A Scottish Fairy Tale

In the season of holidays, I would like to share with you my experiences on a recent holiday to Scotland. In my mind I have always associated Scotland with lush green meadows, proud heroic people and enchanting castles. What I discovered proved those assumptions and much more.

The flight to Edinburgh from London Heathrow was about an hour and a half long.

After the pleasant evening flight, we landed to a very cold, windy weather.

It was late September but I would happily change my autumn trench coat to a winter jacket if I could. During the short drive to the hotel, I was staring out of the taxi window in the dark night to get my first impression of this prominent city.

What I noticed from the first glimpse was that there was space and air –

broad streets, open squares and large houses, opposing the densely populated towns in England with the scarcity of space and excessive construcion.

The first day of our visit was rather gloomy and cold and we decided to devote it to

a visit to the Royal Yacht “Britannia” – the former royal yacht of the British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, in service from 1954 until 1997.

It was used both for formal visits and for celebrating special occasions, such as honeymoons, birthdays, gala dinners, etc. Though ships and marine travel have never been my area of special interest, I was fascinated to see Queen’s bedroom cabin, prince Charles and Diana’s bedroom for their honeymoon with pictures of them as a happy couple, as well as the exquisite dining room for special guests of the Queen.

I could imagine what it was like to have negotiations over the long, dark wooden table and the numerous objects hanging from the walls, which were presents from all parts of the world, from the Far East to Oceania, providing sensation of diversity, acceptance and importance.

Apart from the fancy cabins of the Royal Family, the tour gave us a proper understanding of what life on the ship looked like,

while exploring the silverware room with all the silver cutlery being polished regularly, to the ship pub for the marine officers, laundry room, engine room and the sailors dormitories, still with pictures of their families, favourite objects such as Rubik’s cube and posters of popular groups from the 80-ties and 90-ties.

It was like a time machine,

merits such as noble spirit, duty, precision, courage and the idea of looking after the entire household of such important guests on this vessel at sea were infusing the air.

The second day was a mixture of activities in the open and cultural events.

After having big breakfast, we headed to climb Arthur’s Seat – a majestic green hill, providing excellent panoramic views of the city of Edinburgh. Despite the leisurely climb with regular breaks, the hiking was a bit challenging for me, especially without appropriate sports gear.

However, after reaching the peak and despite the extremely strong wind, the view from the top was astonishing.

Blue sky with fluffy clouds, lush greenery, beautiful medieval buildings and serene dark blue sea in the distance. The feeling of reward for the hiking at the sight of the pretty nature reminded me of the satisfaction when we climb the hills of life – overcoming winds and getting tired by all of it – but if we don’t stop and keep going, eventually we’ll get to the top and experience the deep gratification from the view and the worth of our efforts.

Being refreshed by an afternoon cappuccino in one of the many lovely coffee shops in the city centre, we headed to the next symbolic landmark of Scotland – Edinburgh Castle.

Perched on a brown hill, Edinburgh Castle looked almost surreal, it’s strategic situation makes it visible from many points in the city and it’s like a compass helping you locate where you are. Walking uphill in the changing weather that day, we reached the castle in light rain, however, quickly swapped by sunshine and a beautiful rainbow. We visited the National War Museum of Scotland and Scottish National War Memorial there, which reinforced my understanding of a nation of rebellious warriors, fighting for their values and justice on life or death. The castle itself, which was a pivotal point in Scottish history, had its impact on me.

As a sensitive person who feels rather distinctly people’s and place’s energy, I felt a very dark and dense feeling when entering one of the rooms.

It was the room of Queen Mary of Scots, whose turbulent life involved being kept a prisoner for years and ended with decapitation.

Going around the shops selling Scottish symbols like tartan clothes and kilts, though charming coffee shops such as one with wall-paintings, picturing the life of the popular burglar William Brodie, to family-owned restaurants and friendly people, the city of Edinburgh left in me an impression of a big capital city with its cultural places, nicely mixed with the feeling of connection with people and nature, the openness and comfort of a small town. I would definitely love to visit it again.

Now, would you like to share one place you visited where you felt like in a fairy tale, be it abroad or in your home country? I look forward to hearing from you.

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