I’m on my way to Scotland!
I could barely contain my excitement as I was sitting at the train station in Northern Wales. In just a few hours we’d be rolling into the land of Braveheart–where we will probably roam a castle or two, hop along the old cobblestone streets admiring some medieval architecture, and– if we’re lucky–catch a rare glimpse of Loch Ness, the world’s most famous Monster.
I was beyond excited.
My friend Al and I had just spent a few awesome days in Northern Wales (Llandudno) visiting Al’s Aunt. His mom was born in Wales but moved to Canada in her 20’s to work as a doctor in the Yukon, and never moved back to the U.K. So Al has been to Wales a few times to visit his Aunt and other relatives (sadly, his Aunt has since passed away).
With a couple of days left before flying back home, we decided on the spur-of-the-moment (classic road trip style) to go to Scotland. Well I am part-Scottish so I figured visiting the land of your heritage should be mandatory if you’re in the area–right? Not that anyone needs an excuse to visit Scotland really.
We arrived at the train station in Wales early in the morning and were heading to London first, then to Edinburgh from there. I was still half-asleep but the excitement of going to Scotland was helping to keep me awake. Well, that and coffee. There was no freaking way I was going to fall asleep on the train ride from London to Scotland, that’s for darn tootin’ sure.
While waiting at the London station for our train to Edinburgh we decided to find a good restaurant so we could have a nice English Breakfast as we were starting to get really hungry.
After a good hearty meal, we started to make our way toward the platform to catch our train. We stopped to take a couple of pictures first though as I needed evidence that I’m actually indeed awake in the train station this time. On our last visit to London Al “claimed” I fell asleep on our luggage (no way!) while he went to get our train tickets. (I still don’t believe him).
There was no way Al could talk his way around this kinda evidence.Well, I guess this picture could be photo-shopped but I’d still be standing with my eyes closed which would be tricky for sleeping, right? (Thanks for having my back guys).
We boarded the train and suddenly we were heading due north. Yep, we were en route to Edinburgh! Yipeeeeee….
Just a few minutes later as we were getting further out of London the skies opened up a bit (surprise, surprise!) and we not only did we finally see some blue sky, but the sun came out too. What a treat! After a few days of mostly cloudy weather here in the U.K I was more than ready for a bit of sun. Being an avid sun worshipper, I was a having a tough time with the endless cloudy days here (even though I did expect it).
The sun couldn’t have picked a better time to make an appearance as we passed by the gorgeous rolling hills of the English countryside. Just perfect…
I tried to get a few pictures through the window but with the sun shining right on us it was a wee bit tricky. Who knew I’d have to worry about the sun here in the UK? (ha ha… mostly kidding). And unlike a road trip where you can just pull over to take photos, it’s a wee bit tougher to do that on a train.
Even though the picture (above) is a bit crappy, it gives you a pretty good idea of the scenery we got to see during the 4 1/2 hour-ride to Edinburgh, anyway.
After trying to get a few more good photos (unsuccessfully) I finally asked Al:
“Do you think the conductor would be okay with stopping the train for a few minutes so I can set up my tripod to get a few nice pics of the countryside?” (don’t worry, I was kidding).
“Um…NO!” he replied without even batting an eyelash. He didn’t even look at me to see if I was actually serious. He prefers to play the tricks and practical jokes on me (they almost always work) and definitely doesn’t like a taste of his own medicine (Kook!).
“OMG We’re in Scotland!” I exclaimed excitedly, maybe a minute or so later.
“No, we’re not” He rolled his eyes at me and then added: “Probably not for another hour or so. Maybe more.”
15 minutes later:
“OMG We’re here now. We’re in Scotland!”
“Nope, I just saw a sign for Liverpool. Last I checked, Liverpool was in England. That’s where the Beatles are from. The Beatles are not from Scotland.”
I think he was about ready to throw me off the train (HA HA!). I bet he was wishing I didn’t have as much coffee as I did and I was napping right now instead. He was probably also kicking himself for not grabbing me decaf when he fetched us coffee this morning.
It was definitely time for more coffee, I almost fell asleep a few times but somehow managed to stay awake. Much to Al’s chagrin.
At last! We were in Scotland. The train stopped and I heard someone say: “Welcome to Edinburgh” YAY! We were here.
We grabbed our bags and made our way out of the station. I was exhausted but somehow I was suddenly wide awake.
And completely elated that I am actually standing here in Scotland, the birthplace of some of my ancestors (way way back). (I’m still not gonna try any haggis, though ha ha!)
Check back in a day or two for Part 2: Roaming a Medieval Town: Edinburgh, Scotland! You don’t want to miss out on the rest of this exciting adventure 😉