Sunday, March 30, 2014

Around the World .002


Scotland was everything I imagined it to be with its vast green hills and its cobble roads it was almost like stepping back in time. Scotland was never high on my places to see list however when given holidays from my Au Pair position in London and travel plans with my friend had fallen through I was stuck in a position and need to make a decision quickly. I had decided that I wasn't interested in doing a lone trip again having in earlier months been to Paris by myself and spent a large amounts of time sight seeing in London alone. With the help of the staff at STA Travel within a couple of days I had booked my first Tour With Haggis. 5 days travelling around Scotland on a tour bus with an extra night on each end to spend in Edinburgh. 

I had never really been one for Tours before, wasn't really my thing I loved the freedom of being able to plan my own trip and how I time was spent throughout the day. I kept thinking 5 days stuck on a bus with people I may not even like seemed like my worst nightmare, however I was quickly proved wrong and made friends easily. This wasn't actually my first time on a tour, Year 12 at school I did an Egypt trip however I don't feel that is the same considering I was with my friends and teachers. 

Scotland is an amazingly beautiful country with green countryside covering miles of the land that then run in to small little villages and bigger cities. I am kicking myself now that I didn't spend more time in Edinburgh to have the time to explore the castle and the different museums. With the little amount of time I did spend there though I did two walking ghost tours in the evenings as well as a walking day tour the day that I left. The ghost tours by far were the best things I did in Scotland nothing excites more then ghosts and history. Walking around the cold wet and windy streets of Edinburgh we explored the graveyard, the underground vaults and the many hidden nooks of the Royal Mile. These tours are not for the faint at heart and it can become very fully on when you are down in the vaults with not natural light and a limited air supply in some areas. However I couldn't recommend it any higher. The tour companies I used have slipped my mind however if you walk up the high street you have many to choose from. 

The Orkney Raider was a Haggis tour that takes you from Edinburgh all the way up to the northern tip of Britain the Orkney's. We spent 2 nights in Inverness and 2 nights in Kirkwell on the Orkney Islands. The tour includes a night in a castle but due to renovations we spent an extra night in Inverness at the YHA Hostel chain. The Orkney's were my favourite part of the 5 day tour. The Orkney's are a group of islands that are at the Northern tip of Scotland. Not many tours go so far north and this appealed to me great as the Orkney's are know for the 9,000 years worth of history. We visited Skara Brae Stone Age Village which was incredible ruins and beautiful cliffs and views. The Tomb of the Eagles which is a Stone Age chamber that was filled with thousands of human bones and the remains of sea eagles that a farmer found while doing some work on his farm. 

Once we left the Orkeny's we made our way back on to the mainland in the direction of Loch Ness making a stop at beautiful Dunrobin Castle. This castle had spectacular views and some of the most amazing gardens that I have ever experienced. It also has its own trophy heads museum which is housed in the summer house. It houses some of the world's most important archaeological artifacts. Loch Ness was a beautiful sight and listening to all the different stories and rumored sightings I couldn't help but wonder what really does go on in those dark waters. We like so many before us didn't get a Nessie sighting however there is something strange about the Loch though, some sense of mystery. 

Scotland was an incredible place to visit and would highly recommend it to people of all ages and different travel experiences. Though if I was you I avoid the north between September to April if your not a fan of the cold. I found after traveling through Europe this January that I was nowhere near as cold as I was there then when I was in Scotland. 

How many of you guys have been or live in Scotland? Did you love it as much as I did.


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