Thursday, December 11, 2014

Travels | Scotland DAY 1: The Highlands and Edinburgh at night!

Hi everyone! I promised myself that this time I went to London for work, I would take more advantage of the fact that I was in Europe and actually travel for fun! (And not just for work!) So my first little trip this time around was to Scotland. I can honestly say my friend Shirley and I just wanted to go on a little trip for fun, but we chose Scotland mostly because it was somewhere close and easy to get to. After travelling there I realized how underrated it is! It's such an amazing country with so much culture and so much to see. I hope you get a taste of it from my post and maybe one day you get a change to go! 

Shirley and I stayed in an adorable Airbnb apartment, which ended up being awesome. The place had so much character, the host was awesome and it had everything we needed. I strongly recommend using Airbnb if your'e going to Edinburgh because there are some amazing places all very close to the downtown core and so much cheaper than a hotel. 

Because our tip was so short (just 3 nights and 2 days) we decided to take full advantage of our first day. We went on a 12 HOUR TOUR. Yes, that's right, 12 hours. Sounds daunting, but it was recommended to me by a friend and I'm so glad we did! It took us all throughout the Highlands all the way to Loch Ness. Our tour guide explained that millions of years ago when the earth's plates shifted they created large masses of land and mountains now known as the Highlands. They're some of the most breathtaking mountains I've ever seen. There's so much history about the Highlanders and the country. And so much conflict between them and the Lowlands! I found it all fascinating.

Our first photo op was at Loch Fala. We learned that in Scotland many people in the country speak the ancient language Galic (similar to Gaelic in Ireland). In that language, Loch means Lake, so they refer to all lakes as "Loch ____". This first lake wasn't among the biggest, but it was surrounded by amazing scenery as you can see in the picture above. 

The way the mountains are laid out are like no other landscape I've ever seen. There's SO MANY of them. These are the mountains of Glencoe. There was a super dramatic and violent story about these mountains involving the different clans of the it. LOL. 

Standing right in the middle of those mountains was such an amazing experience. You realize how small we actually are in the grand scheme of life. And you learn just how much of the world there is to see. It reminds you that there's so much more to life than just where you live and what's around you. 

After Glencoe, we stopped at the extremely small town of Fort Augustus. It was so beautiful and quaint. Driving through that town was so surreal. I couldn't imagine living in a place so small, and seeing all that gorgeous scenery everyday. They're literally surrounded by the mountains, trees and so much water. 

We stopped for a quick lunch in Fort Augustus before we got on a little Cruise of the oh-so-famous Loch Ness.

On the Loch Ness cruise, we learned the Loch Ness is the largest lake in the UK being 23 miles in length. It also has more water thank all of the bodies of water in England combined, as it is 340 meters deep!

Cruising across the Loch Ness is breathtaking. It's so tranquil in an almost eery way. We got to see different perspectives of the lake through sonar, which showed us how deep the lake really was. They also showed us sonar depictions of massive animals they couldn't identify, because they were so far deep under the water. 

As for the monster? It seemed like most people who live in that area believe that something once did exist there, if it isn't still alive. Because Loch Ness was once part of the ocean, many people believe that it's very possible that an unknown species could have gotten trapped when the land was rising. In fact, MANY unknown species DID get trapped, and the Loch Ness has it's very own ecosystem to prove it. So what if some massive monster-like creature got trapped in the lake as the earth was rising and creating the lake? It's possible people! 

As we drove on there were many monuments to see. This was one of them, a monument to commemorate soldiers who fought and gave their lives from 1939-1945. It's called The Commando Memorial. 

After the tour we decided to go for a night on the town in Edinburgh. It's so beautiful at night! There are so many cool restaurants and bars. The whole is surrounded by beautiful scenery, whether it's greenery or historical landmarks like the one in the picture above. 

Edinburgh is apparently quite the tourist destination! It was so busy we couldn't find anywhere to eat without a reservation! We ended up going to a Mexican restaurant (in Scotland, weird I know haha). It's called Chachalacas and it was DELISHHHHH!

Last but not least, we made sure to hit up Bramble Bar! We found out that it was one of theTop 50 Bars in the WORLD! It was recommended to us by one of Shirley's friends and we can totally see why it's so highly rated. It had a great atmosphere, great music (underground hip hop..MY FAVE!), a live DJ spinning with REAL VINYL RECORDS. And oh, did I forget?! The cocktails tasted amaaaaaazing. You could literally taste the layers of flavour, that's how good they were. 

Needless to say our first day was amazing and we made use of pretty much the full 24 hours!! I'll be posting the second part of this post very soon, so look out for that! Until then, let me know where you'd like to travel in the comments below!

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