This weekend, I took a trip outside of London and visited the beautiful country of Scotland. Our first stop was Edinburgh, a small historic town full of beautiful architecture and an abundance of cashmere shops. Edinburgh is a just an hour from London by plane, so we figured it would be an easy, low-stress vacation for our first weekend away. We traveled in the style that any smart and penniless college student would: via budget airliner EasyJet. And of course, I managed to get fined £45 for trying to sneak my oversized and over-the-top rainbow-colored duffle bag on to the plane (tip for future EasyJetters, when they say you can bring one bag on board, they seriously mean *only one bag*).
On our first full day in Edinburgh, we hiked to the top of Arthur’s Seat. It was a relatively short hike (only about 4 miles) and the peak of the mountain was just 251 miles above sea level, but the view from the top was breathtaking. We could see the entire city of Edinburgh, including all the magnificent castles and historic buildings. I’m always down for a good hike, and as far as views go, this was one of my favorites that I’ve ever seen. We were lucky to have such a clear weather day (they’re hard to come by in the UK) that allowed us to take in the full view!
We also ate brunch at The Elephant House, a restaurant famous for being frequented by author JK Rowling as she wrote the first two Harry Potter books. I am entirely unfamiliar with Harry Potter, but it was still cool knowing that such a prolific and successful author sat in the same seats, enjoyed the same freshly squeezed orange juice, and took in the same majestic views of Edinburgh Castle as we did! Also, if you are a Harry Potter fan, you'll be excited to know that the bathrooms are decorated with hundreds of Harry Potter quotes, which are written in colorful sharpies by guests of the restaurant. I did not realize this trend and wrote in bright purple sharpie "Sloane was here," so to The Elephant House I send my sincerest apologies. Also at this delectable brunch spot, Jessa and I had the pleasure of trying Haggis, a traditional Scottish dish. We had no clue what the contents of this food would be, but we felt it was important to try it before leaving Scotland. The Haggis itself is sort of like a creamy meat (sounds gross, I know) and it was actually quite tasty. We later found out, with the help of Google, that Haggis is "a traditional Scottish sausage made from a sheep's stomach stuffed with diced sheep's liver, lungs and heart." So if you need me, I'll be over here never eating anything foreign ever again.
Best mocha yet (for both presentation & taste)!
For our second day in Scotland, Jessa and I had brunch at a cute restaurant named Circus before setting off for a huge vintage fair. I am admittedly a terrible vintage shopper, even though I love and totally support the idea of reusing, upcycling, and sharing garments. I’ve been trying to improve my vintage shopping skills this semester since it is such a large part of the fashion culture in London.
After saying goodbye to Edinburgh, we took a lovely & relaxing train ride to the very northern tip of the country and arrived in Inverness, a small town located on the Loch Ness (the body of water where the Loch Ness monster supposedly resides.) Jessa's family was a part of a clan that lived in this town in the 1700s and fought nearby in the Battle of Culloden in 1746, so we visited the battlefield and found the stones that were placed in her family's honor. We then took a walk to the Loch Ness to try to find Nessie, but as expected, we were unsuccessful.
A stone commemorating fallen members of a number of Scottish clans.
The famous (and unexpectedly beautiful) Loch Ness!
All in all, Scotland made for a fantastic little destination. My next stop is Iceland, so stay tuned for more travel adventures coming soon!