Edinbrrrrrrgh and the Highlands

Just this morning I arrived back in London from an extended weekend trip to Scotland. I have an InterVarsity friend, Joe Adams, who is studying at the University of Edinburgh, so it was great to travel up there, catch up with him. I stayed with a friend of his, in a flat of five girls studying at the University of Edinburgh. I took the overnight bus from London on Thursday night, and arrived in Edinburgh around 8:00 a.m. the next morning.

Day 1: I grabbed a cup of coffee, and immediately began touring the Royal Mile. Edinburgh is a gorgeous city, with its old town almost completely composed of old stone buildings. Edinburgh was particularly cold that morning, and it began to snow, so I ducked into the National Scottish Museum and absorbed the Scottish history for a few hours before braving the cold again, and finishing up the rest of the Royal Mile.  I also visited Edinburgh’s modern art galleries, but wasn’t too impressed. Living in London, with museums like the Tate Modern has definitely spoiled me.

Map of my travels this weekend

Day 2: The next morning Joe, Johann (a friend of Joes), and I were up bright and early, heading to Ben Lomond, a 3,196 foot tall mountain near the bottom of the Scottish Highlands. The hike was 7 miles, and an absolutely gorgeous trek, the entire way up. Below is a picture of me at the top. Victorious! After our hike, I experienced true Scottish food: haggis, neeps, and tatties. The haggis wasn’t bad at all, but there were a few interesting crunches.

Day 3: Another early morning, but this time to catch a bus for a day tour up to Loch Ness. It was nice for my legs to have a rest after the big hike the day earlier. On our way up to Loch Ness, we stopped many times for the views, including the breathtaking view of Scotland’s greatest glen, Glen Coe. Scotland is a very orange country, and the leaves are still turning, so the ride was just incredible. I also visited Loch Ness, which I may or may not have wanted to see based solely on this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XCl3tPSgIA.  The bus tour was filled with stories from our bus driver about Scotland’s history, and a lovely “bed time” story about the brutal battles between Highland clans.

Day 4: Monday morning got off to a nice slow start, and after breakfast and a cup of tea, I met up with an Australian fellow who had sat beside me on the bus the day before. He was also travelling through Edinburgh, and when I told him of my plans to hike Arthur’s Seat, in the center of Edinburgh, the next day, he decided to join. The hike up Arthur’s seat was only an hour round trip, but lent a wonderful view of Edinburgh. After the hike I settled into a cafe to get some homework done. I went back to the flat that I had been staying in for dinner, and enjoyed a chatty, laughter filled evening with the Scottish and Northern Irish girls living in the flat. Their hospitality was above and beyond, as they made sure my belly was always warm with tea, and my bed warm with a hot water bottle (my new favourite thing, by the way!) I feel very blessed to have spent a few days getting to know those girls.

Love,

Rachel

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