I mentioned earlier that I was going on a longer trip to Scotland, four days in fact, and indeed I have! A German friend and I woke up early to catch our flight to Edinburgh. Once we landed, we made our way to the city center and the first thing we did was jump right into tourism mode by going up the Scott Monument.
The Scott Monument is dedicated to Sir Walter Scott and has 287 steps, making it a whopping 60 meters high. So, as you can imagine, it was quite an interesting climb. Want to think about the implications of climbing a Gothic-style monument built in the 1800’s? Let’s.
First, spiral stairs:
Second, no proper windows, so you’re definitely dizzy:
Finally, the stairs get narrower as you go up, so much that even I was getting a bit panicked by the lack of space. But, once we reached the top, the views were lovely, so I was happy!
Then, we took a walk up towards Edinburgh Castle. From up there, you can see the lovely building and lawn that inspired J.K. Rowling’s Hogwarts and Quidditch Pitch.
We took a look at the castle as well, but only from the outside. We weren’t particularly interested in spending more money to tour the castle when we could be spending our time out and about in the city.
However, some of what we saw was a bit strange and I’m still not sure what to think of it:
Then, I had a little bit more Harry Potter excitement as we went past The Elephant House, where Rowling started writing the Harry Potter series. So here’s a photo of me being rather excited about this, but annoyed by the wind and ready to warm up somewhere that didn’t have a mile-long que.
We ended up heading to our hostel, cooking lunch for ourselves, and taking a much needed nap before heading out into the dark for a trip up Calton Hill. From Calton Hill, you can see a lot of the city below, and it was especially gorgeous at night.
We spent the rest of the night enjoying Edinburgh night life (indoors, where it was warm, of course).
The next morning led us on a trip to climb up the Salisbury Crags. On the way, we made a very special stop just for me. The destination was a graveyard. Why was I so excited about a graveyard? Well, you see, Edinburgh was the epicenter of the Scottish Enlightenment, which featured a number of prominent thinkers. As an economics student, I am most excited about one thinker in particular: Adam Smith. Thus, I present to you, my little visit to his grave, and my one shoe photo from the trip (yes, really only one this time)!
Oh, and yes, we did go to the crags. They were quite windy so we basically went up a way, took some photos, enjoyed the view, and came right back down to search for a place to thaw our hands.
I really must tell you about the place we found. We saw a little tea room and decided to give it a go. It was straight up adorable inside. The place is called “Clarinda’s Tea Room,” and all of their desserts were made fresh, from scratch, that very day. They also had amazingly tasty soup made fresh, from scratch, that very day.
Oh dear, I think I am perhaps too excited about this tea room. Posting food isn’t exactly something I normally do on this blog, but here is the delicious meal I had….
I had the lentil soup, and my friend had a very nice tomato soup. We shared a pot of passion fruit and orange tea that was equally satisfying. The moral of this story is, if you go to Edinburgh, check out this amazing tea room!
We spent the rest of the afternoon hanging around the city before packing up and heading to the Highlands. We made one quick stop on the way out of town for my friend to take some photos of the Forth Railway Bridge. Here’s a little peek of what that looked like:
So onto the Highlands! We drove up to a little town called Aviemore. It is right by the Cairngorms National Park, which we visited on day three. The night leading up to that day was full of rain. We joke that we were being punished for leaving the city because the weather only turned rotten when we left town.
What do two university students do in a National Park in the rain? It was only logical to grab a few mountain bikes and hit the trails. (No, it really wasn’t logical, but that’s what we did.) So, just to give you an idea of what a soaking wet Lynnae looks like, I’d like to provide you with this flattering visual….
Really though, it wasn’t that bad. I complain, but in actuality I had a really good time. The park was gorgeous.
After our mountain biking adventure we packed up to head to the next destination. By this time, it was raining dismally. We were planning to head to a national park west of Edinburgh, but our plans didn’t work out. What happened is that the road we were going down, the only way to go without a five hour detour, was closed due to a landslide from the excessive rain.
We changed our hostel for the night and the next morning made our way back the direction we came from and just did little things, including enjoying the drive. On the way out, we could see the awesome power of the flood waters coming down the mountains and streams.
One place we took a stop at was the Wallace Monument. It looked daunting from afar and we hiked up the hill to where it was to stretch our legs after being in the car for so long.
The other place we stopped before hitting the airport was Blackness Castle. It was rainy so we just looked around a bit and took a few photos before moving on.
That’s the story of our four days in Scotland! We saw a lot, had a phenomenal time, and it was money well spent. But seriously, go to that tea room.