What an incredibly beautiful country. For most of this adventure, I couldn’t believe that what I was looking at was real. One after another, there was absolutely stunning mountains and lochs as far as you could see. I knew Scotland was going to be a lot of country side, but I certainly did not expect such splendid views. If you follow me on Snapchat you would have gotten an excellent trip vicariously through me (not to toot my own horn or anything).
I started my trip Thursday after class with Ashlen. Shortly before we left, I finally got a chance to figure out the transportation for this trip. The public transportation would have been an arm and a leg to not see everything we wanted, so from my buddy A.J’s suggestion, I rented a car.
Ashlen and I got through security at the airport and were waiting at the gate when a gent that lived in Scotland behind us overheard us trying to plan where we were going to go. He gave us some recommendations for driving and answered some questions we had. We got on the plane for a 40 min ride and landed with no problem.
As soon as we walk into the airport I did that tap on my legs and jacket pockets making sure I got everything off of the plane. That’s when I realized I didn’t have my wallet. Queue a very frantic Sy ripping his backpack open and peeling layers off to try and find it. My first thought, after shiiiit, was I can’t rent the car because I don’t have my license. So I had to cancel my car rental which cost me £50.
I told myself to just not worry about it and enjoy this new country while I can. So I make a few calls to the Dublin and Edinburgh airport and then left the airport. We took a bus through the medieval looking city to our hostel where we set our stuff down to go grab some pints while checking out the nightlife. I ended up finding a new vehicle that Ashlen put under her name for a decent amount more, but it was certainly worth it in the end.
The next morning we get up bright and early to meet Mycayla at the airport and grab a vehicle. I checked on my wallet at a few locations, but had no luck so we went to get the car. I had the girls off to a pretty shaky start in believing my driving capabilities when I couldn’t get the car to leave the rental parking lot. But after a minute or two of frustration/ confusion, I released the parking brake and we were off!
Our first stop was Loch Ness. Friday was the nicest day we’ve seen since we have gotten to Europe and we soaked in the views. We ate a little cafe and then did a short hike in the woods by Loch Ness. I really wanted to go say wuddup to Nessy but she didn’t come out. In hindsight I should have stopped at least once along the half hour drive along the loch, but we were so in awe of the views and ready to just keep going that we didn’t get many pictures. I didn’t get nearly as much as I would have liked to on this trip because I was driving, but the girls got some great photos.
From Loch Ness we went to Oban to catch the sunset then to Fort William for the evening. Ft William didn’t have much of a night life for a Friday night, but had much cheaper drinks compared to Dublin (€3 vs €5). I’ve found that I compare my spending money to how much it costs in pints.
We hit it early on Saturday and drove to the Isle of Skye to see the Fairy Pools and Neist Point. Saturday was your classic rainy and cold Scotland weather. The sights were still incredible, but it was damn cold during our hikes.A majority of the driving in the Isle of Skype was very narrow and windy single lane roads. If a car was coming the other direction you had to figure out who was going to pull over and let the other vehicle pass you. I also had to stop multiple times for sheep and goats just hanging out on the road. On one occasion, this sheep was immune to the sound of a car horn so I had to roll my window down and “baaa” quite fiercely to get it out of the road.
So we got to the Fairy Pools and bundled up for the rain. The girls didn’t have hiking boots or an actual rain coat so they got soaked. But I stayed relatively dry. We were expecting the Fairy Pools so be actual standing pools of water with like rustic tress around them and such but it ended up only being one long stream. It was raining heavily so the water was rushing fairly hard, so there was no actually still water for “pools”. We met a cool group of guys from all over the world on the hike and they informed us that the stream was in fact the Fairy Pools. They also said that we should drink the water because it is some of the purest in the world, and they weren’t wrong. It was some of the best tasting water I’ve ever tasted. Mycayla and I made it to where the mountain started to escalate quickly and decided to head back.
From the Fairy Pools we headed toward Neist Point. We stopped at the only open cafe in the town for lunch that only had 3 baguettes left, what are the odds! Neist was extremely windy but totally worth the veiws. There was a ton of sheep at Neist and the girls actually fell on the hike and landed in a fresh pile of sheep turds.
We drove to Sky’s other coastline then down to Broadford to our hostile. Portree is the biggest city in the Isle so we drove a half hour to get there and didn’t find much. We went to a subpar restaurant, but it was the cheapest one they had. We got back to the hostel and asked where to go for a pint. There was only one open which consisted of about six people other than us, on a Saturday night!
We got up early and I finally got a hold of someone at the Dublin airport about my wallet after trying to contact someone for a the past two days. They informed me that they had my wallet which made me incredibly relieved. I’m a firm believer in everything happening for a reason and looking back I wonder why I wasn’t supposed to have my wallet for this trip.
We headed down towards Edinburgh and saw a little different set of views coming back down. We almost took a ferry from the GPS’S suggestion across an inlet by Skye but it didn’t run until 16:30. So we back tracked a bit but still got some good pics out of it.We drove through Loch Lomond National Park and it was also stunning. I enjoyed Loch Ness better just because it was much more open, but Lomond was still amazing.
Our last destination before dropping the car off was Stirling castle where a good chunk of Braveheart was filmed. It cost €12 to get into the castle and we were on a pretty tight schedule to see Edinburgh so we just took some pictures of the outside.
We returned the car and headed back to our first hostel by the Edinburgh castle. I left the girls to go to the Scotch Whiskey Experience and it was so cool! There was a room with over 3,000 bottles collected from one man. I met some Asian girls that were very talkative and they let me offered me their samples of whiskey, which I obviously couldn’t say no!
We checked out a few pubs including an Irish club with some live music where we met an older Scottish couple. The girls talked to the mom a decent amount while I was talking to the dad but man, he had a few in him and it was sooooooo hard to understand him. I asked him to repeat himself a solid 20 times in our 45 minute conversation and most of the times after he did repeat himself I still didn’t know what he said so I resorted to a mildly strong chuckle with a head nod. I tried a Guinness to compare to Ireland and it was definitely not quite as good.
After we finally left the pubs, we got a solid four hours of sleep and headed back to the airport. When we landed in Dublin, I headed to the police station to pick up my wallet. When I got in and gave them my information, they said that I had to wait a few minutes because they had to get in from the safe. They only lock things in the safe if there was more than 80 euros in the wallet. So I got my wallet back with all of my money, cards, and ID’s. PRAISE GOD!
I highly recommend going to Scotland for everyone. It was so surreal on vastness of mountains and lochs. I could stay there for months and still not see everything in this country. I will certainly be returning to see more of the east cost and further north. I ended up driving for about 850 miles taking 20 hours and it was definitely not enough time. I dropped a Google folder of all of the pictures that I took, but please take a look at Mycayla and Ashlen’s pictures.
In recent news, I’ve had the pleasure of showing my Platteville squad Ireland for the last 6 days and another two for theirs and my spring break. It has been fantastic! Molly and Tommie come tomorrow for round two of a crash course of Ireland. I’ll have my next post hopefully in a weeks time of my spring break.
Also tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day. I’m. So. Excited. Stay Tuned..