5 years of uni came with a lot of things, sleepless nights, exams, 3 different flats, a grand total of 27 differents flatmates, many memories and strong friendships. One of my friends and I wanted to go to Iceland to celebrate our graduation. However, it was super expensive, and the idea of driving everywhere was not that appealing. So we decided to go to Scotland instead. Scotland is apparently more appealing than Iceland, as another one of our friends wished to join us. The three of us travelled through the East coast of Scotland, from Edinburgh to Aberdeen, for a week in July 2016.
I probably will get in more detail for each cities that we have travelled to. We have covered Edinburgh, Stirling, Perth and Aberdeen, with a day trip to Stonehaven. We had planned on visiting St Andrews, but the (very expensive and long) train journey was threatened by a strike, so we decided to go straight to Perth.
A small note stating that Scottish railway strikes are not like Belgium’s. First, when you have a railway strike in Belgium, no train whatsoever are riding that day. Scotland’s consisted of a group of people handing out flyers at the entrance of the station, but the train was still there (and on time! What a luxury !)
We landed in Edinburgh, thanks to yet another successful flight with Ryanair. I’m not fond of flying, I don’t really care about what kind of flight you have, as long as you remain alive during the stay. Even if the service is what it is, it is the cheapest way to travel, and for such a short flight, I did not see myself complaining. Sure, I’m sceptical about the long flights they start to offer, but we had our return journey to Scotland for 75 euros, quite nice if you travel to an “expensive” country, like we did.
The weather was ok, colder than Belgium at that time of the year, but we were expecting it. A piece of advice : do what the locals do when it rains. It took us a while to understand that they don’t struggle when it rains. They simply shelter themselves and wait until it’s done. Once we did like the Scots, we avoided getting soaked to the skin thanks to a 10-minute downpour and went on our merry (and dry) way when it was done !
Edinburgh is wonderful, such a nice city, and the Scots are soooooooo nice. Very welcoming and happy to help. We spent two days in Edinburgh, we took a hike just outside the city center.
It amazes me that you can get that kind of landscapes when you are still 5 minutes away from the shopping center.
We stayed in hostels in Edinburgh and Stirling, a B&B in Perth and we rented an Airbnb in Aberdeen. It was the perfect balance between budget and comfort, and we would recommand it and do it again for any future trips we might do.
After the first two nights in Edinburgh (and being woken up at 7 am by an actual cortege of bagpipers (I shit you not)) we postponed slightly our train journey to Stirling so that we could see the Queen ! We heard she was there to open the Parliament, and my (taller) friends saw her ! I’m too short to have seen above the crowd, but I was in Her Presence, which I guess is as good as it gets !
Then we travelled to Stirling, to visit the Castle (great, even if I’m not overly fond of castles) and then took the train to Perth, where we all thought this was an amazing city to live in. Amazing open playground for children. I did not take any pictures because I’m not in favour of scaring children by taking pictures of them, but seriously, AMAZING. Where was this when I was 8 ?
After Perth we travelled to Aberdeen, by train again, which was quite expensive. I would recommand buying tickets in advance, as you get quite a good discount ! We rented a Airbnb appartment, which was great and had Netflix (the temptation was great to do nothing else and watch stupid movies 😀 )
Once in Aberdeen, we decided to take the bus to see Dunnotar Castle in Stonehaven. There is a short hike (45 minutes, at snail’s pace) but everyone, from the bus driver to all the people we met on the hike was stunned to see that we had walked there. Seriously, the easiest hike ever. I’m not ever sure it qualifies as a hike.
I will do a longer post on Dunnotar Castle, as it was great and a must-see if you travel in that area !
In conclusion, Scotland was amazing, and I’m sad that we did not get to travel longer there ! The Scotish people are very friendly, and happy to help ! If you look slightly lost in the street, at least 5 people will stop you and ask if you need help. I guarantee it !
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