European cities don’t usually have much of an effect on me anymore, they are all very nice and very pretty (for the most part), but even Florence didn’t seem to make me go “wow” like so many people said that it would…although that’s perhaps because I’m some uncultured heathen.
Edinburgh, however, was truly great. We were there at the same time as the Fringe. Although we didn’t have time to go and actually see any of the acts that were on, the atmosphere around the city was really quite something. There was also a marshmallow shop that was rather tasty as well.
To me, it is the closest city in Europe to something out of Harry Potter, it may well have inspired it in parts given the look and the feel of the place (especially the small alleyways that lead down into narrow rows of shops).
It’s not the “big” buildings that makes Edinburgh great, but all the little surprises that you can find scattered all around the city. It’s the fact that it’s partly on a big hill, it’s the mix of old and new – the fact that it isn’t on a “grid system” also helps to give it character.
Having said all of this, I still think that the best part of Scotland has to be nature, definitely not cities – even if they are fantastic (I would gladly live in Edinburgh when I’ve finished travelling around the world). There is just too much beauty outside of the cities to not simply go wandering off until you realise it really is rather dark and you should be heading back.
We went hunting for the most beautiful roads that we could find on the internet the day before and then planned them all into a route for a days driving. Although we only managed half of it, we strongly recommend that you also look for scenic routes if you are in Scotland, you will not be disappointed.
There was even something of a “gorillas in the mist” feel to some of the nature that we saw on the trip. I apologise if you have seen this all before and I am simply cooing over it for no good reason, but this was the first time I’d ever seen anything like it and we spent about 30 minutes on our own, in the middle of nowhere, freezing – and we loved every second.
As the day began to wind down we were treated to some even better pictures of the valleys that we were driving through. I think this is something important, making sure that you either choose the right time of day to go to a place, depending on what you think looks best, or simply staying there for a whole day to experience just how beautiful it can be through all different lightning scenarios.
As good as this day was, the next day was going to be something even more spectacular.
Have you ever been to Scotland? What do you think of it? What won for you, cities or countryside?