to tour through Edinburgh castle. Besides the rotten rainy weather, we had a fun time. We were both freezing the whole time though, even with my double coat and sweatshirt on! At 1PM everyday except Sundays and Christmas Day, they fire off a cannon. The one cannon shot tells the town what time it is. It was very loud and I completely jumped and screamed when it went off.
Our tour bus driver from Scotline Tours told us that he recommended us to try 4 different foods while we are in Scotland. This is what he recommended:
 1. Iron Brew Soda Pop. He said it is more popular than even Coke there. Not that good....tastes like cough syrup. Nate liked it though.
2. Shortbread. Scotland is famous for this. They sell it everywhere.
3. Haggis. (Pictures above on the left) A savoury pudding/meatloaf made from sheep heart, liver and lungs. It often times has sheep meat in it as well, along with oatmeal and different spices. It is all mixed together and cooked inside of a sheep stomach. I know. Sounds disgusting. Well, Nate wanted to try it so we ordered some and it was actually not that bad. It is served with mashed potato and mashed turnip. Yes, I did try a bite, but I prefered my vegetarian filo parcel stuffed with veggies, lentils and pesto sauce. :) Haggis mostly just tasted like sausage, but even though I liked the flavor, I couldn't bring myself to eat any more of it after reading up about it on Wikipedia.
4. Deep Fried Mars Bar. You are probably thinking, what? Well, we scouted this one out for a while and finally found a fish and chips place that made them. I didn't know this but Scotland is actually known for eating large amounts of fried fatty food. They fry everything. This restaurant did exactly this. They even had fried hamburgers. Holy fattening. Anyway, the Mars bar was a hit! You feel like you might have a heart attack while eating it because it is so bad for you, but it was really good. They serve it either with ice cream or chips, (french fries.) Can we say, Unhealthy?

Towards the end of our trip, we toured through the Holyrood House which is the Queen's Palace where she lives during the summer months. We had an audio guide to tell us about each room as we toured through it. It was of course brilliant inside with beautiful paintings and elaborate chandeliers and decorations. There is alot of history in this palace, some of which isn't too pleasant. There is a demolished abbey towards the back of the house as well as a beautiful garden area.

We said "Farewell!" to Edinburgh on Tuesday afternoon. It was perfect timing because that morning, there was a huge snow storm! Starbucks hot cocoa was the only thing that got me through the snow and kept us warm. It was a quick morning of mostly just doing laundry at a laundry mat, getting some breakfast, packing up, and getting on our way.

We loved Edinburgh and were pleasantly surprised at how much we enjoyed our time there. Back when he was applying to graduate schools, Nate was also excepted into the University of Edinburgh for their International Business Program, and he debated whether to attend there or at LSE. Obviously he chose LSE and we love it in London, but I think we would have had a great year in Edinburgh as well if that is where life would have led us. Such a fun capital!  Next stop.... Paris! :)


  1. Yay for more adventures!!! I missed you while you were on your holidays (as they say in the UK). So glad you're back and ready to tell the tales.

    LOVE IT!

    1. Glad you liked it Jenessa! :) I love your blog too and keeping up with you. How is your pregnancy these days? Any names picked out?

    2. The pregnancy is finally getting easier as my morning sickness is *fingers crossed* gone. We have 1 girl name we like, but aren't completely agreed upon. We find out what we're having in a few weeks so that will make the name game a little easier.