When I was a kid, the three countries that I wanted to visit the most were: France, Scotland, and Ireland. A lot of people even know about the unexplainable love I have for the bagpipes. While I still have yet to go to Ireland, it is with great pleasure to report that I finally made it to Scotland! I had a week off and decided to spend part of my February break in Edinburgh after finding a round trip ticket for only 126 euros.
Friday: My flight to Edinburgh left at 12:35 out of Orly Airport. Since it’s a smaller airport than Charles de Gaulle and closer to my apartment, I figured I could get there at 11am. Well, I was completely wrong. Not only was security a mess to get through, but I completely forgot that I would be leaving the Schengen Zone. I waited in line for about an hour in the passport check because there were other flights leaving around that time. I got to the gate as the flight was boarding… Anyways, I finally made it to Edinburgh, went through customs and headed off to my hostel. Afterwards, I walked around the city to get an idea of what I wanted to do while there before heading to my hostel to plan and sleep.
Saturday: The weather wasn’t ideal, so I decided to spend the day visiting the National Gallery and the National Museum of Scotland. When the weather cleared up, I walked around. I ran into a Trump protest, which was pretty cool. I did some more walking around in the New Town, and ended up completely lost. I finally made my way back to my hostel, where I met two French girls, a guy from Québec, and a ton of Irish people. We spent the evening talking, but unfortunately I had to turn in early because I had to get up super early the next morning.
Sunday: I left Edinburgh around 9 am to take a tour of Loch Lomond and Stirling Castle. Our first stop was to Loch Lomond, which was absolutely beautiful. I grew up dreaming of going to Loch Lomond after listening to the folk song as a kid. Afterwards, we went to Stirling Castle. I got the Explorer Pass, which I highly recommend spending on if it’s available, because I spent 19 pounds and got into two castles with entry fees at 14.50 pounds each. After exploring the castle, we made one final stop to see the Kelpies, which are these huge sculptures of the mythical beasts (usually depicted as horses) at a canal.
Monday: I met a Swiss girl, Irina, at breakfast and ended up going on the free walking tours of Edinburgh (by the way, these are amazing ways to get to know a city and operate based off of tips). We met Erin, who is a fellow American, and we ended up spending the day together after the tour. We had lunch, where we tried some haggis, neeps, and tatties (a must when in Scotland). After, Erin split from us for a bit and Irina and I walked around and tried some deep fried Mars bars (another must). We met up a little later and then we went on the Edinburgh Pub Crawl.
Tuesday: We got up as early as we could so that we could hike up to Arthur’s Seat, which is a mountain that reaches 250.5 meters (or 822 feet). I don’t know how we did it, but we made it up there, which was pretty impressive, because we definitely were too exhausted to go up. I’m very glad we powered through, because we got such a beautiful view of the city. Afterwards, I walked to Edinburgh Castle to make use of my explorer pass. I didn’t get to see the whole castle, but I did get to see the Crown Jewels. They were definitely fleurdeLisdye approved (the crown displayed a fleur-de-lis pattern). Afterwards, I got some lunch, where I tried Highland Chicken (chicken stuffed with haggis). After watching the sun set, I made my way back to the hostel so I could pack and relax before heading back to Paris the next day.
What did I learn this trip?: Always be at the airport 2 hours in advance, don’t be afraid to make small talk with people at your hostel, the national animal of Scotland is a unicorn (not Nessie), I still don’t like whiskey, and haggis is delicious.
Well, there’s a nice summary of what I did in Scotland. I hope to go back very soon, because I fell head over heels in love.