One of my goals once I came to the United Kingdom is to go to all the countries that are part of the Great Britain. Which means that I have one year to go to Wales, North Ireland and.. Scotland, chosen to be the first one.
Edinburgh (aka “Edinbrah”)
After a 10 hour bus trip from London, Edinburgh appeared with a cold, cold morning before the sunrise. Going to the Old City and walking around such an inspiring place gives you several inights: the Britain can be an island, but it does not mean that such a small territory has the same culture, habits and characteristics all around.
First and foremost, the Scotts’ accent. It is way different from the Londoners’, with stronger “R`s” and very rhythmic. Also, the landscape, with hills and fields.
Castles. Graveyards. I like them both.
In fact, one of the highest points near Edinburgh is Arthur`s Seat, which was previously a volcano – but it has been out of activity since Ice Age. Nowadays, it is a perfect place for hiking, accessible through different trails that I would classify as medium level. In one of those surprises that only happen in a trip, there was this lovely dog… A blind dog. Going up the mountain with her owner, a lovely old lady – both faster than me, obviously.
Up there, I did it! And the view is just fantastic.
Stirling was granted as a city only in 2002, which makes it the newest one in the country. Well, regarding history, it remains as one of the oldest and most important places to the Scotts. On Stirling bridge, the Scotland was reconquered from English domination. It is a bucolic romantic picturesque place, with several B&B options, and definitely worth visiting. Just 2 hours away from Edinburgh.
William Wallace monument (after an easy level 20 minutes hike), graveyards, castles (again) and the beheaded stone, placed in a high place and protected by a cage so that crazy people don`t use it for such purposes
As you can see, I am lucky with the weather.
Loch Ness: the Highlands
If I had enough time, I would spend more days in the very north of the country. This is where the mountains, nature and untouched places are. For just only a day, a walk around the Loch Ness and a visit to the ruins of the Uhquart Castle were enough. Yet, I could not spot the monster.
Yes, there will be Haggis! #FOOD!
Haggis is “a savoury pudding containing sheep’s pluck (heart, liver and lungs); minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, and traditionally encased in the animal’s stomach and simmered for approximately three hours”. Thank you, Wikipedia, I could never provide a more accurate description of this black-delicious food, which I had every single day there. I am definitely not picky with food, as you can see.
Haggis covered by dough with beer sauce. Perfect with a pint, after soaked by an annoying rain.
What to say about the traditional Scottish breakfast other than just similar to the British one, adding… haggis?
Yummy! Perhaps haggis again!
Although the Scotts voted “No” (with a strict difference, I know) to be out of the United Kingdom, it is relevant to point out that there are a lot of “Yes” everywhere. Flags remind you that they are not under the English law, they have autonomy and they see themselves as a nation. They have their own parliament, their own laws, and proudly state their independence.
As stated in the Declaration of Arbroath:
…as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom – for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.
…As it is written on the walls of the National Museum of Scotland