Scotland – Last Souvenir arrived

Wooooooooooohhh!
The card I sent to myself on Monday arrived today โค
(We actually saw the Kelpies when traveling to the Highlands / Loch Ness but couldn’t stop to visit them :x)

As I signed a new work contract today (starting on Monday) I’m double happy!

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Scotland – Concluding Post

Our last day in Scotland was on Monday, 10th of June, 2019 (I didn’t post yesterday as I was too tired :D)
Well, last day as in: travel day.
Breakfast > Check-out > Bus > Airport 1 > Transfer at airport 2 > Airport 3 > Train > Home.

For whatever reason the weather decided to be nice on our leaving day. It was so warm – well for us at least as we were carrying luggage *lol* down the hill. Still was hard walking in the sun like a mine worker (that’s how it felt).
Spending ~3 hours at the airport didn’t make it any better (I don’t like the airport to be honest) and our flight was delayed by ~20minutes. Which only gave us about 25-30 minutes transfer time in Amsterdam (arrival gate D53, departure gate B24) ….. if you know how big that airport is you know: we RAN for it! Literally. Until passport control. Man those minutes waiting felt like hours…. and sprint again until gate, which just opened so yay we did that thing in less than 15 minutes *PROUD*
I asked the stewardess for some water as our clothes clinged to us and we sweat like ….some weird random zombies… she got us some – thanks, KLM love you for your service!

We were delayed by another few minutes as some passengers couldn’t make it to the gate in time (might’ve been on our flight) and they needed to get their luggage out of the plane.
The flight was a bit bumpy as we crossed some bad-weather-clouds but we were on time, picked up the luggage and took the train home. Where my cat greeted us like a maniac ๐Ÿ˜€ he’s so cute โค We spent a calm evening and my friend went home today.

While I’m writing this, my cat lies next to me, his arse on mine, all four paws into the air. Guess he really missed me *thinks* although his sitter took good care of him while I was away :3

Looking back at the holiday besides weather (because that’s the only thing that partly messed up our plans): It was GREAT spending about a week in Edinburgh (and taking a trip to Loch Ness/Highlands)!

Bad things first (not gonna talk about weather here): Our disappointment of the Greyfriars Kirkyard and stupid tourists. First thing because it’s being used as a dump for trash in any possible or impossible corner. Scots are well aware of environment and take great care to keep it clean but this place is a dump ๐Ÿ˜ฆ (you might only see it if you’re not being guided by a, well, guide but we didn’t search for it but saw it)
For tourists: sometimes I felt like I’m on a table with food and everyone sees it while I don’t – they rush towards me, push, hit or stomp on feet like crazy (this happened especially at NON-crowded places like open sidewalks or even on Royal Mile when no one walked besides me and my friend: they had like 2 meters space and came close enough to just push us away or suddenly stop right in front of us being surprised where we came from…. dafaq. To be honest: this might happen anywhere but it was really wild and I didn’t expect it to be this bad.

BUT…. Good things: lots to sightsee (although we didn’t do anything you can do due to lack of interest or time), lots of nice landscape (if you decide to leave town it’s even better), lots of nice gift shops and restaurants, lot of nice people. And we also had some really awesome encounters like the squirrels at the Royal Garden and the entertainer JP Koala at the Royal Mile.
What I personally liked most: the Disney store across the street of our hotel *lol* I’m a fan, I can’t deny it. No kidding ๐Ÿ˜›

Besides that:
The air mail is damn fast. We put postcards into the letter box on Thursday, most cards arrived already on Saturday.
And as I still play Pokemon Go I caught a pink Shellos (can only get the blue ones at my place) at Loch Ness and named it Nessie. Rofl. Just for the lulz.

