Thursday, September 20, 2012

An American in the UK - Scotland

By Syrah Evans

Earlier this year, I decided it was high time for this US citizen to do some more traveling. This time, it was to be the UK. I've always seen and heard lots about the UK, of course. All one need to is mention "I'm going to visit the UK." and 1000 opinions will be heard, some good, some disappointing. Yes, it was time for me to find out myself!

There are many ways to travel once in the UK: I thought at least some of the time, I would travel via rail. But, how best to get from the London area to Edinburgh, Scotland? That's easy. There are several trains each day! The one I decided upon was the overnight Caledonian Sleeper.
The Caledonian Sleeper train
Late at night, I arrived at Euston Station in London where I was met by a female porter who happily directed me to my car and efficient cabin. The cabins are comfortable, come with your own bed, sink, and storage. There are toilets at the end of the car and a passageway to the lounge car. I wondered if the motion or noises of the train would keep me awake but soon found it was nearly time to rise. The train does arrive early in Edinburgh and the porter wakes you pleasantly in time for your cabin tea and shortbread service. Time to depart in the midst of the old city.

Of course, when in Edinburgh, there are several tourist stops that can be made. One I decided upon was Edinburgh Castle.
Edinburgh Castle
The castle is a fine and rather interesting place at the end of the Royal Mile, with much to see in and around the area. The day I was there, it was besieged by rains and many of the usual throbbing crowds were nestled in their hotel rooms. However, a rainproof jacket and umbrella provided all that I needed to enjoy the walk in the rain. The views from the castle are amazing.
Syrah's aerial picture of the city Edenburgh, Scotland
This city, even shrouded in clouds and rain, is beautiful! A fine place that has kept well a sense of its history.

Religious stained glass window of the Queen Margaret Chapel

The Queen Margaret Chapel is considered to be the oldest building in Edinburgh. Built upon black volcanic rock, the chapel is not large, yet is quite inviting. Queen Margaret herself was quite an interesting lady. Born in Hungary, Margaret found favor with Malcolm III of Scotland and was married around 1069. As she is sometimes known, Saint Margaret is remembered today for her beauty, her kindness to all she encountered and her devotion to her faith.

There is so much to see, so much history in just this one city. Alas, one must take their rest and let the day's events collect and settle in. There are several fine hotels within easy walking distance of the Royal Mile. Mine was comfortable in every way yet, I decided to adventure for some breakfast the next morning. A fine Scottish breakfast it should be too! 
Syrah's delicious Scottish breakfast!
One with eggs, ham, tomatoes, toast, and, of course, haggis. I found it quite a tasty breakfast, satisfying yet not overly filling. Just right for another day's adventure. As I walked out the door of the restaurant, I was greeted by sunshine and blue sky. 
Sunshine and Blue skies!
OI Magazine reporter, avatar Syrah Evans
Ah, Scotland! I shall return some day and learn more of your bonnie lands.
Thank you for reading my real life traveling story of my trip to Edinburgh, Scotland.
My name is Syrah Evans, reporting for OI Magazine.
Stay tuned for more of my articles and feel free to comment!

(If you love this article,also read the previous real life traveling story of Costa Rica that Syrah wrote in the August 2009 issue of OI Magazine at this link )