Picture a scene from "Braveheart" or Disney Pixar's "Brave." Do you see the green lush grasses and rocky mountainous landscape? What about the green plaid kilts? Do you hear the native tunes of the Scottish bagpipes? 

Stepping off the train today was like stepping into a movie. From the minute I walked out of the train station and on to Princes Street I knew I was in Scotland and I was going to love every minute of it. Men in kilts stood on the street corners playing the bagpipes welcoming tourists to Scotland. It was awesome. 

This was my second weekend trip of the month and I was ready to make the most of it in the next three days. 

Today started off with a four-hour train ride from London to Edinburgh, Scotland with six other girls. I slept for most of the ride and every now and then I woke up to catch a glimpse of the beautiful countryside blurring outside my window. 

Our first stop once in Edinburgh was the tourist information center, go figure. I grabbed all the brochures I could so I could scout out all the options for my weekend. I wanted to see what there was to do. 

Next, we listened to the call of our grumbling tummies and found lunch since we couldn't check into our bed and breakfast until 2 p.m. We found this pub called "The Red Squirrel." Our waitress had a thick Scottish accent so I was immediately intrigued. I love accents so I was really trying to listen to her pronunciation. Anyway, I ordered a delicious chicken pesto sandwich. Lauren ordered the same thing, but somehow she managed to keep her sandwich together and her plate clean. I was not so lucky. My sandwich kept falling apart and pesto was oozing onto my plate (which was a slab of wood).

I pulled out all the brochures from earlier and we all began rummaging through them looking for anything interesting. I found a few things, but they were all in the Highlands so I couldn't do them. 

By the time we had finished lunch it was time to check in. We grabbed our suitcases and continued our search for our bed and breakfast. 

Of course, we got lost on the way--I mean we were in a different country so getting lost was to be expected. Lauren asked a lady on the street for directions so we quickly found our route. I felt bad for the girls with rolling suitcases because the brick and cobble stone streets were not easy to navigate, especially with luggage. I was carrying a backpack so I could easily maneuver around the people as we walked. We turned down this one street and ended up in the ghetto. It was gloomy, deserted and graffiti colored the building walls. I was a little worried to say the least. I mean here were seven girls who were clearly tourists with luggage ripe for the taking. I was just praying that we made it to the bed and breakfast and that they had our reservation!  

As we passed house after house, my heart raced with anxiety. We were out of the city and in a shady part of town. Plus, this was my first time booking a hotel in another country so if it didn't work out it would be all on my head. 

Finally, we spotted the Menzie's Guesthouse sign. A man was standing out front to welcome us to the house. It was a stone two story building with a quaint little garden out front. Inside, pink walls with shimmering chandeliers created an antique Victorian feel.

Our room wasn't ready yet so we dropped off our luggage and began our next adventure: finding Edinburgh Castle. 

Walking back to the center of Edinburgh was a lot easier without all of our luggage plus we had a general idea of where we were going. Finding the castle was pretty easy. I mean it is a huge castle sitting on top of a hill overlooking the city so it was hard to miss. 

Entering the castle gates was like going back in time. We were surrounded by stone walls and canons that were protecting us from invaders. Edinburgh Castle is the oldest building in Edinburgh and is an iconic Scottish attraction. We ended up touring the castle just in time to catch a free guided tour. This was great because we had a Scottish guide walk us around the castle telling us the history and stories of this famous landmark. We saw the Scottish crown jewels and Queen Mary's chamber where she gave birth to Prince James who later became King of England in 1603. We also saw the prisons where prisoners of war were kept and the memorial hall for Scottish soldiers who have died in battle. I don't know much about Scottish history, but it was really interesting walking around the castle and learning of this nation's culture and history. 

Next, we walked down the famous Royal Mile right outside the castle looking for souvenirs. Once we reached St. Giles Church we were pretty tired and decided to head to Princes Park to rest. 

Sitting on the green grass with my eyes closed, I could hear the sound of bagpipes floating around me. We sat for about 30 minutes laughing, talking and watching the seagulls fly overhead. Then we found a pub for dinner. 

The pub was crowded and really not that good. It was really strange because when I ordered water they asked for my ID. After dinner we all split up. I went with Lauren, Jennifer and Kayla to climb Calton Hill while the others went back to the room. 

Again, we got lost on our way to the hill and ended up in another shady part of town, but eventually we found the hill. 

I feel like I say this a lot but the view from Calton Hill was unbelievable. Calming blue waters with scattered islands meshed with the city of brown, gray and tan rooftop houses. I immediately popped out my camera and tried to capture this beauty. 

Calton Hill is the home of an Athenian acropolis which was meant to be a replica of the Parthenon in Athens as a memorial to honor those who died in the Napoleonic Wars. The acropolis was never finished however. Jennifer, Kayla and I braved climbing on top of the columns while Lauren took our pictures. Just like at Trafalgar Square I had to have someone help me up. For the next 10 minutes or so the three of us became camera hogs and we did pose after pose on this beautiful monument.  

Then we walked around the hill looking at the panoramic view of Edinburgh. We ended up meeting this Italian guy who saw me act like I was flying for a picture. He came and talked with us for a while and we had our picture with him. Having a camera in your hand opens the doors to meeting new people for sure. On this trip I have had to ask so many people to take my picture and we end up in a conversation; it's been great. 

As the sun set over Edinburgh, we made our way back to the bed and breakfast. Since we had given our only key to the other girls, we had to stand outside the house yelling for them to let us in. Thankfully, they heard us and we got in without a problem. Claiming our beds, we all unpacked our suitcases and got ready for bed. As I fell asleep, I couldn't help but be excited for day two!


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    I'm Kasi Dickerson. Journalism is my passion. I'm a big family person, love to travel and I laugh all the time.


    July 2013
    June 2013