Attention to our fellow ISHINE365 lovers… If you are a sucker for traveling and all things Wander-“MUST” then you should definitely keep reading. A member from our ISHINE family has just recently returned from what she claims was one of the most memorable journey’s she has ever embarked on. In honor of Wanderlust Wednesday, we took some time to sit down with Samira and asked her a few questions about her trip to Scotland. Scroll down to read more about the places she visited and the experiences that came along with it!
What is the most beautiful scenic view or the best place to play tourist in Scotland?
Scotland has so much history and its structures are so well preserved that you are guaranteed see blocks of original stone buildings that date back to the 1800s in every town you pass through. One place in particular, the city of Edinburgh, was absolutely breathtaking at every turn. Upon stepping off the bus I was welcome by an entire park of trees that were blooming with overwhelmingly beautiful bright pink flowers. Walking through the park, I made my way up to The Royal Mile, a famous mile-long road in the city’s center full of culture and life, a hub for tourists and locals alike. At one end of The Royal Mile, you will find the epic and beautiful Edinburgh Castle, a historic fortress that dominates Edinburgh’s skyline and dates back to the 12th Century. At the other end of The Royal Mile, you’ll find Holyrood Park, which consists mainly of Holyrood Palace, the Queen’s official residence in Scotland, and Arthur’s Seat, which is a hill fort that lies at the tippy top of a dormant volcano and serves as an amazing back drop for all those selfies you plan on taking to make your friends have major FOMO (fear of missing out.) Not to mention all of the other amazing old shops, pubs, and cathedrals that ooze of history and traditional gothic architecture in between. So, spend a day in Edinburgh- visit Edinburgh Castle, climb to the very top of Arthur’s Seat (I promise you won’t be disappointed), and once you manage to roll yourself back down to civilization, treat yourself to a Scottish beer along The Royal Mile.
What was the most memorable part of your trip to Scotland?
All in all, my trip to Scotland was absolutely life changing, but I would have to say that the most memorable part of my trip was climbing all the way to tippy top of Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh’s Holyrood Park. I had seen a photo of Arthur’s Seat when I was doing some research for my trip and immediately decided I needed to go because the 360 degree views of the 15th Centurty-Old city from the top were absolutely breathtaking. When I finally found myself face to face with this massive rocky summit, I took a long deep breath and began to climb. After about 15 minutes of climbing up a steep hillside, I reached a half-way point where I was already able to see 360 views of the city and found myself surrounded by what seemed like endless fields of these bright yellow Gorse flowers. I came very close to cutting my climb short and settling for the lovely views I was getting from the half-way point from the top. After snapping a few photos and resting on the grassy hilltop for a few minutes attempting to catch my breath, I began to wonder why I had initially been so determined to climb to the very top in the first place… immediately, thereafter, I hopped back on my feet and pushed myself uphill toward the top of Arthur’s Seat. Despite the freezing winds that made me feel like my face was [literally] about to freeze off and the increasing difficulty of breathing that came with the change in altitude, I somehow made it to the top. And I must say… the climb was very much worth it. Yeah, I had lovely 360 degree views of the city from the half-way point but you better believe that no view or feeling was as good as the one that I experienced when I finally reached the top of that massive hill. Short story long, you have to remember to always push yourself beyond your limits- take the time to make the climb to the top and your journey will have been without a shadow of a doubt – worth it!
Half-way point to Arthur’s Seat.
Tippy-top of Arthur’s Seat.
What is the best place to grab a drink with friends?
There is one thing Scotland does not lack, and that’s a vast number of pubs. In almost any major town or city you travel through in Scotland you’ll find pubs (with delicious bar food, by the way) lined up all along the streets. Walk into the one with the most character or the one that calls your attention most, and enjoy any of their delicious Scottish brews.
What kind of food did you eat?
The food in Scotland is much different than that you’d find in the States. They have dishes that range from fried Haddock (a white fish, similar to Cod) with a side of roast potatoes (oh, how they love their potatoes) to Haggis… don’t ask what it is… just try it. There were several times I had an overwhelming urge to look up what some of their traditional dishes were actually made of before trying them, but I fought the urge (almost barely) and stepped out of my burger-with-a-side-of-fries comfort zone to experience and embrace the unique flavors that Scotland had to offer me.
What items did you find were necessities during your trip?
Doing a range of different things from hiking up a massive hill top to traveling long distances via trains and buses, I found the most important things are: comfy shoes for exploring, a weatherproof coat for those mid-day rain showers (which came in handy more than you’d think), a camera for those picture-perfect moments, a map for sense of direction, a good book for those long journeys, and above all, the capacity to embrace and welcome with an open mind and heart the new experiences that await you on your journey through this beautiful foreign land.
What advice would you recommend to a fellow traveler?
I would remind my fellow travelers to keep an open mind; be accepting of the culture and traditions of the foreign land you’re about to explore the heck out of and embrace the experiences that come your way. Also, I found that some of the fondest moments from my trip were from when I allowed myself to get lost in a new place and just go with the flow without stressing about all the places I have on my must see list. If you find yourself getting lost in the beauty of one place, don’t rush to leave because you have 10 other places on your itinerary that you must visit before the day is over. Allow yourself to accept, be grateful for, and take the time to soak in all the beauty surrounding you, especially when you feel you’ve made a connection to a certain place- you’ll soon realize that these are the moments from your trip you’ll find most memorable.
XOXO, Samira x ISHINE365.