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Tuesday, August 6

Scotland - The Land of Lochs & Legends

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Note: We recently returned from three MARVELOUS weeks in Europe! Over the next little while, I'll be sharing our adventures with you {as well as some of the things we learned}. We chose to plan our own trip because we couldn't picture ourselves on a tour bus with a bunch of other tourists. Whenever possible, I'll explore the myths & stereotypes that I've always heard & if they are true or not. I'm going to be honest about our opinions & experiences - in doing so, I hope I don't offend anyone.

After weeks of anticipation, it was such a treat to arrive in Scotland at last. This is a land of absolutely majestic countryside.

It is also a place with robust people who are so proud of their heritage & their country. We absolutely loved them! One highlight was going to the Loch Lomond Highland Games. There we took delight in some of the cutest kids I've ever seen performing highland dance. Also part of the games: bagpipe bands, large men throwing heavy things around, tug-of-war competitions & lots of other events. 
We stayed with our friends Victoria & Frazer in a suburb of Glasgow {pronounce it "Glas-go" - just drop the "w" or they locals will snicker at you!}. It meant so much to us to have locals show us around & to  see Scotland through their eyes. PLUS, Frazer even played his bagpipes for us. Awesome!

We enjoyed touring the lovely city of Edinburgh {pronounced like a New York City "borough" - not "burg"}. The Edinburgh Castle is really incredible. It is built into the rocks of a cliff; which made it easier to watch for enemy threats. We walked along the Royal Mile, saw the St. Giles Cathedral {make sure to pay the extra donation & see the Thistle Chapel} & enjoyed the Princes Street Gardens
- The clock below {in The Princes Street Gardens} which is completely covered with plants & flowers really does keep time - 
- Bottom L & R: St. Giles Cathedral -
Have I ever mentioned that I love beautiful doors? {Wait - don't answer that!} I'm preparing an entire post about the beautiful doors in Europe & the UK. But here's a few from Edinburgh . . . 
We also saw the Stirling Castle - which is smaller than the Edinburg Castle, but it was really fun to see. And, of course, when no one was looking the boys had to climb the castle wall. 
We made sure to sample IRN-BRU soda {which I think might be the national drink of Scotland} & fish 'n chips.
Our adorable hostess, Victoria, cooked haggis, nips & tats for us - "nips" are turnips & "tats" are potatoes. It was delicious.

Myths & Stereotypes:
  • Scottish food - especially haggis - isn't good. FALSE. I had heard all sorts of nightmare stories about haggis, but we tried it & it was really good. {Victoria says it's important to buy "good haggis" from a quality butcher}. They do often fry their food in Scotland. We even saw candy bars that were battered & fried! Victoria said her dad insists on "chips" {fried potatoes} with almost every meal.
  • The Scottish wear kilts. TRUE! This traditional clothing is an important part of Scottish heritage & is worn on special occasions. Apparently a "true Scotsman" is one who doesn't wear anything underneath under his kilt. I thought it best not to check. Ha ha. Women also wear tartan clothing. By the way, did you know that each family has their own tartan {or plaid} color scheme? 
  • There are vicious little insects like mosquitos in Scotland. TRUE! They are called "midges". I think they only come out around dark. They are smaller than mosquitos & it is said that it is best to sweep them off your skin rather than smash them. The smell of blood allegedly beckons more!
  • Residents of Scotland are English. FALSE. It's important that we understand this before visiting. As my reader Mags put it: "We are definitely proud to be Scottish. Just don't ask if we're English - we don't tend to appreciate it very much". Scotland is technically part of Great Britain, but they like to view themselves as their own country. And some still hope for independence from England. {Hope I got that right!}
  • The unicorn is the national animal of Scotland. TRUE! Click here to learn more. Let that be a lesson to all those naysayers who question the existence of this special beast!
  • Scottish like to fight. ? I don't know enough to answer this. I did hear a joke about Glasgow {which apparently has some sketchy areas} that after they beat you up, they will offer you a ride to the airport. All I know is that the people we met were SO NICE. As usual, I talked to lots of strangers too. {Although they sometimes had a hard time understanding me & visa versa.} I completely fell in love with the people. They are great conversationalists & they are very friendly.
  • The Scottish don't speak English. FALSE. I include this because our friends shared that Americans often tell them, "Your English is very good." LOL. While Scotland does have it's own Gaelic language, it is mostly used in the Highlands. English is widely spoken BUT a Scottish accent is very different from an American accent! Sometimes it can be hard to  understand each other.
CLICK HERE for a video of our Scottish friends copying an American accent & revealing the funny things Americans say to them. Don't miss it!

Want to read more about our adventures? See the links below:


  1. Oh my goodness... I can't wait to read the rest of these! What a great synopsis of Scotland. Wow. What an adventure, friend!!!

    I am SO BUSY. My 3 kids go back to school tomorrow, then maybe, just maybe I will find time to blog or lay on the couch... or use the restroom by myself, lol!

    1. Thanks for your message Jules. So glad you are OK. And I'm glad you liked the Scotland post. Our vacation gave us enough fun memories to last a lifetime.

      Have fun eating those bon bons on the way to the thrift store! ;D

      Warmly, Michelle

  2. Hi Michelle loved your Scottish installment!! I think you might actually be more Scottish than me now - we're very bad about being tourists in our own country snd Ive never been to St Giles or Stirling Castle or a Highland Games!! Plus hubby categorically refuses to wear a kilt I categorically refuse to eat haggis and we are both very much in agreement that deep fried Mars Bars are just wrong. Made me laugh to see you tried Irn Bru - my family wind me up that its how I got my ginger hair. Thanks for the shout out and I think you did get it right - we are a great mixture of proud, feisty and friendly I hope! No fighting though, just good natured banter!!

    I laughed at your myths and musconceptions and your friends video is hilarious - every time we've been in America someone"s said to us "can you just talk I love your accent" although I sound very different to your friends as I'm an Edinburgh girl.

    Hope you get the chance to visit Scotland again.

    1. Thank you, Mags, for taking the time to leave your comment. It made me LOL & I need to LOL as much as possible! Maybe you can change hubby's mind if you tell him kilts are sexy! {At least Americans think so! Ha ha!} Yes, we hope to come back. We love Scotland & it's people - including you!

      Warmly, Michelle


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