Going into my study abroad trip, I was under the impression that I would be traveling mainly by train and bus. Once in London though, it wasn’t long before I discovered Skyscanner and the beauty of convenient and cheap flights via Ryan Air and Easy Jet. Most of my travel was by plane, Amsterdam by 12-hour bus and finally, Scotland by train. Train travel ended up being the most expensive, but the trip from King’s Cross to Edinburgh moved at a pace that let me enjoy the scenery I was passing, which made it one of the most beautiful trips I went on.
The lush pastures from the English countryside to the Scottish countryside were bright green and full of adorable families of fluffy sheep. The three and a half hour ride went by quickly because of the peaceful scenery. It was easy to read and daydream out the window, watching the landscape change from green to grey as we approached Edinburgh. As I watched the grey green waves crash onto the shore from the train on top of the cliff, I came to realize that this was what I had expected Scotland to be like – in addition to the brogues and abundance of woolen goods. As we pulled into the main station, it started to rain.
From the top of a City Sightseeing Tour Bus I could see the tops of the endless black and grey steeples and spires. The city was pointy and dreary and gave off creepy vibes. The majority of the buildings looked as if they had been charred in a fire and were thick charcoal colored black with a bit of grey in them. This contrasted with the lush greens of the natural landscape. It wasn’t a scary place and the people were incredibly friendly, but it was clear upon visiting how J.K. Rowling and the author of Game of Thrones had been inspired by the city to create the eerie fantasy lands in their best-selling books.
As I was only in Edinburgh for one day, I cut the City Sightseeing Bus Tour short and hopped out at Edinburgh Castle. It was here that I spent most of the day, taking in some of the best views of the city and exploring the mysteries behind the remains of this uncanny medieval city. The castle was full of small museums, including one of the Scottish Crown Jewels, the prison and the armory. It was a truly impressive structure and fit in with the dark and ghostly aura of the city.
For lunch, Ben, his mom, her friend and I went to a traditional Scottish pub, Deacon Brodies Tavern. It looked a lot like the British pubs I had been to, except the menu included a few new options, such as “ Haggis, Neeps and Tatties,” “Bubble and Squeak” and “Cullen Skink.”
With just a bit under two hours left before our train left for London we continued to explore the small Scottish streets – and yes we passed a bagpipe player wearing a kilt! – and shopped for souvenirs in the authentic shops. I splurged on some beautiful and soft lambs wool scarves that will definitely come in handy this fall! It was a wonderful opportunity to explore another part of the United Kingdom and it is so interesting to me how the atmosphere’s of different city’s can be so truly different even just a few hours from each other. Edinburgh definitely stands out as a place to go back to for fantasy writing inspiration, and apparently the golf courses there are to die for as well.
Stay Classy! xx