September is my favorite time to travel. There’s an autumn feel in the air. If you travel to Northern countries – it’s a little windy, it’s not too hot and not too crowded anymore. If you travel to South, you get to prolong your summer and again – no crowds. So, you might see why I like September travels.
Last year I got to visit Scotland. I had never been there, so I was excited. Since we had only couple of days there, we decided to see Edinbrugh and then take a day trip up to Highlands. Edinbrugh is said to be an unofficial capital of Scotland and Highlands… Well – we just LOVE to be in nature and it was such a great idea.
On the afternoon that we arrived, we walked around the Edinburgh, found our Airbnb place and then went to Grassmarket. It used to be the town main gathering place, right below the castle. It was a market, it was an execution place where the hangings were done and it was a lodging place for travelers.
It’s also a place for a pub, called The Last Drop, which is in reference to hangings there. It was recommended for us to definitely try out the national Scottish dish – Haggis. It’s minced meat (it used to be strictly lamb or sheep pluck, but we heard that nowadays it can be anything really) that is mixed with oatmeal, onion, suet and seasoning. In the old days they used an animals stomach to boil it, but we’ve progressed from that… The description probably doesn’t seem too appealing, but to be honest – it was delicious. Of course, on the first day we also drank whisky. You can’t avoid it if you’re in Scotland!
So after our wonderful meal and a good night sleep, we decided to go for a run in Arthur’s seat, since we were living right next to it. It was a win-win – a workout and a tick for one of the places to see. It wasn’t an easy run up. It can get quite steep. Some parts we climbed more than ran, but it was worth it. If you get the chance – definitely hike up there! It’s a nice view over Edinburgh.
After that, we had decided to go to see Hollyrood neighbourhood and Palace of Hollyroodhouse. It was a bit grey and raining, so it seemed like a perfect idea. And I have to say – I was glad we listened to the suggestions that said you can actually skip Edinburgh’s castle and head for the Hollyrood instead. It’s a palace where the Queen stays when she’s in town and boy, was it fancy. You can’t take photos there and it was actually a great experience… We forget how it is – just to walk around and look at things, instead of taking pictures to look at later. At entrance you get an audio guide and you can listen to it as much or little as you please.
As we were exiting the palace, it seemed like the sky had cleared a bit, so it was perfect to got and see Greyfriars Bobby – Scotlands most famous dog who stands for real friendship and companionship until the very end.
And not far from Bobby, you will find a coffee place where you will always find ques and be prepared to share your table with someone at The Elephant house. Why? Because there are many Harry Potter fans out there and they all want to see the place where J.K. Rowling had her ideas and her napkins to write the first book about the little wizard. It was a nice place, nothing super fancy and if it wasn’t for the writings on the walls in bathrooms and pictures of the author, you wouldn’t know it’s a place where she had the idea of Hogwarts and the events there, but it’s a good vibe and a great tea and coffee.
It was a BEAUTIFUL day and sun was out, which doesn’t happen too often. So, we decided to head for Leith. We decided to grab a coffee on a go and then go to Roseleaf restaurant for breakfast. Like, real Scottish breakfast. And we did not regret the long walk there. It was super quiet, bceuase it was early and we ordered toast with bacon and eggs and real English breakfast whith toasts, cooked mushrooms, baked beans, eggs and bacon. We were so full and so happy. I am seriously considering changing my profession from fitness trainer to a food traveller. If you got any suggestions – I am all ears!
In Leith we were thinking about visiting the Royal Yacht Britannia, but I am not a big boat fan, so we just had a look from the outside and headed back for Edinburgh city center and visited the National museum. Did you know it is free entrance to all? It was great. We went there just to get on the roof of the museum and see the view on the city from there, but it turned out it was super packed with lots of interesting things to do and I think kids would love it, because it was very interactive.
Oh, and I went shopping at T.K. Maxx and ate a lot of scones on that day too… Best part!
This was our last day in Scotland so we went on a Highland tour to see Luss, Loch Lomond, Oban and Invararey.
Luss was great little town with a very old feel to it. We didn’t have much time to see it, but it was good to walk around and just to stretch our legs and see Loch Lomond. Those who drink whisky – you might know that there’s a brand by that name. It’s made there.
What I liked the most on our trip, and where we had the most time, was Oban. Some people chose to visit whisky distillery that they have there, but we decided to go for a great fish food, since the city is right by Loch Linnhe. We headed for the Waterfront Fishouse restaurant. And man, was that great. If I was a food blogger, I would flood this with food photos. We had fish and chips and mousless and it was all freash and tasted amazing. In conclusion – if food is great – I’m a happy traveller.
And we finished our trip with Invararey. It was a tiny town and we had only about an hour there, so we just grabbed some coffee, scones and went outside to enjoy some sun. I truly think that Scots are extra tough when it comes to weather. It was a sunny day, but it wasn’t warm. We had long sleeved sweaters with thin coats over those and we were ok, but people in Invararey were dressed in T-shirts…
As we wanted to make our way back to Glasgow and Edinburgh, we were told that we have to go back on the same road we came there, because they don’t have too many roads in Highlands and if one road closes that that’s it… And the one road that could’ve taken us back through different scenery was cloased due to a motorbike crash. But be prepared that this can happen and your guide will warn you. By the way – soeaking of guides – the guy spoke perfect English and asked us to tell him if he starts to go too fast or starts having a Scottish accent too much. Everything was fine until he spoke to his fellow Scotsman, a police officer who told us we can’t continue. I swear, it wasn’t English they were speaking in… I understood only “ok”. All other words were unrecognizeble to me. So beware.
Overall I loved Scotland. I believe that real Scotland can be enjoyed outside of the big cities, but there’s a lot of charm in them too, so see everything, taste everything and enjoy everything.
And definitely – drink up!