In the end we did spend some money on souvenirs, food and such but not much on entry tickets for museums or something. Our entries to Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh Castle and Yacht Britannia were prebooked online (and worth it. 48 hours of hop on/hop off bus travels included), as well as our Highlands/Loch Ness tour. Anything else we did on the go and except Edinburgh Zoo and related bus travels to Zoo and Beach anything else was totalling to zero. Not really: I spent some money to support the museum but that’s left for the common sense of people to do (I love that kind of thing: check something out for free and leave some money if you liked it) and I also donated some money to Edinburgh Zoo and JP Koala. Because it felt right.

As promised “loot” pictures will be put in this post ๐Ÿ˜€ At the end as usual.
Content:
A Robin Ruth messenger bag “Edinburgh City”
3 Disney figurines (clear on 2nd picture: Pinocchio’s Figaro, Hercules’ Pegasus, Alice in Wonderland’s Chesshire Cat)
A cat-featured umbrella (last picture features my cat Berlioz (former stray from Greece) who couldn’t just leave it be :D)
A Royal Yacht Britannia corgie plush
A highland cow plush
A corgie keychain (from Holyrood Palace)
A cat keychain
A highland cow keychain
A fluffy highland cow keychain
A scottish/celtic (can’t remember which) symbol keychain
A Holyrood/Windsor tea tin (including tea bags)
An afternoon tea tin
A package of Cranberry/Rasperry tea
3 shortbread tins each featuring a cat playing a bagpipe
3ย  magnets (cow, tiger, wild cat)
3 buttons “I found Clarence the corgie” (free of charge from Yacht Britannia shop, 2 are hidden behind the tea bin oops)
2 trump cards “Koala” (free of charge from Zoo shop)

I will keep most of the stuff except 2 buttons, 2 tin boxes and the afternoon tea as these will go to family members. And I am waiting for my own postcard I sent off on Monday as I had a stamp left and thought it would be too sad if I just left that money not being used (stamps are more expensive in Scotland than they are in Germany), so I’m kinda looking forward to its arrival ๐Ÿ˜€

Scotland Day 6

First of today: let’s rewind to yesterday. Last night after I wrote the blog we went downstairs to the hotel’s restaurant and had a late dinner.

Due to the hotel’s eco program we received a 5 Pound voucher every day the cleaning staff didn’t need to clean the room. We had 4 – adding up to 20 Pounds and we could use them all in one go.
So as we are two we shared the vouchers on our food: my friend ate fish&chips and a dark beer, while I went for a cheeseburger and 3 cups of icecream (vanilla, chocolate and salted caramel).
The guy down there seemed to like us (and we gave plenty of a tip) so he gave us a voucher for 2 free drinks. Well~ guess where we went tonight ๐Ÿ˜€

So now forwarding to today.
After an early-as-usual breakfast we took the bus to the Edinburgh Zoo. We were there shortly before opening hours and it seems that was too early for most of the animals aswell as we barely saw any :/
I was stalked by a pelikan though. The moment I got into their part of the zoo he ran up towards the glass between them and the visitors, running up and down the glass to show off. When I went to another place he raced up to me and stopped just right before the glass. I freaked, my friend was laughing her ass off ๐Ÿ˜›
We walked uphill and downhill and up and down and left the zoo after ~3 hours and took the bus to the opposite direction of the city to Portobello Beach.

We strolled around the beach and took some nice pictures. A wee dog mistook me for his owner and followed me for a few steps (so cute).
We found a crab at the beach although we don’t know if it was alive or dead ๐Ÿ˜ก
And we had a quite good laugh about the trash advertisement (love how Scots take care about the environment in general): “Keep Porty tidy”.

After we had enough of the wind, we left by bus in direction of our hotel. We stayed a few minutes in our room before going for dinner at the restaurant downstairs. The same dude as yesterday was there and started laughing as we came in (we laughed hard too). We took our free drinks, a cheeseburger (my friend) and a grilled salmon (mine mine mine). It was really good.

