Scotland: Edinburgh, The Highlands, and, surprise! Clean air!

p1000858.JPGThis last weekend, a fellow American traveler and I took a three-day excursion to the green lands of Scotland. Scotland reminded me of Seattle, with the clean, crisp air and greenery; however, Seattle is a very dark forest, while Scotland is the brightest emerald. The Highlands have rolling hills and textured mountains, which are not green because of trees, but the grass and moss that cover nearly every inch. Loch Ness is a lake; that’s all I have to say about that. All lochs (or lakes) are gorgeous in The Highlands, but to be honest, they all look the same to the not-so-Scottish eye. No Nessie, sorry guys! Scottish Highland cows are fascinating creatures: they look like yaks, but they p1000878.JPGhave the brightest orange hair which flows down their face and covers most of their vision! This picture was of one that spent most of its time at a rest stop in The Highlands examining tourists and posing for photographs.

The cities, particularly Edinburgh (pronounced Edinburrow, not Edinburg), have buildings that are hundreds of years old, made of sturdy stone, and still standing with McDonalds, p1000839.JPG

Boots, and other modern shops inside. Edinburgh began as a fort in the 7th century and blossomed into a metropolis; having been around for so long, the part of the city considered “new” is actually 200 years old. We toured Edinburgh on a bus for two short hours, then ventured around on our own and visited Edinburgh Castle, which is smack in the middle of the city on top of a plug of volcanic rock. We also trekked the Royal Mile, down which the royal family moved back and forth from their two homes. We also spent some time on Princes Street at the National Galleries of Scotland and the Royal Academy’s Impressionism Exhibition. We had chai and a latte at the Starbucks on Princes Street, where from the second story you got an amazing view of Edinburgh Castle. It was so strange to be from Seattle, in a Starbucks in Scotland, and to see an amazing castle high up on rock out the window!

In short, Scotland is just absolutely amazing.