This past weekend I took my first (definitely not last) trip out of England. It wasn’t a long trip, only a couple of days, and while I was exhausted by the end it really was great.
Thursday night, I, along with 9 other girls, took a train to London and then hopped on a bus that took us to Edinburgh, Scotland. It was about nine hours, but I actually got about 5 hours of sleep, so it wasn’t that bad. The bus ended up getting to Edinburgh earlier than we thought, so we had about two hours to kill. Unfortunately, most everything was closed so we couldn’t sit in a cafe. We stopped at McDonald’s (literally the only thing open) and after some breakfast we wandered around a pretty park and made our way up to Edinburgh Castle.
View of Edinburgh Castle from Princes Street Gardens
The walk up the now inactive volcano was long and steep – Edinburgh is extremely hilly, but we got to get some great pictures and we got to the top before the castle was open so we could rest for a bit. Once we got in the Castle, we were just in time for a free tour to start so we joined that. I’m glad we did, because there was a lot of cool facts that I never would have learned otherwise.
After the Castle, we walked over to St. Giles’ Cathedral, which was very pretty, but you had to pay to take pictures inside. So I didn’t. By this time, we were very tired and our backs were killing us from carrying around our backpacks all day, so we headed to our hostel. The beds were surprisingly comfy and the man running it was very helpful and friendly. After some lunch (the hostel had a bar in it and their food was great!) and pick-me-up naps, we were off to get some dinner. We stopped outside The Elephant Cafe where J.K. Rowling wrote some of Harry Potter. However, it was too small for our group. We ended up splitting up because some of us were still really full from our late lunch and didn’t want to eat very much, whereas others were really hungry. The group I went with stopped at a place called “Frankenstein” it was basically like any pub (a little bit more of a bar atmosphere, though) but everything was Frankenstein themed. It was a little weird, but fun. They had really good bread too. I had an early morning the next day, so another girl and I headed back early and I was in bed around 11.
The second day our group split up again, four of us (myself included) booked a day trip that took us through the Highlands and eventually to Loch Ness. Everyone else stayed in Edinburgh for another day.
I loved the tour – I thought I definitely got more than my money’s worth. I really liked that I could see more than the city and instead see landscapes that I associate with Scotland in my head. Our guide was great, she actually grew up in one of the towns we drove past and she had really great anecdotes about that. She also said “wee” (as opposed to little or small) a lot, so it’s nice to know that’s not just a stereotype.
We saw some absolutely gorgeous places and my pictures don’t do them justice at all. It was really neat to see the contrast between the Lowlands and the Highlands of Scotland.
Loch Ness was equally pretty – it was so weird to me that there are people who live right on the loch. No Nessie sightings, unfortunately, but we definitely looked, haha. I also tried haggis on the trip. Well, it was haggis in burger form. It was okay; really mushy.
After the trip was over, we originally meant to meet up with the rest of the group, but they were eating at a place up a big hill that we had managed to climb at least 5 times over the course of two days and we didn’t feel like climbing in again, especially since our bus stop was closer to where we currently were. So, instead, we stopped at a restaurant and ordered dinner. I got a delicious burger with ginger beer to drink. I’d seen it all over the place in England and didn’t know what it was so I wanted to try it. It tastes like carbonated lemonade. After dinner we got some whisky – what better place to drink it than where it originated, right? I liked it. A little too strong for my tastes (I really don’t like the taste of alcohol), but it was smooth and nice flavors (what they were I couldn’t really tell you, though).
From there we met up with our group at our bus stop and made our way back to London. Some people stayed in London for a little bit, but I was exhausted so I went straight to Bath. It feels really good to be back!
P.S. I’ve been here for a month now – how weird is that?