Our journey from Dublin to Edinburgh started bright and early. I guess technically I should say dark and early, since we had to get a cab to the airport before the sun even came up. Half asleep from the little sleep we had the night before, we threw some clothes on and lugged our bulging backpacks down the stairs of the B&B down to the cab. As we were getting ready to climb in the cab, my brother Brandon randomly got a nose bleed. So there we were, a little delirious and half asleep, just rolled out of bed, Brandon with a tissue stuffed up his nose, all crammed in the back seat of a cab at 4:30 in the morning…I'm sure it was a sight to see. As we were driving, Brandon taps my arm and discretely points to the cab driver who kept bouncing his left shoulder up and down about every five seconds. The cab driver had some sort of twitch. His shoulder twitch almost perfectly lined up with the beat of the music on the radio. It looked like some sort of awkward dance move! We were holding in our laughs to the point where I had tears running out. When we got out of the cab at the airport, we finally burst out laughing. We were already off to an interesting start.
We got on our flight and landed in Edinburgh early enough to still eat breakfast at a little place that Scott used to eat at all the time when he stayed in Edinburgh several years ago.
The city was absolutely beautiful, I'd almost say it was enchanting. Walking up the old cobblestone roads with the castle as a backdrop was so fun. I now understand how J.K. Rowling was able to think up the setting for the Harry Potter books while she was in Edinburgh.
We spent three days in Edinburgh before we toured some other areas of Scotland. The first night, we had dinner at a restaurant called The Last Drop that was in the Grass Market Area, followed by a ghost tour. The ghost tour was actually really cool. They walk you through the city, down into the old underground damp quarters where hundreds of people lived in horrible conditions back in the day. They told us the story about how they had all been consumed by a fire and hundreds of people died down there. Next, we toured the graveyard where there apparently resides one of the most documented poltergeists. Luckily for us, we saw absolutely no ghosts or had no poltergeist experiences on our tour.
The next day, we did a Sandeman's free walking tour that was actually pretty interesting to learn more about the history of the city. We spent the rest of our time Edinburgh exploring the city by foot, and even did a whisky experience tour where we got to try different whiskies.
Our accommodations in Edinburgh were less than par for the course. We stayed in a hostel to save some money so we could splurge a little more when we got back to Paris, but at least we had a place to sleep and shower that was close to everything else.
From Edinburgh we embarked on a three day tour of Scotland that included the Isle of Skye, Loch Ness, and Inverness. We opted to do another bus tour, since we thought it might have been a disaster to try and rent a car and drive on the other side of the road. Tony our tour guide was from Glasgow and had a great sense of humor. Tony and Scott got along great, probably some sort of ginger connection.
There were a few really nice people on our tour bus, the rest were just plain annoying.
Our first major stop of the tour was at the William Wallace monument. Since then, we have been dying to watch the movie Braveheart. It was a pretty steep hike up to the top of the mountain where the monument sits, but totally worth the hike.
During the tour we also got to see lots of hairy coos and tried out the Scottish soda Irn Bru, which is sweeter than any other drink we've ever had.
We also saw lots of castles, did lots of hiking in scenic areas, and did a cruise on Loch Ness where we had a Nessie spotting.
We stopped at Glencoe, which turned out to top our list of most beautiful places we've travelled to. The mountains and valleys were so green, with random cascading waterfalls sprinkled around the mountains. Once again, no adventure would be complete without some sort of mishap. So, before we got to Glencoe, the tour guide told us to be careful when hiking down the slope because it might be a little wet. Well, that was a gross understatement! Scott had packed his sneakers in his backpack which was under the bus with the other luggage, so he only had his sandals to do the hike in. Oh well, how bad could it be? It was bad…very bad. Every other step we took on the hike, our feet squished down into the marsh about two inches allowing muddy, marshy water to freely flow into our shoes making it very slick and extremely uncomfortable. Scott's feet were completely covered in mud and he couldn't take a step,without his feet sliding out of his sandals. He finally took his shoes off and hiked the rest of the way without shoes. On the way back up to the bus we crossed a tiny stream of water where Scott washed the mud out from between his toes and rinsed his sandals. Unfortunately for me, my entire socks and shoes were soaked for the rest of the day, but it was totally worth the pictures We got of the breathtaking views.