I have a feeling my posts will start to be a Sunday night occurrence over here. We just got back from a 3-day trip around Scotland. I swear they fit more into this weekend than humanly possible. Thursday we left after our marketing class up to the Highlands of Scotland. At 1:30 we headed out on the national rail for Edinburgh, Scotland. The ride was almost 5 hours, but these trips are amazing because they have brought all 50 of us so much closer. There was not a dull moment on that whole train ride. We finally arrived just in time for dinner and of course we got Mexican food. When we have cravings you can’t just go get a burger, we needed our mexican food. It was delicious, although maybe not native! All weekend we stayed in hostels which was a different experience. They are VERY close quarters, it was not bad since we knew all the girls we were staying with, but it was way different than our home stays. Between the three nights we had rooms of 4, 6, and 8. All of the hostels had a bar downstairs, it is like they cater to college students. After the night on Thursday our tour with Haggis Tours started bright and early on Friday morning. Our tour guide, Dave, and bus driver, Allen, were the best i could possibly ask for. They knew everything about everything we drove by from Loch Ness to Battlefields to the cheapest souvenir stands.
Friday started far too early for anyones liking. Right at 8:30 we headed off from Edinburgh up north towards our final destination of Isle of Skye. On our coach there were 35 students, we had the better bus (obviously) with music blasting and we did not just sleep the whole time. Although we spent so much time on our bus it was better because the scenery was gorgeous! Also, we made so many stops that it really split up the bus time. Our first stop was the Wallace Monument right outside of Edinburgh, this just started our amazing views. Once we climbed the small hill the the top where the monument is we could see over the whole town. Our next stop was in Kilmahog to meet Hamish. Now Hamish we thought he would be a normal cow, but this thing was HUGE and had the most matted fur/hair you can imagine. What made this trip so great was we stopped at all the small little attractions that you would never stop by on your own time unless you had a tour guide. After lunch we stopped along the road in Glencoe over an overlook. Words cannot describe these views, think Denver and Colorado mountains combined with a more scenic view and sheep everywhere. We stopped at the Commando Memorial to commemorate the lost soldiers in battles. This was such an amazing place, we saw a huge monument in honor of soldiers as well as a tribute where people bring plaques and such of their lost loved ones. The feeling here overwhelmed me with joy and grief for those who have been lost. Our last stop was the Eilean Donan Castle which is the most photographed castle in Scotland, it really was beautiful. We then headed to Saucy Mary’s hour hostel for the night. Another amazing hostel right on the Isle of Skye on an island right off of Scotland. With over 60 people on our trip we definitely took the place over.
Although we had a minor mishap in the morning and got off to a late start, we headed off for another day of adventure. Our first stop was the Sligachan River. An old tale with a long confusing history says that in this river if you put your face in the water for seven seconds you will be granted eternal youth, I definitely had to do this to look out for my later in life self! The water was freezing!! Polar plunge freezing. We headed over to Fairy Falls, this is a water fall that the fairy’s supposedly run. If you go to the top of the falls and get a mouthful of water and make a wish and carry it all the way down to the bottom and spit the water onto this special rock your wish should come true. Of course it had rained the night before and the whole place was pure mud we all managed to get up there and make our wishes. We only had one injury and a few muddy pairs of pants. We had a few more picture taking stops and of course a few potty breaks. The scenery in Scotland was amazing, I cannot say it enough. If I did not get motion sick from the crazy bus driving I could have looked out the window for hours. But when the roads are that small and the roads are twisting, I could not look out the window without getting anxiety about us falling off the cliff. We then headed to Morag’s Lodge, our hostel on Loch Ness for the night. After dinner we had a show about traditions of the Scottish in the Highlands. One guy in our group wore the actual kilt that Mel Gibson wore in Braveheart. We saw what they wore and he demonstrated a few weapons for us, jeez these men were brutal! We heard all the stories of Nessie who supposedly lives in Loch Ness and although I love the occasional conspiracy theory I think it is hard to believe that there is really a monster living in Loch Ness. Of course we went and looked for her, but we must have just been there at the wrong time. Or our feet just smelled so she swam away from us.
We left bright and early again on Sunday, too early in my mind. Any day that I can sleep in past nine is a good day in my book. We did a little souvenir shopping and went out to do some calls to find Nessie, but again she just did not show up, who knows why. Maybe it’s because she does not exist? Just a thought. Our bus seemed to always be running late, we just loved to explore so every stop we took was double the amount we were supposed to stay there. So we ended up having to skip a few stops in order to make it back in time for our train back to London. We did stop at Colluden, where the last major battle between the Scottish and British was fought. Our guide was very passionate about this battle, it was moving. I could picture these men fighting and just what it had to have been like. Thousands died in less than an hour when this battle took place. It was so moving. We finally made it back to Edinburgh, smelly, tired, and ready to be home.
I wish that we could have explored more but of course we have a quiz tomorrow to study for. The five hour train ride back to London was not ideal, but I am so glad that we went on this trip. It was a once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget. Now off to finish unpacking and get to bed!
PS. I got my first package from my parents on Monday! Perfect timing before our night class, that candy was devoured in minutes. You never knew what you would miss when you come abroad. I needed ranch dressing, who doesn’t have ranch! Well, Europe. It made my week last week, it was just what I needed to remind myself of home. Now they just need a Chipotle or Blue Door and Europe will be perfect!
Hamish the Coo:
Eilean Donan castle:
Our tour guide Dave!
Got my eternal youth!