The theme of my blog post this week is travel. The things in my day-to-day life have settled down as I’ve found a routine in classes and such.
My first trip was to Oban, the seafood capitol of Scotland, and Isle of Seil. This was through ISUK tours, which I highly recommend. They have day trips you can sign up for every weekend, which helps you get a taste of all the different places in Scotland.
This was a cute town which had several visitor attractions, such as a small castle, (which was unfortunately closed until March) several World War memorials and of course the best seafood. Now if you are like me, you aren’t a huge fan of seafood. I’m particular in that I don’t like see my food in animal form, which really limits me in the seafood category. However, despite my reservations, I decided to be a true traveler and get seafood chowder at a pub. When else would I get the opportunity to try seafood in the best place to get it in Scotland? Probably never. Take these small opportunities, that is my advice, even for something as simple as lunch. My chowder ended up having black mussels in it.
Now I’ve tried black mussels before, against my will, and they were awful, so seeing them placed in front of me again was more than a little disconcerting. But I tried it and they were actually really good. So again, to sort of reiterate my advice, go for it, try that “new” thing, try something that may make you a little uncomfortable, because you know what it just may be worth it.
To further my point: so far, all the best adventures I have been on have been the unplanned things my friends and I have come across in our travels. For instance, on our return from the castle, we came across a random “trail” which led up into the forest. And after accidentally walking on the street to the castle, dodging cars, we decided to be more adventurous and see where the trail led to. The trail led us through a beautiful forest on a hill which overlooked the water. Along this trail we found a fallen tree which had been repurposed as a bench for people to relax on. There was also a makeshift rope swing, which we all took turns playing on.
From here we headed off to Isle of Seil. We were told we were going to be taking a short, easy, leisurely, 15 min hike. Okay. Cool. We were all okay with that. The trail was steep, muddy, and at times too close to the edge for comfort. But the view was worth it. Just look for yourself.
Yesterday I went on another Saturday trip to Aberdeen “The Granite City” and to Stonehaven to see the Dunnottar Castle. For those of my fellow Disney Enthusiasts, this was the castle which inspired the design of the castle in the movie Brave.
The climb down to the shore consisted of some 200+ consecutive steps (yes I counted) down to an entirely rocky shore. But I am determined to touch the water off of every coast I visit, and so far I have.
When we were in Aberdeen we walked with our tour guide Ola around the city and she showed us some important sites. Statues of penguins can be seen around the city as a long time ago, some explorers smuggled penguins back with them to the city upon their return. We came to a square where she explained how the Unicorn is the national animal of Scotland, and how England’s national animal is the lion. Naturally, the enemy of the lion is the unicorn. So many statues of around Scotland have a unicorn and lion somewhere on them to show the historical conflict between the nations. (Perhaps I’ll make a history post later on).
We stopped here for lunch at probably the most interesting pub I’ve been to. Slains Castle used to be a kirk (church) but has since been turned into a horror/devil themed pub. The irony was not lost on me. Their drink list consisted of mixed cocktails named after the Seven Deadly Sins, the Seven Heavenly Virtues and the Four Horsemen.
After lunch we had just enough time to walk to the beach and touch the North Sea. By walk, I really mean run. I’m no runner, but as I have mentioned I have a goal to touch the water at every shore, we booked it to the edge, took a few pictures, touched the water, and ran back to the bus with a minute to spare. Worth it.
The title of my blog post was an ode to The Proclaimers a Scottish band. I’d be surprised if anyone did not know this song. But give it a listen “I’m Gonna Be (500 miles). If you tour with ISUK, You. Will. Hear. This. Song. And you will love it, because how could you not? It was played twice on our trip yesterday and the entire bus was singing along, It was great. Its one of those songs you play on repeat for hours. Get ready.