Day 3: Loch Ness

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After a good night’s sleep at Inverness, we hit the road to see if we could catch Nessie before the sun set!  The drive was absolutely beautiful, featuring tunnels of trees decked out in fall colors and plenty of sunshine.

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We also saw a ridiculous number of rainbows throughout our journey.

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On our way through Loch Ness, we visited Urquhart Castle, which had a fascinating, albeit depressing history.  We got the grand tour and the weather was honestly pretty great considering the season.  Our tour guide was hilarious.

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On the way out, we spotted a highland cow!  I love how furry they are.

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Our next stop was the adorable town of Fort Augustus, which was greener than green and full of rustic charm.  I fell in love with this Nessie sculpture!

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Oh, look.  Another rainbow.

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The views of the Loch were picture perfect.  Fun fact:  loch is just the Gaelic word for lake.

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Pretty fall colors and fabulous friends.

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After a hearty dinner (and a little Scotch whiskey!) at a local pub, we took off for our final destination for the night: the Isle of Skye.  We checked in to our cozy Airbnb, which reminded me of Clue for some reason.  I absolutely loved the plaid carpet!  It was the perfect place to pass the night chatting, snacking, and playing board games.

 

Day 2: Coastal Views

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After a short and sweet visit to Edinburgh, we headed out early Monday morning to check out some of the small Scottish towns along the coast on our way up to Inverness.  It was our first real day of driving and we were excited to see what would present itself along the way.

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We first stopped in the tiny town of Perth to check out Scone Palace, but it ended up being closed, which was a bummer because I wanted some scones.  Still, we stopped to stretch our legs and goof off at a local playground.

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Our next stop was the coastal town of Arbroath, where pretty much everything looked like it belonged on a postcard.  We pulled over by the marina for a picnic lunch before exploring the town.

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Speaking of which, yum!!  Going to a huge grocery store with so many options made me feel like a kid in a candy store with a credit card.  I didn’t even know where to start!  My mouth was watering at the sight of so many things I’d forgotten.  That cranberry sunflower bread in the top right corner was legit.

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After lunch, we walked around the town center, where we saw this beautiful abbey from the 12th century.

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We took one last glance at the sunset before quickly heading to our final destination for the day before running out of light.

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We pulled into one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen in my life.  Seriously…the sky looked like it was on fire.

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And then there was Dunnottar Castle.  This was truly one of the most magical places I’ve ever been.  Bridges, waterfalls, and a crazy sunset all paving the way to an incredible medieval fortress by the sea…needless to say, it felt a little surreal.

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As if all that weren’t magical enough, on the way out, there was another auspicious sighting…

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…THE SUPERMOON!  This picture isn’t the best, but it was pretty incredible in person!  It was so big and orange and effervescent.

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It was a truly unforgettable experience.  After stopping for some Five Guys and peanut butter and jelly cupcakes in Aberdeen, we continued on to Inverness where we proceeded to crash in our Airbnb.

 

Day 1: Edinburgh

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We landed in Edinburgh very late Saturday night, ready to begin our epic road trip.  We got totally lost on the way to our apartment and our gracious friend (who volunteered to drive the whole trip because the rest of us are wimps!) had a bit of a learning curve trying to drive on the opposite side of the road.  We finally made it around midnight and proceeded to collapse in our beds immediately.  It’s not a real road trip if you don’t get lost at least once, right?

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We woke up to the most epic sunrise!!  I can’t remember the last time I actually saw a sunrise before this.  I am very much not a morning person and avoid any reason to be up while it’s still dark, but in the colder months, there are very few hours of daylight in Scotland.  The whole time we were there, the sun rose at about 8:00 and had set by 4:30.

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We walked to the city center and found a cute little breakfast cafe, where my husband was brave enough to try a haggis breakfast roll.  I opted for some sausage and a huge cup of coffee instead.

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After stuffing our faces, we walked over to Edinburgh Castle and made it just in time to see the changing of the guards.  There was plaid everywhere and I loved it!  I was also struck by  how green everything was, despite the cold.

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The castle proved to be quite interesting, especially in the scope of information and activities offered.  I scoffed at the high admission price in the beginning, but really enjoyed myself once I got in there.  Scotland has a fascinating history and culture that seems to be too often overlooked.  For me, the highlight of the visit was the medieval music lecture by Mr. Tribble.  It was a very unique perspective of Scottish history and I really enjoyed seeing and listening to all of the different instruments.

DSC_0032.JPG In addition to the music lecture and the usual tour, the castle also had several cafes full of delicious food,  whiskey tasting, and interesting shops.  It’s not cheap to get in, but it’s definitely worth seeing if you’re in Edinburgh.

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On the way out of the castle, I stumbled upon what is now one of the new highlights of my life.  There was a small owlery that was letting people hold and pet the owls for a small price.  Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a huge Harry Potter fan, and so I could not pass this up, even though it was pouring down rain.  This little guy’s name is Ragnar.  For a brief moment in time, I felt like a real witch.

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The last item on our agenda was to hike Arthur’s Seat, but due to the very unfortunate weather, we pretty much just walked up to it and turned back to civilization because it was dark, freezing, and wet.  We had to settle for a night at the pub.

DSC_0006.JPG  All the same, we fell in love with this magical medieval city and would not hesitate to go back.  It was very charming and full of cozy and friendly vibes…and it was only the beginning!

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Back Again

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I’m finally back to blogging after a nice, refreshing hiatus.  The end-of-term stress and post-election disappointment were really bringing me down, so I decided it was time to take a step back from everything.  I have spent the past week avoiding the internet, NOT working, and road tripping through Scotland with our dear friends.  Needless to say, it was magical and exactly what I needed to feel human again.  I’m not particularly looking forward to heading back to work tomorrow, but I am looking forward to sharing some photos and stories from our most recent adventure, so stay tuned.