So now I am sitting here with a full belly, watching TV, writing this blog and avoiding packing stuff for tomorrow’s travel back home ๐Ÿ™‚

Scotland Day 5

Our holiday continued today with an early breakfast as usual. Well, 8AM due to hotel’s breakfast times closing at 9AM *lol*

We then waited a bit before leaving the hotel to see if the rain would lift. We went outside and bought umbrellas to avoid running around in wet clothes (as we did at Loch Ness) – I got a cute blue with colorful cats (picture will follow in my concluding post about the holiday).
After we climbed some streets and walked around in the Royal Botanical Garden Edinburgh. We didn’t buy tickets to check out the greenhouses and honestly it still was worth our time spent there. So many different plants in one park. It’s awesome. And it doesn’t take much time to see all corners either.
You can see alot of bees and other insects gathering pollen at flowers if the season is right. Most flowers were already declining but the insects were still busy :3
We saw a squirrel dashing directly towards us, then coming up right in front of my feet before running further to greet another squrreil charging up behind us. Both leaped into the grass after that. So cuuuuuuuuuuuute โค

We took the bus back to the city, bought food and returned to the hotel – just in time before another heavy rain came down. At 3PM we left the hotel and got caught by a new cloud thinking about dropping all its contents on us x__x We went to Greyfriars Bobby and patted its nose for luck, before checking out the Greyfriars kirkyard where JR Rowling appearently got some of the ideas for her Harry Potter books.
To be honest I’m not the greatest fan BUT I expected a wee more. Especially tidyness, but some graves are being used as trash bins (by tourists and locals) and that is more than disgusting! Plus the most important graves to check out were in maintenance (?) so linen were put over them to avoid people looking at them. Bummer!

Another disappointment was the shop at Victoria’s Street. Seriously… it’s damn crowded ofcourse but it was a let down merchandice-wise too. I don’t know what I expected but reading all travel guides before seemed to have hyped me too much I guess. To be honest: I liked the Harry Potter shop (it’s called “The Boy Wizard” anywhere) at Royal Mile more than this one ๐Ÿ˜ก

After all these mild disappointments we actually had some fun (in the rain) at Royal Mile: We saw an entertainer from Australia, named JP Koala, watched his show, had a lot of laughs and had a nice talk with him afterwards :3 He’s damn cool. If you ever have the chance to see his performance, please do so! (Right now he’s in Edinburgh *lol*)

Scotland Day 4

Today we went to breakfast as usual: getting down at 8AM-ish. It was really crowded there today ๐Ÿ˜ฎ But we got food and were stuffed.

My friend seemed to have a stomach issue of yesterday (or before) and was feeling a wee sick. We still went on our planned travel to Calton Hill, Arthur’s Seat and the National Museum of Scotland.

Today morning’s weather was absolutely perfect for some walking/climbing.

First we went to the Bank of Scotland to get some cash ๐Ÿ˜€
After we walked to Calton Hill and took a walk there, sat down for a bit (until it got too cold in the wind) and passed the Burns Memorial, checked out the New Calton Burial Ground and followed the road to the Hollyrood Palace shop (where I got a little corgie keychain) and further to Arthur’s Seat.
Originally we planned to go to the top but thanks to my sick friend and my own wobbly legs (possibly too much walking/climbing the last few days) we only made it to St. Anthony’s Chapel ruins.
We still took some fine pictures and got worried about the thick grey clouds coming up – especially as the wind blew them into our direction.
We went to the hotel for a break and lucky us, we didn’t get wet in the brief shower that came down while we were in the hotel – yay.

After it cleared up we went outside around the corner to visit the National Museum of Scotland. It’s free. It’s awesome.
On our way back we went to the Ever ever after shop (which is just across our hotel) and I got 3 cute little Disney character statues (and as the shop sells them as a 3-for-2 promotion I only paid 2 โค yay). Pictures of all of my shopping sprees will follow in my concluding post of this travel :3

We bought some food and returned to the hotel, just in time before the next shower… man, we really are lucky today ๐Ÿ˜€

Scotland Day 3

Day 3 started really early today.
We took breakfast at 6:30AM and left the hotel shortly after 7AM to get to the meeting point at the Royal Mile, Edinburgh, for the bus tour to Loch Ness & Highlands. We were there early (7:25AM) and as others were early as well we took off before the official start time (the others followed in different buses).
Our driver was a funny dude named Martin, telling us stories about the relevant sights we passed. Brilliant.

