Scotland was definitely one of my top 3 places I visited while studying abroad. I actually loved it so much, that I feel like I should move there in my thirties or forties after I have my career in check. My life there would honestly be completely content, I believe. Everyone I met while in Scotland was so incredibly nice and friendly, the landscapes and architecture were absolutely beautiful, and nothing really beats the history of Scotland either.
I had been wanting to visit this place ever since I became obsessed with Mary, Queen of Scots. Since I’m so addicted to everything royalty and all of their tragic yet beautiful history, I had to visit Scotland and see for myself why my favorite Queen loved that country so much.
I also had a few other things on my Scotland bucket list, such as the Royal Mile walk, which my friend Olivia showed me, and the Elephant Cafe where J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter on napkins when she was homeless.
Luckily, the cafe was super close to the insanely sick hostel we stayed at. If you end up going to Edinburgh, and you need an awesome place to stay , go to High Street Hostel.
I’m not sure why I didn’t take pictures of it, but it was amazing. Highly, highly recommend it.
It was really incredible to go sit down at a table J.K. Rowling might have sat down at, and to see the wall of old photographs and collages of her that the staff had created after her novels took off world-wide.
After having breakfast there and buying a little souvenir, we decided to go to the Edinburgh Castle. That place was absolutely phenomenal. I wish we could’ve seen actual rooms etc. while we were there, but the war prison rooms were pretty crazy. We also ended up seeing a Scot show with guns while we were there, and a war memorial.
These were some of the views from up the hill in the castle area:
Oh yes, the wind in Scotland was absolutely insane. I had been told that Scotland was freezing even in October, but I don’t think I understood just how cold it could get over there. I’m glad we went and visited in October rather than in December. I might have turned into an icicle.
After we finished visiting the castle, we ended up finding a shop where we could get pictures done while wearing traditional Scot outfits. Best decision ever. We did some hilarious group shots with our Aussies. :’)
While in Scotland, one of the monuments I really wanted to see was the Sir Walter Scott monument. It is the largest monument to a writer in the world, so of course I had to go stare at it. Also, can we just admire how beautiful it is? The picture I have truly doesn’t do it any justice.
Later on we hiked up a hill, and next thing you know, we were surrounded by the most incredible views and monuments. Around this time our friend Chloe also fell down in a graveyard, scraped her knee, bled everywhere, and thankfully didn’t die because Mama Liv came to the rescue with bandaids.
Something that I absolutely enjoyed in Scotland was Holyrood House. This is where my girl Mary, Queen of Scots lived. The audio tour was phenomenal, and pretty much went over everything important in her life. I almost cried 6 times while I was there, and Tanner pretty much had to drag me out of there. Sadly, we couldn’t take pictures inside, but let me tell you, they really did a great job preserving all of Mary’s things. They even had locks of her hair in a case there. If I’m ever in Scotland again, which I will be, I’d definitely go back to Holyrood House. They also had a bunch of amazing things about Queen Elizabeth II there as well, since she regularly uses the place for meetings and relaxation purposes.
After I caught my breath and calmed down from being in the presence of all my idol’s personal things, Tanner and I strolled around in Mary’s garden at Holyrood Palace. We noticed people going up a hill somewhere near the palace area, so we made our way there too to check it out. We had wanted to hike the world-known Arthur’s Seat while we were in Scotland, but we never really prioritized it. We decided to hike this mountain near the palace, and later on we figured out we were actually on Arthur’s Seat. One word: Amazing.
Here are some more pictures of places and buildings we saw while walking around Scotland, but I just want to emphasize that none of them do it justice. It’s one of the most beautiful countries I’ve seen, and even though I tried really hard to show its beauty through pictures, I consider that I failed. I need to go back a thousand times before I build a photograph collection worthy of it.
Fun fact: I met an owl while in Scotland.
Last but not least, we went on a “Pub Crawl” with Steph, Chloe, Tash, and Liv. It was quite a nice experience, even though I didn’t drink anything haha. The guy who took us to all the bars answered a bunch of my questions about living in Scotland, and he made it clear to me that they really think of themselves as their own country, and not as part of the U.K. I already knew all about that, but it was really interesting to have it confirmed from someone who’s family ancestors lived there since the 1600s.
Thank you for reading!