For a full list of my travel adventures, click here.
This past weekend, I ended up hitting the road… literally, as well as figuratively. Inspired by one of my roommates, I spent the long weekend in Edinburgh, Scotland (we had Friday off, and as if there is any other Edinburgh… it’s going to be one of those nights of writing I think… I blame the presentation I have tomorrow at 9am!)
On Friday, I took the train up with a few friends and spent the afternoon wandering the cobbled streets and tucking into pubs. Edinburgh was touted by a man on the train as one of the top three most beautiful cities in Europe, and despite the bitter wind and grey tinge in the entire city, I can absolutely see what he meant. The architecture was absolutely breathtaking, medieval and stark, and all of stone. It was a cold city, both in temperature and culture: the pubs are the place to tuck into to meet the Scottish, but the streets call to mind scarves and wool sweaters.
One of my favorite parts of the trip was pub crawling each day. We ate breakfast in pubs, lunch in pubs, and dinner at restaurants, with drinks at the pubs afterward. The food was amazing, ranging from the rabbit and chorizo stew I had on Friday night to the haggis on Saturday morning and the “Loch Lomond Monster Burger” on midday Sunday. Scottish Ale reigns king, with a variety of local beers available everywhere; it seems hard to find local beer in London, but it’s plentiful up north.
In the city itself, we spent a lot of time touristing, but had the pleasure to take in some local eccentricities, such as a street performer, a ghost tour, and a stop into Frankenstein bar. We ascended Edinburgh Castle to admire the Scottish crown jewels, and walked the Old Town from top to bottom, including a few closes between streets, which are eerie and distinct in my mind. Particularly rewarding was James’s Close, depositing us at the Jolly Judge, a pub so nice we visited twice (rhyming on top of it all!).
Sunday, I rented a car, took to the “proper” side of the road, and trekked a group of friends up to the southern Highlands. It sounds a bit strange, but Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park is the farthest south of the Highlands, falling partly on the Highlands fault line. It was winding roads, huge lakes… er lochs, and leaves in every variety of the autumn wardrobe. To cap it, we saw termination dust (early high altitude snow) and our turnaround point was a random inn with the most amazing ambiance and sticky toffee pudding I’ve ever had (actually, I’ve never had it before, but it was eaten so fast that I didn’t get a picture).
Scotland then, was cold, but warm. Cozy foods, flavorful beers and relaxing company. It was a brilliant holiday, leaving me with a desire to not come back, even though coming back is London. Oh, and I forgot to mention that it’s literally impossible to avoid bagpipe music in the city… what’s not to love about that?