MIA: Where I have been the past month

It’s been a while since I lasted posted anything here and thankfully it’s not because I haven’t done anything interesting.  I have been to Inverness in Scotland, caught up with one of my friends Jamie and did some touristy stuff around Edinburgh and visited Germany! Oh and not to brag but I did visit some very important Harry Potter (and Skyfall but who cares about that when Harry Potter is an option!) filming locations  As well as some other boring stuff such as working.

Inverness

We stayed in part of a castle booked on Airbnb.  If you haven’t used Airbnb I would definitely recommend using it.  Click here and you should receive some credit to use on your first booking (full discloser – I also receive credit to use on my next trip if you book something).  There’s some really cool places to stay, such as castles or if you want something cheaper you can always stay in someones spare bedroom.

In Inverness we took a bus tour with Jacobite Tours from the city to Loch Ness where we got on a boat to Urquhart Castle.  Did we see Nessie?! Well, I’m not suddenly super rich from getting a photo of the illusive monster, so the answer is no.  I did however convince Jamie that we could see Nessie driving past Loch Ness a few days later.  I would definitely recommend seeing Urquhart Castle and doing a bus tour with these guys. It was only 2.5 hour
s but we got heaps of information from the driver and saw some other things that we wouldn’t have done on our own.

The other exciting thing we did in Inverness was a whiskytour of the Glenmorangie Distillery.  Now neither Ryan nor I like whiskey but it is extremely interesting learning how its made and if you like whiskey you get a free sample at the end!
Road trip through the Great Glen

Road trip via The Great Glen

Harry Potter filming Location, Scotland
Glenfinnan Viaduct

So on our way home from Inverness we picked up Jamie from the train station and decided to take the scenic route home via the Great Glen.  I thought Loch Ness was incredible but this was even better!

Glenfinnan Viaduct
Dumbledores final resting place

 

 

 

 

 

 

We visited the Glenfinnan viaduct which was made famous in the Harry Potter films and some other locations seen in the films such as Dumbledore’s final resting spot.

This route includes driving past Scotland’s highest mountain – Ben Nevis and some other breathtaking scenes such as Glen Coe.  Definitely the best road trip I’ve ever been on in terms of scenery.

Germany

So Jamie and I flew to Munich and Spent 3 nights there and then we parted ways and I took a extremely early train to Hamburg and Jamie went to meet another friend in Stuttgart.

Concentration camp
Dachau

In both cities we did a free walking tour.  These are really good for getting your bearings in a city and finding out what places you want to have a closer look at later.  The guide does not get paid a salary – only what they earn in tips – which means they put a lot of effort into making the tours both interesting and informative.  Jamie and I enjoyed our free tour so we decided to do a paid tour of the concentration camp Dachau the following day.

Now concentration camps happy places to visit but they are very eye opening. It is hard to understand what people went through from reading books but seeing it is completely different.  I wouldn’t say I enjoy visiting these places but from an educational perspective, it is something everyone should visit at some point in their lives.

Other places worth visiting in Munich include Marienplatz and the glockenspiel and the English Gardens.

Hamburg

I only spent 24 hours in Hamburg but I have a to do list for when I go back.  The port of Hamburg is the largest in Germany and the city has been built around shipping and trade which is probably why I have fallen in love with this city.  You  can see old hooks on buildings next to the canals that were used to get cargo off the boats.  I went on a ferry and got to see a lot of the city this way without paying ridiculous amounts for a boat tour.

I didn’t get a chance to discover Hamburgs music history/culture and I didn’t have enough time to visit the chocolate factory so I am definitely making Ryan come back and visit the city with me.

 

Interesting things to do near Edinburgh

football, soccer, ibrox

So I’ve been doing a few random things around Edinburgh and the surrounding region.  Here’s a few of the more interesting things I’ve done:

Soccer (or should I say football) – Glasgow

I have finally been to a european football match (soccer for those in Australia)!  Oh boy! Was it different to the AFL and rugby matches I have been to at home!

First off, the fans are separated! I think this might just be a Scottish football thing but I could be wrong.  There is a small section for the away team fans which is sectioned off by rows of unsold seats and surrounded by security and when the away team scored and 1 person attempted to jump the barrier to the field, another 12 or so security ran over! It’s not that the fans can’t be trusted but they haven proven they can’t be trusted in the past.

You can’t drink alcohol at the match! I’m not a huge drinker but I definitely enjoy a few beers when attending AFL games back in Australia.  This is only at football matches, rugby fans are apparently a lot more trust worthy and responsible.
soccer, rangers, football club, rangers fc

Besides these few differences, the atmosphere is still amazing and definitely worth going at least once even if you are not a football fan.

Oh yea and the final score for anyone wanting to know – Rangers came back from behind to beat Motherwell 2 – 1.

Greyfriars Bobby – Edinburgh

The most famous dog in Scotland’s history and if you want to know the full story you can find it here but long story short (TL:DR): in 1858 Bobby’s owner died and was buried in the greyfriars churchyard.  Bobby remained loyal to his owner and stayed by the grave, refusing to leave even though dogs were not allowed at the grave site and he was constantly sent away by the caretaker.

dog, Edinburgh, golden nose, tourist

Dog, statue, Edinburgh, gold nose

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Popularity for Bobby began to grow and people rallied for the dog to stay at the gravesite and Bobby stayed there, leaving only for food, for 14 years until he died.

Wallace Monument – Stirling

tower

This big tower thing << is known as the Wallace monument.  Locating in Stirling, Scotland which is about a 45 minute drive from Edinburgh.

I’ve been told you can get pretty spectacular views from the top of the tower but not when it is snowing.

There is 246 steps to the top. Yes we did count them.  Yes we did lose count and have to ask how many steps there were but that is not important.

There’s three different chambers in the tower which contain information on the monument and Sir William Wallace.  If like me you are not super into history, these chambers make good rest stops on the way up!

snow, black and white, pose, cold

 

First stop Edinburgh

Scotland, Castle, couple

Edinburgh Castle

Legend has it that if a student visits Edinburgh Castle they will end up failing their final exams.  Good thing I’m no longer a student, Ryan however, decided to throw caution to the wind and show me the castle despite being in his final semester at uni.

We decided to take a guided tour of the castle as I find those audio headsets they rent out to to be extremely boring although informative.  Our tour guide Lesley was amazing! She was highly entertaining as she showed us around the castle grounds and managed to teach us a few things.

  • The land that can be seen across the Firth of Forth is in fact Scotland.  We already knew this but you would be surprised at what people have previously asked, with many thinking it is England, France, Finland, Norway and even America.
  • St Margaret’s Chapel is the oldest building in Scotland and was the only building remaining that was not destroyed by Robert the Bruce as he thought it was wrong to destroy a place of god
  • For those Star Wars fans out there, one of the stained glass windows in the chapel looks like Obi-wan Kenobi obi wan kenobi, stained glass window

The castle has been used to house prisoners of war.  The water surrounding the castle was unsafe to drink so the prisoners were given beer and cider as part of their rationsEdinburgh castle, prisoners of warOink

A short walk from the castle is a shop called oink.  Everyday they roast an entire Scottish hog from their own farms and serve it on rolls with your choice of stuffing  and sauces and it is definitely worth a visit – I made Ryan take me back for another roll a few hours later!

oink
It may not look like much but it is delicious!

roast pig, oink, crackling, pork