First Stop: Scotland!

{My first British meal of the trip on the train to Jamie's}

Let the summer photo kickoff begin! 

Since I had the whole passport fiasco before I left for my summer internship in Ghana, my itinerary had to be shifted a bit. Unfortunately, some of my time in Scotland was cut short, but I am so grateful for the experience I had while I was there.

My friend Emily and I met a sweet Scottish guy during a road trip to Canada a few years ago. We all kept in touch and I was fortunate enough to be able to visit Jamie on my way to Africa. He was a great host and really went out of his way to show me some incredible parts of Scotland.

He's from a beautiful, little town named North Berwick (pronounced like Berrick..took me a while to pick that up). It's about 30 minutes outside of Edinburgh, separated by the incredible rolling hills of the golf courses. There is so much more of the country I'd like to see, but this was definitely a great first look.

{Being a dork by myself on the train thinking this "light face" was hilarious}

{The Carlisle train station where I had a train switch on the way}

{Jamie picked me up in Edinburgh, but we didn't stay long that day because he had a surprise planned}

{The beach at North Berwick near Jamie's house}

{Just adorable Scottish beachside homes}

{Jamie surprised me by taking me on a boat ride out to Bass Rock}

{He hadn't done this excursion since he was a kid, which made it all the more exciting}

{Foresight for Africa?}

{So, this is Bass Rock. Looks white, right?}

{Welllll, it actually looks white because it's got a ZILLION birds and their poop covering it}

{Oh, and it was FREEZING!}

{It was like a beehive for seagull-esque birds EVERYWHERE}

{Hitchcock Heaven}

{So ugly, right?}

{Yeah, I could live there}

{Jamie was all annoyed that they had the Union Jack waving above the church for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. He swears it's always the Scottish flag. UK Drama!}

{So freakin' precious!}

{That night we headed back into Edinburgh 'cause Jamie wanted to show me a few famous spots}

{The first one was "The Elephant House" where J.K. Rowling wrote most of the Harry Potter books. It was so eerie being in a city that felt like I was really in the Harry Potter stories, let alone going to the cafe where J.K. Rowling actually created the novels. We sat and had a cup of tea inside and pretended we could come up with something as awesome as Harry Potter. Didn't work out too well for us.}

{The bathrooms were COVERED in messages from J.K. Rowling's fans.  She apparently could only barely afford one cup of tea back then, but she would buy one then sit in the cafe all day to write and write.  For all HP geeks out there, ya gotta go!}

{Next, we went to Frankenstein Bar, which apparently has been in existence since 1818. Around midnight, there's a massive Frankenstein that's lowered into the bar and is supposed to freak people out. We didn't stay late enough to see it, but the vibe of the place was creepy enough.}

{The next day, Jamie and I stopped at a gorgeous look out spot near his house so I could snap some photos}

{Then Jamie gave me a brief rundown of the golf courses in the area. There was an international kids pro golfing tournament going on (yes, kids who are insanely good at golf and get to go all over the world to play) so he wanted to avoid the crowds by heading straight to Edinburgh.

{Oh, just your average Scottish parking garage elevator buttons. I thought this was hilarious, Jamie thought I was a weirdo.}

{The Brits think of everything! Little Scottish guard dolls for the Olympics.}

{A mini model of the city}

{My favorite part of Edinburgh was definitely the sneaky little alley ways that wound through the buildings. I reaaaaally wanted to find Diagon Alley, but no dice.}

{SO luxury}

{Jamie had already been into Edinburgh Castle a thousand times, so I went in and got to explore it by myself. I think this castle was one of the coolest things I got to see in Scotland. Castles always have such a unique, historical feel to them. Makes me wish I could go back in time and see what they were like in their prime.}

{Mary Poppins definitely danced on here}

{The foggy mist hovering over the landscapes really added to the charm of the city}

{Scotland's Crown Jewels that belonged to King James V in 1540. It's made of Scottish gold and ornamented with diamonds, garnets, amethysts, and quartz. Oh, and I was

definitely

not supposed to take a picture of it.}

{As you can see from the pictures, the weather in Scotland, especially Edinburgh, definitely emphasized the ominous feel of the architecture}

{Some Scottish slang words made into coasters. They cracked me up.}

{It took so much willpower not to buy these. I'm really regretting it now.}

{This it the Heart of Midlothian. They used to hang criminals here in the 1500s, but now it's common for local passersby to actually spit on the heart and walk far around it. If Jamie hadn't told me, I would've walked right over it. Tourist!}

{Jamie's mom suggested we go to "The Dome" for afternoon tea, which is probably my new favorite time of day}

{We felt like celebrities in this beautiful restaurant that was remodeled from an old bank}

{Tell me that's not the cutest. Tea, champagne, finger sandwiches, scones and cakes.}

{Always remember: pinkies up!}

{Real men wear kilts...or skirts? We debated this for a long time. What is [or is not] underneath is the difference apparently. Ooo la la!}

{We found Katie MacDonald's flat from when she studied abroad!!! At least we think we did}

{Dun dun dun. Good thing I stuck my math in my pocket that morning.}

{The Caves bar was literally made in caves. I feel like I didn't need to say that, haha.}

{Oh, I forgot to mention that this was the start of our pub crawl around the city. I didn't get pictures at all of them cause, well, we started drinking.}

{In KT Mac's honor/honour. Can't forget the "u."}

{Every city usually looks beautiful at night, but Edinburgh really took my breath away when the sun went down}

{I mean, come on! They have castles!}

{On the sad drive to the train station the last day. It was so depressing to leave!}

{It even rained when I left :( . I really didn't want to go.}

It's so cool looking at these pictures again after a few months and remember the awesome time I had in Scotland. Jamie, thank you so much for such a great trip! I'll never forget it and next time I come back I'm bringing MacDonald with me!

 Love always, Kelsey