A Week in Scotland

 North Bridge connects Old Town and New Town in Edinburgh. The train station runs under the bridge. The buildings in the picture are on the New Town side.

North Bridge connects Old Town and New Town in Edinburgh. The train station runs under the bridge. The buildings in the picture are on the New Town side.

Twenty seven years ago, I did my study abroad in Stirling, Scotland. I’ve been wanting to go back for more than a decade. This year, it finally happened—I just spent a week in Edinburgh, with side trips to Falkirk and, of course, Stirling.

A lot has changed in the last twenty-seven years, and I forgot a bunch more, too. Like the fact that Edinburgh is almost all hills. Stirling, too, is a giant hill. Falkirk wasn’t exactly flat, either. On one day in particular, I climbed the equivalent of 18 flights of stairs. No wonder everyone looked so good in tights back in the day!

I stayed in the Old Town section of Edinburgh, in a hotel just down the street from the train station. Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood Palace, the National Museum of Scotland—all were mere blocks away from my hotel. Across the bridge from my hotel was the New Town section of the city. But the name is really a misnomer—it’s not all that new. That part of the city dates back to the 1760s. I did some exploring there, too—especially Princes Street Gardens.

 The Kelpies

The Kelpies

I loved being surrounded by old buildings and old cobblestone streets, but my absolute favorite site that I saw was the Kelpies. The Kelpies are giant metallic horse-head statues. They’re in Falkirk, part of a giant park complex called The Helix. The statues honor the horses that used to pull boats through the Forth & Clyde Canal, which borders the park. They are amazing to see in photographs—and even more impressive in person. They’re the one thing I would love to go see again.

I’ve posted more pictures from my trip—castles, churches, and palaces—in the gallery here.