It was sad leaving Isle of Skye, since it was so beautiful. Yet its captivating landscapes faded out for a few more hours as we were on the road to our next big stop: Edinburgh, Scotland. We stopped along the way at Eilean Donan Castle, which one of the castles I had wanted to see… isn’t it so romantic and regal? It’s so isolated in the midst of water and rugged hills, I’m amazed people ventured so far out to build such a place!
Eilean Donan Castle, Dornie
We continued along the journey towards Inverness for the night, the site of the famous Loch Ness and it’s monster, and the castle sitting on it’s shores—Urquhart Castle. Honestly it was raining non-stop that day, and we were freezing, so we went along our way after seeing the lake and the castle. I’m obviously not Braveheart material for hardly being able to handle this cold weather…
Loch Ness & Urquhart Castle
We got to Inverness a couple hours early to check into our hostel, so we walked around the city despite it pouring down. I’m just in love with these pink blossoms everywhere! We had some delicious coffee and chocolate at a shop too, but I have a special post reserved for coffee shops… There are so many old churches and rich history here as well. This actually sparked a long conversation deep into the night as we got to our hostel and dried off, sitting with tea in front of an artificial fire…
Ryan studied church history and is super knowledgeable and passionate about it. I honestly always steered away from it, having a bad view of religion and Catholicism as it’s no secret how it has often been used to suppress people… yet in light of that I was reminded of encouraging truths, thanks to people like Martin Luther and John Knox, who were imperfect people, but were used to continue God’s word of the Bible into our hands today. They stood against the church when leaders spiritually oppressed people from the Bible because they weren’t “qualified” enough to read it, and financially oppressed them by deceiving them into paying them money. Men like this who translated the Bible to pass on God’s freeing word to common people opposed the legalistic, politically and power starved leaders that they were killed by beheadings and being buried alive. I see the churches everywhere here and realize there was so much history of power and politics, bloodshed and struggle, but am thankful for the moments of light and truth, that to this day I’m able to read God’s word and know who He is as a personal God, than have to find comfort in a religion bound by guilt, rules and deception. Anyway that’s another topic… but I had to admit there was more to the story when I see churches than the mainstream generalizations I had in my mind. And there’s more to it than I do justice so I’ll continue on…
I love little towns, and I got my fix when we stopped in Dunkeld. Cute isn’t it? We walked around a couple parks and churches, got some snacks, and headed to St. Andrews—our last stop before Edinburgh.
Again, I’m in love with the scenery en route. I don’t want to forget the patches of pastures and bright yellow fields separated by stone walls and sculpted bush fences… lit by the sun streaming through the dark grey clouds. The pastures are speckled with sheep, and the vast yellow fields make my heart jump when I see them interrupted by a single grand tree. One of my favorite landscapes, and I wish I didn’t have to see it from the highway but could freely wander through them. So far, Isle of Skye has been my favorite, and my second is actually the landscape connecting our stops. I wish I could capture it, even on camera, but above all, I long to wander through it all, lay down a blanket and daydream in the endless bliss.
St. Andrews is a really cool University town, even aside from the cathedral and castle ruins! How beautiful are they though? The castle was destroyed several times actually, and now all that remains are the remnants of it’s stone on the edge of the sea.
St. Andrews Castle & Cathedral Ruins
We finally get to Edinburgh!!! We wandered Old Town mostly—the castle, Royal Mile, St. Giles church—the main sites. We fill our time grabbing yummy street food, and chilling at coffee shops and bookstores. Our favorite coffee shops? Check out this post.
Princes Street Gardens
St. Giles Cathedral
Old Calton Burial Grounds
More of Edinburgh…
We finished the day watching the sunset from up top Calton Hill, where you can see all of Edinburgh. I love view like this!
And to end, one of my favorite pictures from St. Andrews, starring these lovely trees! Miss you all!