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A Weekend in the Highlands of Scotland

by AIFS Study Abroad
A Weekend in the Scottish Highlands | AIFS Study Abroad

To say that I enjoyed myself in Scotland would be an understatement. I had the grandest time up north!

Our first day began with making our way to Kings Cross Station to catch our train up to Edinburgh where we spent our first night at the Safestay Edinburgh Hostel. This train ride was actually my first, and I can now say that train travel is one of my favorite methods of transport. The ride was scenic and I got some good reading and napping done!

After getting settled with the gals I’d be boarding with for the evening, I ventured out down the Royal Mile where I found the sweetest little market inside of a church.

A Weekend in the Scottish Highlands | AIFS Study Abroad

Of course I had to pop in and buy a few bits and bobs, as I love supporting local artisans wherever I go.

As the night ascended, I went off with my pals to try and catch a free ghost walking tour. However, because our group was so large, we missed out.  But it was not all a waste, as our advisors Bea and Polly took us round to see Edinburgh Castle and Greyfriars Kirk Graveyard! Did you know that J.K. Rowling got inspiration for the characters McGonagall and Tom Riddle from people actually buried there? She spent quite a bit of time writing in the graveyard, apparently. Edinburgh is just a hub of Harry Potter treasures.  We spent a fair amount of time inside of Greyfriars, reenacting wand duels and roaming the gravestones. I love ~spooky~ things of that sort!

As day two came upon us, we met our tour guides Duncan and Jamie prior to setting off towards the very north of Scotland. I was on Duncan’s bus (#duncsbus)! This day took us to Culloden Moor where a gruesome battle was fought for Bonnie Prince Charlie’s ascend back to the throne. I am in no way a war aficionado or enthusiast, but I can say that being there and hearing the story told by Jamie, a solemn feeling came over me. It’s something hard to explain, and I hope that one day you get the chance to visit and experience what I felt.

Further in the day, we ventured to Clava Cairn where famous stones are located! One was even used in the television program Outlander, in which Claire touches the stone and transports back in time.

A Weekend in the Scottish Highlands | AIFS Study Abroad

Our group at Loch Ness!

Our third day began with Nessie Hunting at Loch Ness. Loch in Gaelic means lake, a fun fact for you.

We also made a stop at one of the many castles to be seen in Scotland. I felt like I was in a fairytale!

A Weekend in the Scottish Highlands | AIFS Study Abroad

Eilean Donan Castle

That evening, we stayed at the quaintest place, Morag’s Lodge up in Loch Ness. They served us a home-cooked Scottish dinner made from local ingredients and after our meal there was a Tartan Toga Party! It was loads of fun. I learned how to do a Scottish dance from our tour guide Jamie and karaoke-d the night away to good music surrounded with good company (even the hostel staff joined in on the fun!).

Day four was our final day up north. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit sad. Scotland treated me well and the sights were beautiful. I had the best time with everyone. One of our final stops before heading back to Edinburgh to catch our train back to London was Glencoe, easily one of the most breathtaking places I have visited in this world.

A Weekend in the Scottish Highlands | AIFS Study Abroad

Every day in Scotland was full of adventures and the people I encountered were so welcoming and friendly; the Highlands have certainly stolen a piece of my heart.

Here’s to Scotland and the memories it gave me. Hopefully I will be able to visit the Highlands again.

This content was contributed by Edinette Dasalla, who is studying abroad this fall on an AIFS customized faculty-led program in London, England through the Northern California Study Abroad Consortium.

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