Quick Recap of Scotland (sorry for being MIA)
Updated Europe Travel Schedule: Malaga --> Glasgow --> Edinburgh --> Copenhagen --> Krakow --> Warsaw --> Malaga (yup, instead of Switzerland, I'm going to Poland!!)
My first Couchsurfing experience was in Glasgow with Theodora. I wrote a bit about her in the "Human" section of my blog. I will also write a separate post about Couchsurfing in general since I'm on my 3rd couchsurfer and also attending a couchsurfing Thanksgiving dinner in Copenhagen.
Glasgow is a pretty small city and not as touristy as Edinburgh so there wasn't much to do or see. I only had one full day in the city so I guess I don't have a good enough sense but from everyone I've talked to, I was told that Glasgow is more known for its bars and nightlife, which I didn't get to experience. I came in pretty late the first night but most of the roommate weren't back until much later, which shows the hectic schedules they all have. The second night I was there, I stayed in with my host and we talked for awhile, which I really enjoyed so I don't think I missed out on much.
- University of Glasgow
- Beautiful campus! Especially during the fall season, the color changing trees made everything more majestic and cozy. If my school was this gorgeous, I don't think I would ever leave.
- A play, a pie, a pint
- This is something I've only heard about when research what to do in Scotland. Basically during lunch time, you pay an entrance fee and you get a shepherd's pie, a pint of beer (or glass or wine), and a live play performance.
- It's a really neat idea! However, the actor told a lot of Scottish jokes and used Scottish slangs that I had never heard of so half of what he said went over my head. The rest of the audience were laughing hysterically while I sat clueless
- Kelvingrove Museum
- It's free so yes of course I went! It has some really interesting artwork and exhibits regarding Scotland, a lot of history.
- It's a great place to escape to when it's rainy and cold outside
I took a bus from Glasgow to Edinburgh which took about 1.5 hours on Saturday 11/19. The city was so lively when we got there because of all the rugby and soccer games happening that night. It was also why I could not find a single hostel to book, even all the crappy ones were full. So this turned into my second CS experience with Marek! He's a college student so his place is right by the University and he shares it with two other guys. The place was really messy... but I guess it's expected from 3 guys living there. Sorry, this is a bit mean but I wanted to throw up a bit when I saw their kitchen/living room. Don't get me wrong, the guys were really cool! They showed me a great time in Edinburgh and I had a ton of fun staying with them, but I don't think I could live in a place like that for more than 1 night. When we came back from going out, I threw away a lot of their trash and did their dishes lol. I guess it was my payment for staying for free at their place.
I had originally planned a quick trip here during my few days off from Malaga because of the cheap flights and to meet up with Brandon but with all my travel changes, I'm glad I was able to be in this city for a bit longer. For one, the hostel I stayed at wa A-MA-ZING! If anyone is planning to go to Edinburgh, you have to stay at Castle Rock Hostel. Their website is also v dope! At first, the hostel seems a bit daunting since it's so massive, over 60 rooms that can hold up to 16 people. They are booked out almost every weekend so think of how many people are staying there at one time. I normally don't love huge hostels like this because it feels more like a hotel and not a place to meet other travelers. Boy was I wrong! They have so many different activities, amenities, and everything you would ever need to make your stay amazing. If I didn't already have my flight to Copenhagen, I would have loved to stay longer. They planned some event for us every night and it made meeting other travelers and going out really easy.
- Monday night was a Pub Quiz which was so much fun! There were 4 rounds of about 10 questions each and the first place team won a 50 pound bar tab and second place won 25 pounds. Each round was a different topics like general knowledge, music, and one of the rounds was drawing sex positions.
- Tuesday night was learning how to celtic dance! We definitely got our sweat on.
Like I said, I met some really cool and interesting people here!
- Dana: an Aussie girl traveling for 5 weeks alone. We did a hostel scavenger hunt together and got free wine!! She studied criminal justice and wants to do Human Trafficking work.
- Chase: this kids was a character! He's only 19 and has been traveling since he was 18 for more than a year. He's the life of the party. Always buying beers and drinks to share with everyone. In a group, he's the one who makes an effort to talk to everyone and lighten up the room. He's going to keep traveling for as long as possible but is looking to become a diving instructor. Really interested to see where he goes!
- Alicia & Luke: they are the bubbliest and friendliest couple I have ever met! They left their jobs, sold everything in Australia and have been traveling for the past 4 months. They actually want to stay in Edinburgh for a few months so they found an apartment and have started job hunting. They've been together for 10 years but instead of getting married, they are using the money to travel, not a bad path. I really enjoy talking to them since they just light up the room and exude this positive energy.
Although the city extremely beautiful with all of its detailed buildings and cobblestone streets, it did feel a bit too touristy for me but I was also staying right in the center. Also, the weather was pretty brutal. Coming from California and the South of Spain, I was not physically or mentally prepared for the cold. I can't imagine what the middle of winter would be like...
- Edinburgh Castle:
- This is the number one attraction in Scotland but I was cheap and didn't go inside. I just went up to the castle and took pictures so I don't know anything about it... whoops. It's 16 pounds to get in so being a low budget traveler, I decided against it.
- Free Walking Tour
- Max was one of the best guides I have ever had! He is absolutely hilarious and was made to do this kind of job. He made standing in the cold bearable.
- Book a free tour here: http://www.neweuropetours.eu/edinburgh/en/home
- Christmas Market
- They had rides, drinks, book, and a ton of booths selling everything Christmas related. It really brought me into the holiday spirit.
- Arthur's Seat
- This is the highest point in the city but it's a bit of a steep hike/walk up but worth every oz of sweat.
- Come here for the best view in the city!
- National Museum of Scotland
- I'm normally not a huge museum fan but this one was a great surprise! We didn't have a ton of time so we were only able to explore the Fashion and Technology rooms but they were really cool. It's a very interactive museum! Plus it's free hehe
- Calton Hill
- You can also get a great view of the city from up here! A few monuments like Edinburgh's Shame and other ones are here. But besides a nice walk and seeing a few monuments, there's nothing really special about this place.
- Royal Mile
- It's a street with beautiful architecture and tons of shops and restaurants. There isn't much to do on the street but have a nice stroll to appreciate the city
- Harry Potter's Galore
- K Rowling is Scottish and apparently she wrote a few of her books here, so they claim
- There are lot of Harry Potter references all over the city
- Elephant House where people tagged the bathroom walls with everything Potter related
- The graveyard has "Thomas Riddle" and many others
- This is the traditional Scottish food. Haggis is a savory pudding containing sheep's pluck (heart, liver and lungs), minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock. It sounds not that appetizing but it was really hearty (no pun intended), and delicious! They serve it in many ways but we had ours with this white creamy sauce and mashed potatoes. Really delicious!
- Kim's Korean Food
- A Michelin star restaurant! I've been craving asian food so we decided to check this place out. It's a really small family owned restaurant but definitely lived up to the hype. Brandon, a korean, gave his approval and really made me miss asian food in California.