Scotland: Edinburgh & the Highlands
Harry Potter fan or not, Scotland is one of the best ways to spend a weekend of your study abroad experience. The quaint architecture, delicious food, cute shops, and the jaw-dropping natural scenery is what in store for you. But don’t take my word for it – our intern Elizabeth Pappous just got back and wants to share her adventures.
I’m here to encourage you to embark on an unforgettable journey through Scotland. Harry Potter fan or not, Scotland transports you into a magical world and you can only hope some of that magic will be used to slow down time to make your weekend last infinitely.
After a magical ride on the high speed train, I was left at the train station to exit through a magic portal (sliding glass doors) to another world, the world of Edinburgh, Scotland. I was greeted by the relaxed and friendly people of Scotland as well as Waverly Bridge. I walked across the bridge to find my way to the walking tour and from there, I walked through the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town. I strolled on cobbled stone streets that had been walked by people from hundreds of years ago, and gazed up the architecture that has lasted so many years. This walking tour included the historic Royal Mile, which connects Edinburgh Castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, and I was in awe of Edinburgh Castle. I climbed the steep steps up to the castle and took a moment to soak in the views of Edinburgh that royalty once had. For me, this was the perfect start to my trip, because I saw stunning architecture, so much greeenery for a city, and how history is the beating heart of Edinburgh.
When the Walking Tour was Over
This was my chance to let myself discover the city for myself. After being given some pointers from the tour guide, I was ready to explore. I paid my respects to Lord Voldemort and walked around the University of Edinburgh campus. I rubbed Greyfriar Bobby’s nose for good luck and learned about his loyalty. I shopped at the local stores for Christmas presents, since it is Christmas year round in Edinburgh, and tried on funny Yak hats. I also enjoyed dinner at the Elephant Cafe and autographed the wall in the bathroom that Harry Potter fans flock to leave their permanent mark in this particular part of Edinburgh’s story. To end my day, I climbed up Calton Hill for a sweeping panoramic view of the city that will dazzle me for years to come.
Oh, what a day Saturday was. I headed for the Highlands and this will be the most scenic drive I will ever been on. I know it! I tried to catch a glimpse of the Wallace Monument, but Scotland felt like hiding the monument in its fog. Oh, the ever changing weather in Scotland! Being from California, I definitely had a taste of seasonal weather. I explored Duone Castle, where I walked through the 100 foot gatehouse and the Great hall as though I was guest there myself. After my visit to the castle, I ate a lunch at Tyndrum, a quaint village, and it was clear this meal was cooked with passion. Next, I saw Glencoe, where I was taken away by the eerie fog and the snow sitting on top of the mountains. I had fun learning at the Clansman Centre, and I had my camera ready at Loch Ness to catch Nessie. However, Nessie was not in the mood for photos that day, but I still enjoyed being at a place I heard so much about. The Scots joked the only way to find her was by jumping in the lake and going for a swim – but there was no way that was happening! Saturday was a day I will never forget, especially with all the beauty that was at my fingertips.
Sunday was another day spent walking through historic grounds. I stood on the Culloden Battlefield, the sight of the last highland charge, and I and some other people attempted to recreate the charge. Our version had a much better ending, one full of laughs! I also took a photo at the scenic Pitlochry, and I ended my tour of Scotland & the Highlands on a magical note by walking the Hermitage Walk, the walk that help inspired the magic of Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
Thank you Scotland, you have given me a lifetime supply of magic.