After two months of bustling city life, I decided to join my family and friends on a trip to Scotland. I was so happy to see them! They had arrived in London a week before, but traveled to other places in Europe while I finished my final project, picking up some more friends from home at Paris. We we’re a total of sixteen Puerto Ricans, so I was glad to finally be in contact again with the people from my country, and enjoying the remaining part of my trip with some “Latino” spirit. We call ourselves “El familión extendido”, which means “extended family”. Just a train ride away, this place of castles, lochs, beautiful mountain landscapes and green hills was exactly what I needed to finish the term. I had high expectations of Scotland, since I’d heard it was just breathtaking, but my visit definitely surpassed it.
“El familión extendido” at the Royal Mile.
We spent our first three days at Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, and one of its two major cities. Here we had the chance to explore Edinburgh Castle, a site that functioned as a fort and royal court since medieval times. The castle rises up at the top of a rocky mountain overlooking the city. Starting at the gates of the castle, the “Royal Mile”, a long, continuous street with historic buildings, connects the Royal Palace to the castle. We also explored the historic center. Untouched by the most recent wars, the original buildings still stand, creating a scenery that looks straight out of Game of Thrones! In the midst of our “touristy” doings, we enjoyed from the Fringe festival, a city wide art festival held during August every year. Compared to London, the city seemed so compact, and tranquil. There weren’t so many people, and it was easy to get to places by foot. There was also a fun crowd for college students, since the University of Edinburgh lies right in the city center, so many places were targeted towards young adults like myself!
After three days, we retired to the Highlands, Scotland’s rural area. This part of the UK holds some of the most breathtaking scenery! The views, the lochs (what the Scottish call their many lakes), the small towns and remote cottages, it was so different from what I had lived in for the past two months. It was nice to step away from the noise for while. We drove up from Edinburgh all the way to Inverness, a small town in the North, stopping at sites such as Stirling Castle, the ruins of Urquhart Castle and the Eilean Donan Castle, which was built on a small isle in the middle of Loch Ness. We also drove up to Skye, an isle with volcanic rock formations. Due to this, it has some of the most interesting surfaces and mountain reliefs in the Highlands. We hiked up some of the trails too. Our favorite was in Fairy Glen. Fact: we did this road trip all together in a sixteen person coach bus, so as you can imagine, we we’re singing some latin pop classics and having fun during the long drives in between sites.
Eilean Donan Castle
After five days, we returned to London, where they flew back to Puerto Rico. However, I did stay for three more days! Check out my next, and final post for some cool spots, and my final thought on the best summer of my life!