A Step into a Storybook

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This past weekend I got the chance to travel to Scotland and it far exceeded any expectations I had. I went with a couple of friends and we stayed in a hostel in Edinburgh (my first time in a hostel, it was a good experience). The city was very hilly, which I was not expecting because I am so used to the complete flatness of London. It made for great exercise having to walk up and down everywhere and was a welcome change of scenery. The buildings were so old and medieval looking and so many of the roads were cobblestone, which I loved! There was such an old-timely, slow-paced feel to Edinburgh, it was dreamy, I literally felt like I stepped into a storybook or a fairytale.

Some of the highlights from my two days in Edinburgh:

1. The Castle. Oh my gosh, I would live in it if I could. It was more of a fortress situated on top of cliffs above the rest of the city. And once you got inside it was like its own little village with many separate buildings rather than one big building with many rooms. The walk leading up to it is very intense, I could just imagine knights riding up the hill on horseback way back in the day.

2. The Bagpipes. There were a couple of men all dressed up in the traditional Scottish outfit with the long socks and kilts and they were playing the bagpipes. It was exactly what you would picture when thinking of a Scottish person. Because the main city was so small, you could hear the bagpipes from wherever you were, it was the perfect background music and just made the stay a little more special.

3. The food. We decided to try to go to some more Scottish-style restaurants so that we could have fitting meals. I had amazing mashed potatoes and chicken at a locally run mash bar, they were the best potatoes I have ever had. For another meal I had a steak pie, also delicious and very different than what I would usually order out. Pies are very big in Scotland, so I felt authentic having one for dinner!

4. The market. I’ve been trying to hit all the markets in London, as they’re my favorite thing here, so I had to seek one out in Edinburgh too. There was this small food market away from the city center where I got the BEST pastries and bread. I tried a Scottish version of caramel fudge called tablet, along with shortbread and a white chocolate rocky road bar. All three were made by the same older Scottish lady and were so good, I wish I had gotten the recipes so I could try to replicate them.

5. The hike. There’s a popular hiking spot that overlooks the whole city and the ocean. By some miracle, the weather for Sunday turned from cold and rainy to warm and completely sunny, so we made a last-minute decision to do the hike at sunrise. This was the best decision because the view mixed with the colors of the sky was just breathtaking. But even better, the moon was visible opposite the sun, it was a full moon that day just glowing in the sky. I would say it was even prettier than the sun and a total surprise to us when we saw it.

We also did a day trip up through the Highlands to Loch Ness. The mountains were just so picturesque and indescribable, like nothing I’ve ever seen before. The same with Loch Ness, the water was dark and warm, but the atmosphere was just magical, I think it is one of those places you have to go to yourself to truly understand. The day we went was very sunny and clear-skied, our tour guide told us we were very lucky because it was usually misty and foggy in the Highlands and the mountains weren’t as visible. Our views were amazing, we literally could see the clouds coming through the mountains, they felt touchable as we were so high up.

The whole trip felt like a dream. I think Scotland is one of those places that a lot of people want to go to but never end up making it there. I’m so glad I got the chance to experience it as it is so unlike anywhere I have ever been before and I would recommend anyone to go experience it for themselves.