Welcome to SCOTLAND!
Now, if you’re anything like me, when you think of Scotland you think of this:
Kilts. Swords. Castles. Mountains. Liam Neeson. Stuff like that. And you know what? You wouldn’t be wrong!
There is a distinct beauty to Scotland, that’s unlike any other place I’ve ever been. There’s a mystery in the air (as well as a dampness, it’s true), that makes you feel like you’re stepping back in time a bit. My father (or, as one might say, ‘my da’) is Scottish, so it was amazing to see where half of the ol’ family line had originated.
One of our first stops was Loch Lomond. There, you are greeted to wonderfully eerie misty scenes, and the sounds of bagpipes echoing over the mountains. Okay, technically the bagpipes came later, but you can see for yourself how gorgeous it is.
Given that we were in a rental car and roadtripping the whole time, a lot of our Scottish pictures look like this. And when I say Scottish mist I do mean MIST.
Eventually, after a lot of driving and getting my first ever Scottish Happy Meal, we happened upon a small little village. Well, many small little villages, one of which housed this. YES, it is the Rob Roy Inn, and I took this picture for my mother because she has been a Liam Neeson fan for as long as I can remember and if I did not obtain physical evidence that the Rob Roy Inn existed, I would be disowned as a daughter. (Speaking of which, did you see him in TAKEN? How AWESOME is that movie?!)
We also stopped into Stirling, which is home to castles, a wonderful little shopping center and men in kilts. There was a church service going on, and I saw many a man wandering up the street in full Scottish dress. Some of them were even bagpiping – it was DIVINE. We also stopped into this graveyard (which isn’t morbid at all), and got our historical fix for the afternoon.
You might be thinking that our entire trip was shrouded in mist, but on day two, the unspeakable happened: THE SUN CAME OUT IN SCOTLAND. For hours, even! Here is a house that I saw (and had plans to buy, before Dude decided this was ill-advised). Even my pleas that “we could have chickens!” weren’t enough to dissuade him. Hmph.
Some of you may recall a teeny independent film called THE DA VINCI CODE. Here is Rosslyn Chapel, where Tom Hanks was snooping around near the end of the movie. (For what it’s worth, there is evidence that there is a giant vault underneath the chapel, with no entrance and no exit. Curators won’t allow anyone to excavate, so on my next visit I’ll be sure to bring a pickaxe and chisel.) The other side of the building was full of scaffolding, as it was getting a bit of a facelift.
This brings us to the heart of our trip – EDINBURGH! This place is home to not only J.K. Rowling (HUZZAH!), but also to one of the most spectacular castles ever. This picture doesn’t do it justice, but look for the tiny people at the bottom and you will get some sense of the SIZE of this beast. That hill is enormous and straight up – you can see why enemies had a hard time sneaking up!
Here is the view of the city when you finally plod your way up a billion and a half steps. (Edinburgh is no place for uncomfortable shoes.)
There was even a small cemetery for the fallen dogs of war. *sniff*
The oldest surviving building in Edinburgh is St. Margaret’s Chapel. Here’s the inside – it took forever to get a shot without someone photobombing, this was one of the busiest spots of the castle, and is also home to the famous William Wallace window.
Elsewhere inside the castle, GRYFFINDOR!!
Which brings us to our last stop of the tour. It doesn’t look like much, but it is the small cafe where J.K. Rowling wrote some of Harry Potter. I won’t lie – I totally freaked when I saw it, and Dude had to restrain me from hugging the window. Nothing like a frantic Canadian to freak out the locals.
If you look closely, you can see the HP shout out in the window where it says “Birthplace of Harry Potter’!
Thanks so much for joining me on this virtual tour! If you’d like me to visit someplace else for another blog series, feel free to send me money, jewels, or private jets. *sets out top hat*
Tioraidh! (that’s Gaelic for ‘goodbye’ – and I have no idea how to pronounce it, but the THOUGHT is there.)