We fell in love with Scotland long before we even stepped foot in the beautiful country. How is that, you ask? Well, take 2 Americans (us, obviously) plus 4 Scots and stick them in a house in the middle of Tuscany building a pool deck and that equates to way too many laughs, a few language barriers (I thought we all spoke English?!) with a dash of Scottish humor and there ya go! A few months back, we did a Workaway in Tuscany where we stayed with a lovely Scottish couple, Elly and Craig, helping them restore their home. With us were 2 other Workawayers, Robyn and Jordan, who were also from Scotland and we absolutely loved every moment we got to spend with all 4 of them so without having ever been to Scotland, we knew that a piece of our hearts had already resided there.
Our time in Scotland began in Glasgow and every year, Glasgow hosts a music festival called Celtic Connections. We were fortunate enough to meet up with our friends and spend the whole weekend exploring the city and listening to music…what more could you ask for? Our days began with a proper Scottish breakfast (basically meat, meat, and some more meat! Oh, and eggs. And potato scones too.), then we would bundle up and head out to walk around the vibrant city only stopping for coffee, and finally ending the evening with an ale in our hands while completely mesmerized by the incredible talents of all the musicians! There were bagpipers, fiddlers, bands that specialized in traditional Scottish music, ladies who sang in Gallic, even a folk band from a tiny village in Africa. It was absolutely amazing!
PS: one of our absolute favorite bands that performed at Celtic Connections were The Peatbog Faeries – check them out!
As sad as we were to see our music filled weekend come to an end, we were excited to explore Edinburgh and stay with Robyn and Jordan for the week. Yes, they put up with us for a whole week in their home! God bless their hearts!
When we told people that we were going to the UK, one of their first questions was always “You’re going to Edinburgh, right? It’s so beautiful!” and I will begin by saying that yes, Edinburgh is absolutely STUNNING! Freezing, but stunning nonetheless! And the best part was, we got the inside scoop on this vibrant city from our local tour guides, Robyn and Jordan
The weather was true to its Scottish nature: cold and wet. (I am convinced that it was the rain that made me sick as a dog in Ireland but I’ll save that for the next post…). However, the rain added to the charm and the beauty of the city. And no, I am not just saying that to make myself feel better! If I had to describe Edinburgh, the first word that comes to mind is gray. I know that doesn’t scream “beautiful” but for some reason, it was. The sky was gray, the stone buildings were 50 shades or gray, the castle stood proud up against the gray sky, and the fog that settled in the cracks of the city was…you guessed it…gray. But then we would look around and see patches of green, or the occasional orange glow of the sun peaking through the clouds, and the smiling faces of Scottish people having a pint in the pub. Even though the setting was dark, the mood was nothing short of happiness.
I can honestly say we explored so much of Edinburgh, but we left feeling like we just scratched the surface! We spent a day touring around the city where we learned all about the ancient history, spooky past and what makes Edinburgh so special today. To fill in the gaps between tours, we did some exploring of our own and even went to the Edinburgh Museum of Fire (note: they need donations to keep this awesome museum going, so if you feel inclined, donate here!) which of course, Sean loved every second of! Robyn and Jordan took us to some of their favorite restaurants and coffee shops so while we remained full of delicious Scottish Fayre, we also remained heavily caffeinated for our days of site-seeing.
As much as we enjoyed seeing Edinburgh, some of our favorite moments were spending quality time with Robyn, Jordan and their adorable puppy, Stevie. Here is a little story: a few months back, Jordan posted on Facebook “Someone make me fish tacos, please!” so naturally, Sean and I took that as an opportunity to be as Californian as possible, and make them fish tacos! Let me be honest…it was as much for them as it was for us! We took down a whole bowl of guacamole, ate way too many tortilla chips, made enough fish tacos to feed an army and washed it all down with cerveza. Oh, and we also binge watched Making a Murderer. “What did you do in Edinburgh?”…”Oh ya know…ate fish tacos and watched Netflix.” It was magical.
Another favorite memory from Edinburgh was being there for the famous “Burns Supper.” You don’t know what it is? That’s ok because I had NO idea either! But, now that I do know what it is…I shall bring the tradition back to America! Basically, it is a night to celebrate Robert Burns (the Scottish poet) and the infamous Haggis. I am not going to go into the full explanation of the details of what the night entails, but the cliff notes versions is: an evening where people listen to Robert Burns poems, eat Haggis, listen to bagpipes, and cheers to a wonderful man of Scottish history. The way we celebrated was in the oldest pub in Edinburgh, The Sheeps Heid Inn, where we ate, we drank, and we listened to an incredible actor dressed as Robert Burns read his famous poetry. We left feeling so very Scottish…even though we only understood about every third word of the poetry! As if the amazing dinner wasn’t enough, we ended the evening playing “Skittles” which is (for lack of a better explanation) an older version of bowling. It was one of my favorite nights of our trip thus far!
I wish we had planned to stay more than just 1 short week in Scotland and I think that feeling comes from wanting to explore more, see more, eat more, drink more…more more more! But mostly, is because we so appreciated the quality time that we got to spend with our Scottish friends. The moment we left them, we missed them like crazy! So, with that being said…you guys better get your booties to California the moment we get back! And to everyone else, make sure you put Scotland high up on your bucket list because it is one incredible country not to be missed.