We passed Falkirk and took a break at Kilmahog to see/feed a Highland cow family and check out the gift shop. After the stop we were supposed to decide, if we later would go on a castle tour at Loch Ness or a boat tour or nothing of the mentioned. My friend and I decided to take the most expensive option: the castle tour + boat travel to the landing. We didn’t know yet that this would be a horrible decision *lol*

After the first break we drove up further, passing several Lochs up to Fort William and through the Rannoch Moor.

We drove through Glencoe and checked out the three sister mountains and passing the highest British mountain: Ben Nevis.
We passed Loch Lochy, Loch Oich and Fort Augustus up to Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle. Meanwhile it started to rain. Just a bit, nothing serious. We were instructed to be at a certain ship at a certain time (else the bus would leave without us) and our driver took off to bring the rest of our bus travelers to the boat meeting point.

We checked out the gift shop and went outside to visit the castle ruins… it started to pour down. Really. I put my rain jacket on, but boch my trousers and backpack were soaked >_<
At 3:30pm we entered the ship to be brought to the landing on the other side of the lake. The boat was filled with people, most of us being soaked.
Half an hour later we entered the gift shop at the Loch Ness base and soon traveled further to Inverness, where one of our travelers left the tour due to participating at a party there.

We saw Blair Castle and Loch Leven on our way back to Edinburgh. Our last break was in a small city named Pitlochry and had Whiskey Ice cream (3%, our driver was really sad he can’t have any). The queue to get this was a wee long but really worth trying it.

Finally we crossed the Firth of Forth before entering Edinburgh. We were back at the hotel at 9PM. What a long but funny day ๐Ÿ˜€

We started in Edinburgh when it was cloudy, rain at Loch Ness, suddenly sunny on our way back to Edinburgh – basically any possible weather at this time of the year *lol*

Scotland Day 2

It poured down the whole night, it continued today…

After breakfast we went to the bus station and took a bus to Ocean Terminal to visit the yacht Britannia.

First we went to check out the mall and decided to go for lunch there later. The rain stopped then.
We boarded the yacht and my friend said “Look, there’s a corgie sitting in the window” – it was a plush corgie. We both laughed and took a picture and went on our exploration tour on board (we refused to take audio guides earlier. As some people were listening to it on high volume, we didn’t miss much anyway).

Any time we found another plush dog, we giggled, I took a picture of it before we continued our tour. My friend said: “You know, it’s kind of sad they don’t have a game how many dogs are on board” – I agreed.

After our tour we ended up in the gift shop and I saw the very same plush corgies as on board of the yacht, directly went to them and laughingly tell her: “Oh look, now we can buy them”. A shop assistant came up to ask telling us there is a treasure hunt and we could guess how many dogs were on board. If we win we get a teddy in captain clothes. My friend looked at me, I looked at her, we both looked at the shop assistant and started laughing. We told her I took pictures of any dog we could find ๐Ÿ˜€ she smiled and said if we’d like we could fill out the participation cards and take a button.
She then left us and we filled out the papers and took buttons before leaving for lunch at the wagamama (Japanese styled restaurant). I really loved the fresh juice :3

***I will not spoil the fun to anyone and tell how many dogs were on board – I know for certain my result is correct as another shop assistant confirmed the amount when I bought my very own plush dog***

After lunch we took the bus back to the city while it started to rain heavily again. We went to Jenners and checked out some gift shops before returning to the hotel. Tomorrow we will be on a 12 hours trip (hopefully no rain).