Summer holiday has started and people are going abroad, buying tickets to festivals, and working away at their summer jobs. My first vacation days were spent in Scotland, in Aberdeen – the city of hundreds of castles and even more sheep. I took a plane to Aberdeen, although I had one pit stop in Copenhagen that lasted for a few hours. On the way back, the pit stop was in Oslo – so even though both times the flights were only a few hours, the traveling will most likely take up your entire day. The weary traveler is likely to forget about their woes though, at least after having delicious scones and sandwiches at the Cup, a fancy but affordable café near the center of Aberdeen. A sample of these treats is pictured above.
There were plenty of hills and moors to explore in and around Aberdeen: one pre-planned trip included a visit to the Dunnottar castle ruins in Stonehaven, an idyllic little town a short train-ride away from the center of Aberdeen. The pictures above were taken during the hike to the castle, which is located a few miles from the harbor of Stonehaven, right next to the ocean.
Above is a picture from a charming old-fashioned candy store, also located in Stonehaven: they serve delicious ice cream and lots of chocolaty goodies, which everyone must try should they visit the picturesque town.
Scotland has no shortage of churches either – places of worship were plentiful and frequent. The impressive architecture was perhaps more appealing to yours truly, but surely some people enjoy the more religious aspects of these hallowed houses as well.
The gate above can be found at the King’s College campus at Aberdeen University where my wonderful host and friend studies English. She instructed me that the motto “initium sapientiae timor domini” on the gate means “the beginning of wisdom is fear of the Lord”.
Edinburgh was a natural day-trip target: the city is vibrant, exciting, and has plenty to see. As a poor student, my agenda included a visit to the free National Museum of Scotland that refreshingly exhibited, for example, the history of kilts. (As a side-note: the total of kilts seen during the trip was 17.)
As a huge Harry Potter fan, I also simply had to stop for lunch at the (now famous) Elephant House, which was incredibly busy. A trip to the bathroom showed that I was not the first Harry Potter fan to come through their doors.
In Edinburgh, the famous Aha Ha Ha Jokes & Novelties was another must-see, although I have to admit that the funniest part of the store was its façade.
Somehow during that one day in Edinburgh I ended up (accidentally) both in a religious festival and a hard rock concert that, for some unknown reason, also featured what appeared to be an American biker gang.
It wouldn’t be a trip to Scotland without a drink or two. Or as many you can handle before passing out. But I have to hand it to the Scots – they do know how to party like there’s no tomorrow! In the center of Aberdeen you can find dozens of great places to either have a drink or two, or dance the night away. My personal recommendation would be a visit to the Slains Castle – a horror themed gothic bar that draws inspiration from Dracula and is located in an old church.
Scotland is a great place to travel if you want to check out funny road signs, visit the beach (even though the water is freezing and you would most likely die of hypothermia if you tried swimming in it), or frequent pubs and castles, both of which are guaranteed fun!