Wild Side, Wrong Side - Scotland
Let me start off by saying how much I absolutely love traveling. I love to immerse myself in the culture, do what the locals do and have a light itinerary. That is my ideal vacation. No stress, pure exploration and leave it to the day to dictate what happens.
That exact plan is what me and my husband set out to do and accomplished that very goal. It all started when my mom called and said "Hey! you guys want to come to Ireland with us?" We were like..."Um...yes!" Zero hesitation. If you're like us and most likely the majority of the working force, you want to maximize every. single. day. Shit, you're paying for it, you might as well spend as much time as you can in a location. So, I quickly began my frantic Google search, it consumed a majority of my day trying to find the best place that we could tack on the end or the beginning of this trip.
I had a quick A-HA! moment. SCOTLAND! A destination Roberto (the hubs), has always been talking about. So, I eagerly went and looked at flights and carefully started planning out the trip. Luckily, for my extensive work travel (yay, Delta Skymiles!), we only paid $148 to fly to Scotland/Ireland round trip - not counting the ever so adventurous, RyanAir. One win for the working peeps.
Now that the flights were handled, I booked a rental car and hotels at 3 different locations; if you remember above, I'm a minimalist when it comes to vacation planning; scary for some, thrilling for others...I'll take the thrilling side, please.
I'll link the "itinerary" at the bottom of this post.
We have 3 destinations; rather, end points in mind: Edinburgh (pronounced: Endin-burr-oh), Oban (pronounced: Oh-bin - bring on the scotch!), Isle of Skye (which was actually a recommendation by my boss), Elgin and back to Edinburgh, to catch our flight to Dublin, Ireland.
Once we landed in Edinburgh (which was one of the most insane situations, ever - we literally were stuck at JFK for 36 hours, did the tour-de-JFK and drank at every bar because of bad weather, we finally made it to Scotland a day late and had to drive to Oban with 3 hrs of sleep, on the wrong side of the road and on the wrong side of the car, needless to say - it was exhilarating); again, I digress.
1. Oban is absolutely gorgeous, a small fisherman town, with amazing seafood. So good, that the hubs fell asleep at dinner with how overwhelmed he was with the goodness. The Distillery was fascinating and delicious (so, Roberto says).
2. We then started our drive to Isle of Skye; I forgot to mention that our GPS was set in "adventure mode", which I highly recommend, but don't actually believe its a legit setting. We never went on a highway and sometimes ended up on peoples farms, but always seeing something unique. We stopped at multiple places along the way and ended up at Isle of Skye, 6 hrs after we were "supposed to". This place was absolutely breathtaking, and we were only at the bottom part of the "island".
3. After speaking with the front desk upon checking out, she asked "where are you headed next?", we quickly said..."oh to the Scotch Trail" She whipped out a map and said..."nope, go here." We looked at each other and said "OK!". We jumped into our car and headed north. Excuse my language...but, Holy shit, that was the best recommendation EVER. EVER. The most beautiful scenery and landscape I have ever seen. Part of the beauty, was that we were the only 2 people during this entire adventure. 4 hrs later we were headed to the Scotch Trail.
4. We ventured through more backroads and went to Benromach and Glenfiddich (we only had time for those, plus the legal limit in Scotland is 35 micrograms of alcohol for every 100 millilitres of breath - wowzers!). We ended up in Elgin. Now, I don't know about you - but, the idea of staying in a castle pumped me up; so, of course I booked it..immediately. The town of Elgin was ok, not my favorite and only one place to eat (in which the towns people had a really hard time trying to figure out what was open).
5. After we left Elgin, we headed back to Edinburgh. But, not before we made a pit stop in St. Andrews. It was the cutest, old town I have ever seen. A lot of history and I had no clue you could walk so close to the golf course. We grabbed a bite to eat to then headed back to Edinburgh to do a sprint, walking tour of the city (since, we missed our first day there).
6. Edinburgh, was like any other big city, but it added an additional layer of charm that I cannot explain. It was old, yes. It was quaint, yes. It has this feeling of happiness (I know, I know...weird and odd) that I have a hard time explaining. People were so polite and they almost walked around the city with a skip to their step. Most people in big cities, tend to walk fast pace, head down and don't care about the beauty around them; no - not, Edinburgh.
To say we had an amazing time in Scotland is an understatement. Roberto and I often say "there are so many beautiful places to see in this world and that you should never go back to the same place twice." We stand corrected. We will be seeing you soon, Scotland.