Madainn mhath! (Welcome)
I am sure many of you here have gathered that I am in love with Scotland. Not to say there are not many other beautiful and incredible countries, which I know there are, but Scotland holds my heart. With that said, let’s get into the tip and hints for traveling in Scotland (and a bit of England).
Back to being alone. It is not a BAD thing! Yes, it is so nice for someone else to see what you see but the feeling of freedom to go and do as you please when you please is amazing. If you stay a bit longer in one place vs. another, it is only you that you answer too. Ok, that is out of the way…. onward.
1. As mentioned before plan ahead, this includes planning during the trip. Things happen, changes occur. Be flexible and understand that weather, timing, closures, or too many people can affect your destination. Take it in stride, so with planning, have a backup plan or plan B and or plan C. It helps to know where these alternatives places are with all the pertinent information needed.
2. Be prepared for a change in weather. I live in Southern California, where rain is not a common thing, but in Scotland rain just turns on and off light a faucet and with rain comes mud so be prepared. It is a normal way of life for the good people of Scotland, but we SoCal peeps, well, it is fascinating. It’s also a bit colder here…
- Bring an umbrella, travel size is fine. They sell them at their local stores.
- Bring an raincoat if you can. Lightweight. I found a great one online at QVC that I could roll up and tuck in my backpack, the only place if could not protect me 100% was on Iona, but hey it did it’s best. That rain was NO JOKE!!! This is me filming with my GoPro on the enchanting Isle of Iona… I took a bus to a ferry and let me tell you, this rain was intense.. so be prepared! http://www.welcometoiona.com/. I hope to go back!
3. You will be asked where you are from everywhere, just as we do to people we meet with different accents. If you are from America, many will tell you that they love it especially Las Vegas!. Some don’t care for America with big roads, big cars and lots of food and rude people. Depends are where you go, but there are good and bad everywhere. Mostly though, people were interested that I was a single female traveler from California and lived close to Disneyland, but asked how close was Las Vegas? Vegas has the appeal. Just and FYI, I sounded like a Canadian apparently, from British Columbia, so it must be the West Coast of North America that sounds similar.
4. The food is the same yet different. They did not have Tapatio or salsa. 🙂 I mentioned the lack of non dairy creamer for your coffee. They serve food in a different manner there. Fast food is not on every corner. I was glad for that. The larger cities had McDonalds and KFC and most towns had a subway, but the grocery store held many many choices of prepackaged foods. Here is a picture of my lovely lunch on the Isle of Iona.. delicious..
Dinner for sure in most places you need a “booking”, we call reservation. I must have looked pathetic because I managed to find a table when I would find out that I needed this. There is also eating right in the pub. Don’t forget the pint!!! Edinburgh caters to many people so there are so many food places to choose from, but the smaller towns, I am telling you go shopping, make a booking because there is no late night Taco Bell there!
5. If you love soda you have to try their local brew. Irn Bru!
It is not Fanta!.. definitely an acquired taste I must admit.
One of the best things I loved was the candy. I don’t know is sugar is better there or what, but YUMMY!! Cadbury all day and all night.
I loved all the candy and the mints.. a necessary candy for all my train and bus rides. The mints helped with the nausea. So if you tend to get nauseated on cars, trains or buses, get some imperial mints..
6. Relish in the history. If you are a history buff then this is the country for you! Read all about the amazing castles, palaces, places of worship, battle and magic.
Scotland truly is magical. I felt so welcomed there, big cities are big cities. Yes, I got lost and found my way in more ways than one. Breathe in the air, admire the forestry. The sea, the ocean, rivers, lochs and streams. Always be prepared for weather! I can’t emphasize that enough.
7. Walking. This country is made for walking. Be prepared to walk. In Edinburgh alone I climbed more just walking from close to close. A close by the way is an alley. I was amazed at the local girls walking in 3 inch heels up and down these winding streets. Wear good shoes and or boots. I only used my tennis shoes twice the whole time I was there. I had my backpack and ass kicking boots as I referred to them. BREAK in your boots before you get there. I wore my boots to work about 6 months to have them perfect for my feet and wear good socks with the boots.
8. Showers. I have to mention this.
- They are small. Most of the showers that I encountered where not our big giant showers with room for 10 bottles of shampoo and conditioner, even the bathtubs are smaller.
- They have towel warmers and they are lovely. I never saw one in the hostels however!
- The showers at hostels have timers. One minute to five it depends. Make these showers quick and make them count.
- The sinks are not large and can’t hold all of your junk, so remember you don’t need as much as you think!
*** The heaters at least in B&B’s are on timers!!!!! so they shut off automatically during the night unless you let your host know that your freezing your buns off!!! Duvets are awesome at keeping you warm ***
9. While in Scotland….(or anywhere for that matter)
- Be respectful!!
- Clean up after yourself!
- They say HIYA and Lovely a lot, you will pick on this in no time.
- Follow the rules, that means if is says no pictures its means no. Lots of these old artifacts at castles get damaged from the flash photography.
- Don’t touch if it says don’t touch. You dirty hands could damage a 500 year old relic.
- Enjoy the atmosphere 🙂
- Be careful watch out for the cars on the LEFT hand side!
- Did I mention to be respectful?
- Take as many pictures as you can where you can the country is gorgeous.
- Have fun!!! try the Haggis.. you might like it!
- Don’t forget your converter for electricity.
- That deal you see in the window for just £5 it is really like $6.50 give or take the exchange rate.
- Watch your words and gestures. The peace sign backwards has a whole new meaning and the word bonnie is not just someones name.. it’s actually a nice compliment.
Thank you for reading. If you have an questions about things I did not cover or would like more in depth answers, please send me your comments or suggestions and don’t forget to subscribe to get this site to hear about more interesting adventures!!
See you soon!