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My Trip to Scotland
Bagpipes, men in skirts, and haggis, myths and legends from centuries ago; clan competitions and visiting the Scottish highlands where Harry Potter and Brave Heart were filmed, what's not to love about Scotland?
A land with a strong national identity, a Scottish culture that you can still experience all over the place when you visit even today.
We traveled from Hawaii to Utah to pick up Dad, then from Salt Lake City to Boston, Boston to Paris, and Paris to Edinburgh, Scotland. After about 20 hours of flying, we made it!
Just as a side note, my father went sky diving for his 80th birthday, so for him it was like a walk in the park (he did better than I did with my bum knee).
In 2009, I had the chance to travel to Scotland with my father and my husband. It had been a life-long dream for my father, who was in his eighties.
The Clan Anderson, from which we descend, is otherwise known as the MacAndrew family meaning the 'son of Andrew'. My great-great grandfather was born in Baillieston, which is a suburb of Glasgow, Scotland We were blessed to be able to visit the area where he was raised.
My ancestors left Scotland, and followed the Mormon pioneers across the plains to Utah in the 1800s. My grandparents settled in Sanpete County, and raised sheep. Both of my Anderson grandparents went to university. My grandpa taught school for many years, but still raised his sheep on the farm, along with chickens and a lovely flower and vegetable garden. I have happy memories of visiting with them.
My favorite thing we did in Scotland was to visit the castles. I think we might have visited ten, and I was up for more, but my father and husband had seen enough.
With over 15,000 buildings listed as "historic" and a huge castle dominating the skyline, Edinburgh is capital of Scotland. The Royal Mile is a street downtown Edinburgh which leads up to the Edinburgh Castle. The road is made of cobblestones and is quite a steep climb. It is full of museums and quaint shops and restaurants. We stopped at one fish and chips place and was surprised at the size of the fish they served with long fries. An their tartar sauce was amazing.
James VI was born at the Edinburgh Castle. He later became James I of England and united England and Scotland under one crown. There are still life statues in the castle depicting the many royal affairs that occurred there. There is also a dungeon, royal crowns and scepters, and even the royal jewels. Outside in the yard, there are cannons with real cannon balls, and you can get a great view of the city below. There are buildings dating in the 1500s that have been preserved and restored. The architecture includes intricately carved stones.
Second to the castles, I would have to say I loved the Scottish highlands. From Edinburgh to the highlands is a drive of about two hours. We traded our timeshare in Las Vegas, Nevada for a timeshare up in the highlands. It was an older building set up against a mountain and overlooking an incredibly beautiful lake. As we drove on the winding road to our accomodations, there were plenty of rolling hills with flocks of sheep and beautiful wild flowers everywhere. There are forests with moss growing on the trees and even ferns, which we see in Hawaii, but didn't expect in Scotland.
We loved listening to the local radio stations as we drove, and trying to make sense of it all. The Scottish dialect is a wee bit different than American English, and they have their own terms for many things, so we had to listen intently to get the drift of things. Scottish Gaelic is similar to Irish. We found that the language changed depending on where you were from in Scotland. We used Sterling pounds as coinage, but visa was also accepted at most places.
Because I am a flower lover, I totally enjoyed visiting several of the gardens of Scotland. One particular one, called the Butterfly Garden stands out to me. I was in heaven with all the varieties of trees, plants and flowers.
Have you been to Scotland?
Probably next on my list of favorite things to do in Scotland would be to ride in the double deck buses. You could see so much better from that high up, and we didn't have to worry about driving on the opposite side of the road than we were used to, or maneuvering our car around the roundabouts at many intersections.
You could see the amazing cathedrals, lush parks and interesting people from top of the high buses.
My Scotland Memories - all pictures by me, Elayne Kongaika
After being in Scotland, I thought of the sacrifice my ancestors made as they left their beautiful land and ended up in the desert land of Utah. I'm so glad I got to visit this incredible place, and hope to be able to return again some day.
Surprise, surprise! We thought we were going to visit the land of our forefathers, the Clan Anderson, but we also found that some of my husband's clan hails from Scotland too. His mother's father's name is Brown, (Scottish Brun) and we found that his great-great grandfather lived in Scotland!
It is good to have at least one thing checked off from my bucket list, but it has made we want to visit several other countries, including Ireland, England, and many others.
We purchased some plaid scarfs and hats. There were many people walking around in their kilts and some sharing their talents on the bagpipes. What a fun magical place Scotland is!