“Many a man has been hanged on less evidence than there is for the Loch Ness Monster.”
Talking to my dad the other day, he pointed out that it’s been a while since I updated my blog. Sorry for that! There is really no good excuse as I have spent plenty of time watching all six seasons of Parks and Recreation, but somehow it fell to the wayside. So we’re going to rewind over a month to March 31st, when I took a four-day trip to Scotland.
This was sort of a whirlwind, last-minute trip, but one I couldn’t pass up. I had been planning on going to Scotland with my friends over Easter break, but many of them eventually decided against it because they had exams/papers/projects due at the end of the month. However, another friend contacted me and said that a group of them were throwing a Scotland trip together and asked if I wanted to join. Only problem–it was at the same time as my Stonehenge trip. Well they decided that they could leave the day after I got back, so it was on!
Fast-forward to me returning from my Stonehenge trip, emptying my suitcase, repacking my suitcase, sleeping for a bit, taking a shower, then right back on the road. We rented two cars for our group of nine in an effort to save money and time–train tickets are expensive! It also allowed for more flexibility in our travels. Our first stop: the lake district of northern England, since rumor has it that it’s quite beautiful. We had some delays in our start time so we got there late, but we still had some time to walk around and admire Windermere before continuing on our journey. The end destination for the night was Glasgow. We walked around a bit looking for food and just to familiarize ourselves with the area since we planned on exploring it further the next day, but unfortunately the rain ruined those plans. So in the morning after leaving our hostel, we headed up into the Highlands.
The Highlands are AMAZING. It was cold as heck in Scotland and I was unhappy to have dragged the ol’ winter coat out of my closet again (Yes it was March and the winter coat was already put away, Michiganders! Crazy, huh??), but what it lacked in comfortable temperatures it made up for in beauty. As we drove I saw snow-capped mountains (the most snow I’ve seen the entire time I’ve been here!) and big mysterious lochs, each more beautiful than the next. I’m not sure how, but all the lochs look mysterious. They are huge, still, and deep. The water is a dark blue, almost black, with pine-covered mountains that surround them and a permanent mist that hovers above. Everything looks like an oil painting. Did you know Hogwarts was supposedly in Scotland, and that’s where they filmed many of the scenes outside the school? I can see why. Needless to say, they were my favorite part.
Our final destination the second day was Loch Ness, per my request. I have always had a fascination with Nessie, and I recall writing a persuasive paper about her for my ATYP English class in 8th grade! I don’t believe in aliens or Sasquatch and I don’t care to, but a little piece of me deep down holds a childish pinprick of hope that Nessie is real. I don’t believe it, but I hope it. How cool would that be? I think it may be related to my love of dinosaurs and all things unusual. Anyway, back to the story–I got to stay in a hostel along the loch’s shore and then the next day, take a cruise out on the water. The boat was equipped with sonar so you could look for “anomalies,” and I happened to look up at the screen when we were over the deepest point in the lake: 754 feet! With a depth like that, and more fresh water than all the lakes in England and Wales combined…who can say what monsters it could contain? We also got up close to a castle at one point, and overall, I have to say the experience was MAGICAL. I may have had to go on it by myself, but those who stayed on the shore missed out for sure.
Next, we stopped briefly in Inverness before continuing on to a Highland scotch distillery called Tomatin. I can’t say I liked the taste, but it was interesting learning how it was made. And I do feel that it was an important part of Scottish culture that I needed to partake in. Nearby we even saw the railways that they use for the Hogwarts Express! We ended that day at a hostel in Edinburgh, our final stop in Scotland.
A friend had told me how much she loved Edinburgh, and I now see why! What a beautiful old city. The buildings are just so…I don’t know how to describe it. They look unlike anything we have in the United States, and exactly what you picture when you imagine traveling through Europe (if you haven’t been). I was taking pictures that you see someone else post on Facebook and they seem so far away and foreign, and you’re so jealous and filled with wanderlust. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, just take a look for yourself:
Here we saw Edinburgh castle (the outside, not the inside), the Elephant House (birthplace of Harry Potter!), and the National Museum of Scotland, along with general roaming around on the streets. I am sure there is much more to see and do, but that was all the time we had in that wonderful city and country as a whole. The museum had dinosaurs, so the trip was complete. I’m sure my sisters would agree that any vacation needs dinosaurs in some capacity 😉
Oh and for the record, I didn’t understand a word anyone said the entire time. I’m pretty sure the Scots don’t speak English!
I won’t say “until next time” because you can expect a post about Ireland soon