Edinburgh, Dalkeith, and the Highlands (oh my)

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It’s been a week since we started our journey to Scotland. And already we have put so much time into touristy things and school work.  Jet lag hit HARD, as I didn’t get any sleep on the plane, and we arrived around 7 in the morning on Thursday. Thankfully, culture shock has not been a huge problem, as there are many similarities between culture and even geography (as in the grassy areas and pastures). The first few days we spent roaming around Dalkeith, the town we are staying in, and a small suburb to the city of Edinburgh. We are staying in a palace or just a large house that once belonged to the Duke of Wellington. The queen stayed here once (but not queen B though). In Edinburgh we took a 3 hour tour of the city and all its history that went along with it. It is amazing how their history traces back to the 12th Century (and further back) and we only have a few centuries under our belt, and we probably have more drama in our history than most. But in the city there were even some Harry Potter references, since Edinburgh is the city J.K. Rowling wrote the story of Harry Potter. I have been listening to the HP series on my phone so I am not completely out of the loop. We have a full Harry Potter tour on Friday.

In Scotland there are lots and lots of castles. Most of them have been ruined during battles and from wear and tear, but many still provide a nice scenery on top of cities, or along the shore lines. There are also lots and lots of sheep.

For three days we spent touring the Highlands of Scotland. It was probably the most gorgeous scenery I will ever experienced. The mountains aren’t as tall as the Rockies, but compared to bluffs, they are pretty big. Many Scots can climb them in a days time, but they save that recreation for more in the summer. On the trip I climbed rocks, went inside castle ruins, chased sheep, and tried local whiskeys and beer. There are brewery’s and whiskey (Scotch) distilleries practically in every city or town.

The people are extra friendly in Scotland. We have been practically prepped to assume that all Europeans will dislike us because we are American. In Scotland, that’s not the case. Our tour guide even mentioned how Americans are the most involved on the tour trips and the kindest. Scotland 2, America 1, the rest of the world, 0

There’s been a ton of things that changed my perspective such as how they are very chill. They take their time getting to places, aren’t on their phones, and provide great hospitality.  It makes me re-evaluate many life choices, and it was nice not to have wifi for a few days up in the highlands…it was like the equivalent of going “Up North” for us midwesterners.

We have a few more days in Scotland, before a few of us take a few days trip to Dublin, Ireland. After that we will be heading to Stratford Upon Avon to learn the crap out of everything there is to know about Shakespeare.

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