And bagpipes, Tartan, clans, Hielan Coos, Scotch Whisky… the list goes on! When I started getting into Whisk(e)y, I knew I wanted to visit Scotland. But that wasn’t the only reason, not by far. Knowing my love of Ireland, I was swept away by all the lush and rugged beauty of Scotland. Gaelic music stirs my soul, and I was keen to experience all that bonny Scotland offered in abundance. (Not gunna lie…Outlander might’ve had a wee bit to do with this burning desire, too… But hey – not only do the arts provide an escape from reality, they inspire world travels, culture, self expansion…!)
I flew from Munich to Edinburgh, arriving about 3.30pm Wednesday, Dec 11th, 2019. I picked up my Enterprise rental car (thankfully I’d lived a year in NZ and also done a rental car in Ireland, all driving opposite side of things from USA) and quickly fell back into it. The one thing that did take a moment to come to terms with were the roundabouts – crikey! They’re all quite large, lanes merge into one another, stop lights are involved, and it took a hot second to be able to figure out what was what! But I managed and was happy to have my own set of wheels. There was so much I wanted to explore, and as daylight hours were limited at this time of year (8am-3pm was the far edges of light) I needed as much flexibility as possible to see everything.
Once I got acquainted with the rental, I made a stop at the Gyle shopping center to pick up a 3 Mobile sim card (£15 for 10 gigs, in and out ready to go in 3 min!) and then swung through Morrisons and found out they have a pretty awesome meal deal – side, main, and a drink for £3.50, with plenty of vegan options. Score! Turns out, most groceries in Scotland offer something along these lines, which I found most accommodating 🙂
It was already dark so I headed for my accom for the night – The Grange Manor in Falkirk. The room was basic and the place a bit dated, but the staff were terrific and the shower had great pressure with lots of hot water. The main reason I chose this place is because it’s within walking distance to the Kelpies – the largest equine statues in the world, standing 30metres (98ft) tall.
If you’re not familiar with mythology, Kelpies are shape-shifting water spirits that haunt Scotland’s lochs and rivers. Most often taking the shape of a black horse, they can also transform into human form, but are betrayed by river weeds in their hair and leaving wet hoof-prints where they tread. Children are often lured to their death in lochs by following or riding the horse. Unwitting humans can be entranced by the form of a beautiful woman or attacked by a wild, rugged man by the water.
It was drizzly when I ventured out, but totally worth it! There was no one else around, and I spent 30min admiring and photographing these beauties. But my hands were starting to fair freeze, so I went back for a nice hot shower and some dinner before turning in. Tomorrow was going to kick off my whirlwind Scottish adventure!