As part of my time out over the past few weeks, before going ahead with my surgery, I landed up in Scotland twice. The first, a girls’ city trip with my Italian bestie to Edinburgh for a few days, then a tech free week away a few days later with my wonderful partner. They were both very different trips, both extremely enjoyable and very much needed. Scotland is somewhere I developed a huge love for last year on my first ever trip there, and have been dreaming of going back for the months ever since. It was never somewhere I had thought of going to for a holiday, but now it is actually somewhere I would one day love to call home. I have never felt so relaxed like I do there, completely in awe of the beautiful scenery, yet feeling very much familiar with the surroundings and comfortable with the life. Seeing as they are technically both in the same place, I thought I would include both trips into one post, to show the similarities and differences, as well as why you should visit both for very different reasons.
Everything about it makes me smile. The breath taking scenery, amazing wildlife and a much more natural approach to life.
Edinburgh was the first stop for my long time spent in the beautiful place, and I was so excited as I had wanted to go for such a long time. I had heard so many things about its unique beauty and spectacular history. I had very little expectations on arrival, as I only had images that I had made up in my mind of what people had said and had left most of the planning to my friend. It took us a few hours to get our bearings and get to know the city, but to be honest, we felt comfortable very quickly. It is a much smaller city than I had anticipated, with everything being within walking distance between the old city and the new. There is so much to explore within the area and so many amazing things to know about the history and how it has made Edinburgh today.
The new city is everything that you would expect from a capital city that wants to thrive and make a name for itself. The buzzing atmosphere, an amazing shopping experience and little touches of Scotland make it the perfect area to relax and indulge in some major retail therapy. It is the perfect area to enjoy the views of the city, appreciate the architecture and make the most out of the wonderful galleries and museums. A favourite part of mine was the incredible view the castle, which could be seen from all around the new city.
The old part of the city is a mere 5-minute walk from the new city, where most forms of transport will get you to from your journey. We booked our accommodation in the old city, purely by coincidence, and we were so happy with where it turned out to be. The hotel was situated on the main street the travels down the whole length of the town, names Queens street. At one end you have Parliament, followed by the Queens palace, up the street towards all the attraction and right at the end the castle. During our trip we visited a few museums, went underground and explored inside the enormous castle. When we went underground we did a tour at ‘The Real Mary’s Kings Close’ where we went underground to see where people used to live over the years of the Black Death. We had a really good tour guide who took us around the whole area and told us so many little stories from the rather dull and unsanitary times. Whenever doing trips like these, I am always so amazed by the history and it makes me appreciate the world we live in so much. It takes looking back very often just to remember how lucky we are to be here now, despite some things going on.
The castle was obviously a trip that had to be done. We left it until the end of our time there, as we wanted to go and spend a few hours. The easiest way for us to learn about the castle was by using the audio guides. I love these ones that take you around and give you a little direction, with all the small facts and information. There were so many things to see inside, such as where they shoot the cannon, the uniform museums, the smallest chapel and residence for the different people who would once have lived and fought within the castle. It was so much bigger than I had realised, and the view was something else. It was the perfect end to the trip.
The Scottish Highlands
The second part of my time in Scotland was spent all the way up at the top – a ten-hour drive from Bristol. I went to the highlands for the first time last summer, and have been craving a trip back ever since. We stay in a beautiful little cottage in somewhere called Onich, about a 20-minute drive from Fort William. It is a very long drive, but worth every single minute.
Fort William is very well known for walking – which I was actually quite looking forward to. This was until my beloved partner decided it would be a good idea to do a 21 mile walk the day before we left, where he managed to damage his knee. So, walking was off the agenda unfortunately. However, we were still determined to spend as much time outside as possible and enjoy the Scottish air. There is always something about it there, where everyone just seems so much closer to nature and life is just a little easier and simple. I just want to spend all the time watching the lochs and driving around in the mountains, being constantly astounded by the views.
The first day of our trip we landed up in our favourite little place called Oban, about an hours drive from our cottage. It is a gorgeous little town, with a few shops and a promise of a very good day in terms of food. We walked around, looking in the local shops and stopped for some lunch in our favourite fish and chip shop. Honestly, it is the best fish and chips I have ever had…My mouth literally waters whenever I think about it! After another little mooch around we then went to the most incredible chocolate shop, where they do the best hot chocolates and milkshakes, as well as the best selection of chocolate treats! I think it’s safe to say that we consumed a lot of calories on this day. The great thing for me though, that apart from one evening, we were able to cook a meal every night. I love cooking, and enjoy making a lovely meal and enjoying it in front of the fire with my babes.
During the trip we also visited the sea life sanctuary, where they have resident Seals, an Otter and it is also a Seal hospital where they take care of pups who have been abandoned and in need of looking after. We spent the time enjoying the aquarium, watching the animals get fed and obviously learning about the other wildlife that Scotland has to offer. We saw a lot of other wildlife whilst we drove around, including highland cows, deer, sea life and birds. I get so mesmerised when I see the wildlife and it makes me feel so relaxed and happy. This is all on offer by just driving around, stopping occasionally and keeping an eye out constantly. You really do never know what is going to be there next.
The highlands to me is all about enjoying the nature, having a proper rest and totally switching off from life back at home.