This task, like many of the others, inspired me to write on about 15 different things. This is why I post in the morning, I read the task at night, spend a few hours thinking about it before bed, and usually wake up with the perfect answer! So here it is! Using a map as a muse:
Aside from the picture above, all photos in this post will be from my personal collection.
Well, this is obviously a map of Scotland – oooo beautiful Scotland! If I could buy an empty castle in the highlands, I would be the happiest girl in the world! Surrounded by heather in the summer and snow in the winter – perfection! But alas, I’m not a millionaire so I don’t have that kind of cash laying around.
I chose this map because it was the first solo vacation I had ever taken – actually still to this date it is the only solo vacation I have ever taken. I don’t really count my time in Korea, it wasn’t a vacation since it was for work, and when I was there last time I didn’t do a whole lot of touristy type things – a few I hope to scratch off the list this time around! But I digress, let’s get back to beautiful Scotland!
It was a great trip! I took a couch bus tour, which in my mind is the best way to travel! It’s a little more expensive but worth every single cent! I’ll write a whole post on that later.
I arrived in London the day before my tour left – at around 11 in the morning. I didn’t want to sleep right away, so I decided to go on a tour of Windsor castle instead. The next day, bright and early we set out for Edinburgh, which was about an 8 hour drive. An evening even of Scottish entertainment: food, drink, dancers, Robbie Burns (please roll the r’s as you read that!) and haggis. The next day, a tour of Edinburgh castle, plus time to explore the city, a trip to the Royal Britannia yacht and then back to the castle for the Military Tattoo – literally the only time in my life that I have enjoyed listening to bag pipes!
The next day, a stop in St. Andrews – the place Prince William first met Kate, and a nice 2 hour stop to roam freely around. Then off to Braemar for a lunch stop, and a drive by Balmoral Castle – the place Diana and Charles had their engagement photos. We literally stopped on the side of the road in the middle of the highlands to take pictures of the heather, then stopped off at Culloden Moor, a site of a famous battle between the clans. I tried to find my clan’s name in the mix of it all, but it was a rushed visit since we got stuck in traffic so not too much time was spent there. We spent the night in Straphpeffer in the most picturesque hotel I have ever experienced.
Day 3, An early morning stop at the Eilean Donan castle, then we sailed over to the Isle of Sky. Ferry ride, dolphins, beautiful shores. The day also brought us to the Glenfinnan memorial, the site of the bridge from the Harry Potter movies, and to Loch Lomond, which is beautiful! And the rest of the bus ride was filled with choruses of Loch Lomond as our expert driver took us through the twists and turns of Scottish roads. I had never heard the song Loch Lomond before I went, but I could sing almost the entire thing by the time I left!
Day 4: We had stayed over night in Glasgow, and were given a bus tour though the city as we left, but unfortunately we didn’t get to explore the city. We stopped and enjoyed Gretna Green however, the little hamlet where people would run away to elope back in the day (remember Lydia and Wickham from P&P? Jane Austen doesn’t make stuff up!). You can actually still get married there! Then just another long treck back to London!
I flew out the next day, and apparently stood RIGHT behind Ludacris while waiting for my security check at Heathrow airport. I didn’t know until the guy in front of me was all “OMG DO YOU KNOW WHO THAT WAS?!?!?” Since I gave him a funny look when he asked the bodyguard for a picture. Then he had the audacity to be like “Oh you’re Canadian, if it’s not “Justin Beiber” (he did the air quotes!) I guess it doesn’t matter” I literally almost punched him…but I wanted to catch my flight so I decided not to haha.
A few of my favourite photos are below, following the route taken on the map. I REALLY had to limit myself here, I saved all my photos from the trip, which totaled around 900 after the trip was over.