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TRAVEL GUIDE: Scotland

Most of my two months in the United Kingdom was spent in London – and I somehow regret it. It’s not that London is not a beautiful place – it is – but it is not my kind of place. If you are like me who enjoys a more quiet kind of life and tries to stay away from busy cities, then I suggest that you head over to Scotland instead. I only had three days in Scotland when I went there, but that did not stop me from seeing most, if not all, of Scotland. I spent my first day in Edinburgh alone. Being a city for walkers, it was pretty easy to go around the place on foot. My first stop was the Princes Gardens and Edinburgh Castle. It is paradise for those who love photography as the gardens are beautifully decorated with colorful flowers and majestic trees. I concluded my day with a delicious meal in a Chinese restaurant that left me wanting to walk the whole night just to lose all the weight I gained in one sitting. 😀 The second day was spent on a coach tour followed by a ghost tour in Edinburgh. In the coach tour, we went to see the river Clyde, rode on an hour-long cruise on Loch Lomond and ended with a tour around the Stirling Castle (so far my favorite castle in the UK). We were back in Edinburgh by around half past 6 in the evening, which was enough time for me to join yet another tour. Edinburgh is dubbed to be one of the scariest places in the world, which is why tourists join ghost tours around the graveyards, underground vaults and much more. The tour I joined was the one of the underground vaults where hundreds of people died. The guide first brought us to a torture museum where various of torture devices are housed. After that, we headed deeper into the underground vaults and stopped in a hallway where a man is said to walk from one end to another. Thankfully, we did not hear any footsteps or saw a shadow. I would have died right then and there. The second stop was a Wiccan temple where modern Wiccans used to practice their religion. They stopped going there and said that violent spirits reside in that specific vault. A protective circle was left inside the vault to keep the spirits inside. It is said that if you step into that circle, bad things can happen – most of the time, participants get physical injuries. Good thing no one from our group dared to enter the circle. The last stop of the tour was the most haunted and violent vault. According to the guide, 96 people died there from a fire. They thought that stone does not burn… little did they know that a stone room can act like a huge oven. All of them died and their bodies were already fused together due to the extreme heat when they were found. We were also told that violent things have happened in that room during tours. Participants reported getting their hair pulled back, some were knocked out, while others said they thought they were holding on to a fellow participant and later found out no one was beside them. I tried to put a brave face on as the guide spoke about all those stories and kept telling myself that she was just playing with our minds. I only felt extremely terrified when we went out of the vault and discovered bruising on my arm. It wasn’t there when I went in nor do I remember hitting something while inside. Creepy. The tour ended in the haunted pub where we were given free whisky and short bread – a nice conclusion to calm ourselves down! On my last day in Scotland, I decided to head over to high street for some goodies I can bring home with me. I only ended up buying biscuits and scarves, though, due to lack of budget. 😀 I would have been extra happy if I bought myself a Scottish kilt, but it was out of my budget so I had to go with the biscuits and scarves. Scotland is definitely a place in the United Kingdom that any tourist should take time to see. It showcases a good mix of the old and the new and has a very interesting history behind it — great for history buffs like myself.
Suggestions:
  • If possible, give yourself at least five days to go around Scotland.
  • On a budget? Stay in a hostel instead. I checked in at Westend Hostel and it only cost me £11 per night! Not a bad deal at all.
  • If you are coming from London, you can either go to Scotland by coach, by train, or by air. If you have time to spare, I suggest that you go by coach. It will take you 9 hours to get there… but the scenery is just perfect!
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