Scotland was a very interesting experience for me during my time abroad. I took this trip through my school for an extra fee that included train tickets from London to Edinborough, hostel accommodations, and a full guided tour through Edinborough and the Scottish highlands. I’ll start by saying that this was a super fun experience and I am so glad I went on this trip, regardless of the minor complaints that follow this.
Firstly, I did get to take a train out of King’s Cross train station, so the Potterhead in me thought that was pretty cool. I didn’t take a pic in front of the platform 9 3/4 that they had set up there, but at least I got one when I went on my tour of the Warner Bros. studio (a post about that trip went up about a month ago so check that out if you missed it!). The first day consisted only of a four-hour train ride to Edinborough and the first night in a hostel. If I hadn’t been there, none of my friends would have been clean for three whole days because I was the only one who thought to bring shampoo and body wash. I had never stayed in a hostel before, but I figured it wouldn’t be as nice as a hotel, and it wasn’t. It was essentially a dorm for anyone to stay in for a nightly fee so we were in this youth hostel with a bunch of other random people, but at least everyone in my room was from my school program. Our tour guide was a cool dude named Graham who liked to get angry with us, make fun of Americans and our various accents, and he knew tons about the history of Scotland (duh, how else would he get the job?).
The second day, we all piled into a coach bus and travelled 3 hours north to the Highlands stopping at different cool things along the way. I saw so many beautiful Scottish landscapes, rivers, and lakes. I ate some scones and coffee, saw a giant cow, and then we ended up in a small town near the highlands called Inverness. We made a really cool stop at Doune castle, otherwise known as the Outlander castle (it was also used in Monty Python and other films), at I loved that. It was weird that it was just an empty stone castle, and I have not read or watched Outlander so some of the excitement was lost on me, but it was a super cool experience anyways and now I get to say that I’ve been in a real Scottish castle. The next stop was Loch Ness which was so pretty, I opted out of the boat ride there though because I felt a bit car sick from all the hills and the bus ride, but my friends hung back with me and got some fries (or chips) while we waited for the rest of the group to come back. Graham then gave s a demonstration of the clothing and weapons Highlanders used back in the day which was pretty neat. In Inverness that night, my friends and I tried to find somewhere cool and authentic to eat, but we ended up just eating at a restaurant that ironically specialized in American food. So I got a grilled chicken salad and a lemonade.
The last day of the trip was the bus journey back down to Edinborough so we could catch a train back to London that night. We took a few stops again at famous bridges and whatnot and then went back “home” to London. I never knew I would be so happy to have a dorm bed, but sleeping in creepy hostel beds for two nights made me a bit more grateful for it.