Scotland IV Recap, Part 3 - Eastern Scotland
Here we are again, friends. Time for Part 3 of mine and Ethan's adventures to my favorite place on earth. And in this post, I'll go into detail about my favorite place within my favorite place, if that makes any sense. 🙃
The middle and the end of our trip were spent on the East Coast of the country. I've always been partial to the Eastern half of Scotland for so many reasons - the accents are nicer to listen to, the cities are more ideal to visit, and the weather tends to be better, just to name a few. Not to mention that Edinburgh is my heart and soul. I can't even begin to explain how much I love that city and have since the very moment my feet stepped on its soil back in 2015.
Rewind back to middle of our trip - we were leaving Loch Lomond and heading East for what I knew was going to be my favorite part of the entire trip, unsurprisingly, I'm sure.
We took the long way on our drive across the country so that Ethan could take in as much of the landscape as possible. He also wanted to drive through Stirling, which isn't necessarily on the way, to see the castle.
We stopped a few times for photos - jamming to amazing British music on the radio the whole way there. Ask me sometime about my love for U.K. Top 40. I have more than a few great suggestions for you on my Spotify playlists, if you're interested.
We were nearly to Edinburgh and I kid-you-not, I was on the edge of my seat for the last 15 miles. I COULDN'T WAIT to be back and to introduce the 2 loves of my life to one another.
We arrived in Edinburgh and it was as stunning as ever, greeting us with its lovely gothic architecture and all the Scottish pride a person could ever need. Edinburgh is the most beautiful place on earth, to me. Every direction you look you are amazed and awestruck.
We parked the car, checked into our absolutely FABULOUS hotel - The Scotsman, which was ever-so conveniently located just steps off the Royal Mile. No matter how I try to explain how incredible our room was, I'll never be able to do it justice. The tweed curtains and complimentary Scotch in our room is as close as I can get. I love that hotel almost as much as the city its in - right down to the oil diffusers that scented the entire building like sandalwood after the rain. I actually loved the scent so much, I brought it home in both the perfume and lotion version. Scent is the strongest sense tied to memory and every time I use either of them, I am overjoyed all over again as if I'm standing in the lobby looking out at my home away from home. But, I digress.
On the first day of Edinburgh we tried to keep it light, so as not to overwhelm and exhaust ourselves. We wandered and saw the sights for a few hours and then ended up on one of the coolest streets in town for dinner at Ox184 in the Cowgate. I used to love to go there for their killer spicy Bloody Marys when I lived abroad, so it was such a wonderful experience to take Ethan there and show him around.
After a few drinks and Ethan's first U.K. taxi rides there and back, we got some well-deserved rest and charged up for the busy day ahead of us.
The next day was filled-to-brim with fun together. We visited Edinburgh Castle in the morning, where we saw Mary Queen of Scots' crown jewels. Mary, being the Monarch we had just watched a movie about the life of, the night before we left, to get ourselves in the Scottish spirit - not that we needed ANY help.
That afternoon I had booked one of the most quintessentially British things for Ethan and myself to do - Afternoon Tea. We walked back to The Scotsman and had one of CLASSIEST MEALS of my life. Complete with champagne and Hendrick's Gin, our lunch was absolutely delicious - scones, finger sandwiches, crème brulee, and all.
Once our appetites were satisfied, we left the hotel to finish off our exploring. Ethan wanted to take a gander at the National Museum of Scotland and then we did more sight-seeing around the city.
In all, over the course of the two days, we saw as many of the critical sights as we could possibly fit in - Edinburgh University - my old stomping ground, The Scottish Parliament, The Elephant House Café - where the first Harry Potter was written, The Royal Mile - from end to end, Princes Street and The Scot Monument, Waverly Station, The Cowgate, The Grassmarket, Greyfriars Bobby and Kirkyard, Holyrood Palace, Arthur’s Seat, and even the Underground Vaults underneath the city. As well as anything already mentioned and those that I might have forgotten. It's fair to say that we got a good taste of the city, which makes the news that Ethan loves it almost as much as I do all the more satisfying. Here's to hoping that we'll visit again together someday…. soon?
We ate, drank, and were merry for the rest of the evening, in total vacation bliss.
The next day, we drove North to a city that was chosen specifically to cater to Ethan's tastes - St. Andrews.
St. Andrews, for those who have never been, is a posh college-town with an affinity for Golf - the sport that it gave to the world. It has an old Cathedral and Castle, both of which are ruins today, but incredibly gorgeous and well-worth seeing.
We saw them both and then wasted no time to head out to St. Andrews Links to have drinks in the club on the ORIGINAL golf course. It was up-scale and felt so appropriate to enjoy with my gorgeous guy and his trendy new British uppercut.
We both loved St. Andrews and really wish we had more time to spend there. When we return, we'll spend the night and more time by the ocean, which is particularly beautiful on that part of the coast.
On our way home we stopped off in Dundee very briefly and had a cheeky Nandos in Dunfermline (which is my favorite location, by the way). We spent that night in Edinburgh and left the next day for the highlands, but we made one more stop on the coast on the last day of our adventure and had one more amazing night in The 'Burgh before we left.
On the last day of the trip, Ethan had a fly fishing trip booked on the River Tweed, in Melrose. Unfortunately, the weather was such that the river had nearly flooded, making the water level far too high to safely and successfully fish. So, as sad as it was, his trip was cancelled. That's definitely on our to-do list for next time. So, instead, he accompanied me to visit my British BFF in Melrose. Melrose is very small, giving us very little to-do - and even less considering it was a Sunday afternoon. So, we visited the Abbey - really the only attraction in the town - and had a classic pub lunch together.
It was so amazing to catch up with Katherine, as we do every time I come to the U.K. She is my oldest friend and I'm so glad to have kept in touch with her all these years. Until next time, my dear. ♥️
After we had said our goodbyes, Ethan and I got back into our Mercedes and drove down the coast to the town where I spent my homestay back in 2015 - Berwick-Upon-Tweed. He wanted to see England before we left and as it was the last night, of course I obliged.
It was such a bitter-sweet evening. Ethan and I just stood on the seawall watching the sun set on our amazing adventure together. It was the most poetic way to end our vacation.
When the sun had went down, we drove back to my favorite city on earth, had dinner and drinks, and said goodbye to Scotland in a big way.
Without exaggeration, that was truly an unbelievable trip. Together, we saw some of my favorite places in the world and made memories that will last a lifetime. We grew even closer as a couple and found such a love for the country, culture, and even each other, in Scotland. I can't thank Ethan enough for being my partner - both in travel, and in life. I can't wait for our next big adventure.
In Scotland, they say "Haste Ye Back" to folks who come to visit. On the surface, it simply asks them to come back and visit again soon. But after our trip together, we both know how much it truly means.