Scotland: I Made A Reindeer Friend

My trip to Scotland was jam-packed with adventures, so I had to break it up into multiple posts! Check out parts ONETWO and FOUR!


Yep, you read that title right. I MET REINDEER.

Being from the hot and muggy south of the United States, I never, ever imagined that me, a girl who has only never seen more than four inches of snow at once in her life, would get to meet real live reindeer.

Thankfully, my feet were no longer killing me to the point where I couldn’t walk, so I was able to join my group as we went to the Cairngorm Reindeer Centre at the Cairngorm National Park in Scotland.

We spent another few hours on the bus (see post number two for photos), stopped for lunch, and arrived at Cairngorm Mountain for the hike to the reindeer. I had a lot of faith in myself and my blisters, and I was so excited to meet reindeer, I think that helped in my walking ability a lot more than I think.

Once we made it to the reindeer enclosure, I caught a glimpse of the creatures that I had thought were fictional until I was eleven. REINDEER.

It was an experience I can’t even begin to describe. Being surrounded by the Scottish Highlands, getting to hand-feed reindeer, pet them, and take selfies with them…reality seemed suspended for the hour we spent with those reindeer.

Please enjoy the multitude of pictures I took with reindeer, of reindeer, of my friends with reindeer, and of the scenery. (I know you can’t see my face in a lot of them but it’s okay…I was in the midst of discovering a life dream that I never knew I had.)

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The first glimpse we got of the REINDEER. (It’s been over a week and honestly I’m still as excited about it as I was the day it happened.)

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Colin’s attempt to befriend the reindeer. Needless to say, it didn’t exactly work.

 

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JUST LOOK AT THIS VIEW (and ignore that it’s mildly blurry, my camera was acting up that day).

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My new best friend and I hanging out in the Scottish national park.

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Honestly I think feeding a reindeer was something that was never on my bucket list but it should’ve been. CHECK!

I didn’t intend for this to become such a photo-heavy post, like the last one, but y’all. REINDEER.

You know what they say, a picture is worth a thousand words? I have about a million words to use to describe my experience hanging out with reindeer, so those pictures are going to have to do the trick.

Stay tuned for my final post from Scotland, which will include my hunt for Nessie at Loch Ness!


lydia.

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Scotland: Landscapes

My trip to Scotland was jam-packed with adventures, so I had to break it up into multiple posts! Check out parts ONETHREE, and FOUR!


I promised I would be back with more Scotland posts! Since I’m writing them all after the fact, it’s going to be more difficult to make it feel like one narrative. But I’ll do the best that I can!

We left off on Friday, on the bus to Oban. Like I said in the last post, the drive through the Scottish Highlands provided some of the most beautiful landscapes I had ever seen. Honestly, there’s no better way to describe this scenery than with photos. So, this will  be a very photo-heavy post.

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While not all of these were taken on the same journey, they were still all from the different bus rides we took. Regardless, gorgeous (and shoutout to me for getting decent pictures while on a moving bus).

That’s pretty much it. It was an amazing view, and it was basically four hours long. I’ll be back soon with the next post about Scotland! Stay tuned!


lydia. 

Scotland: Limping Through Edinburgh

My trip to Scotland was jam-packed with adventures, so I had to break it up into multiple posts! Check out parts TWOTHREE, and FOUR!


If you’re friends with me on snapchat (@beinglydia), or follow me on instagram (@put.a.lyd.on.it), you know that I just spent four days in Scotland with my program. In the simplest terms: it was one of the most incredible experiences of my life.

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I have to break this up into multiple posts because there is just way too much to talk about. I didn’t have my computer with me, so I have to write about all of it after the fact. I’ll try to put every tiny detail I can remember in, because it was so wonderful.

Wednesday

First things first, I woke up on Wednesday morning with the biggest blisters I have ever had. They were basically the entire ball of my foot (on both feet) and absolutely painful. I couldn’t walk, and I was in so much pain, I couldn’t believe it. I honestly didn’t even think I was going to be able to make it to Scotland, I was in so much pain. So I basically spent the entire day laying in bed and soaking my blisters in epsom salts. I packed my bag as simply as I could and went to bed early (I had to get up at 6:15 the next morning).

Thursday

Waking up at 6:15, my feet not feeling any better than they had the night before, I made my way down to the lobby in order to get to the train station with my group. Thankfully King’s Cross is only about three blocks from where we live, so I figured I could do the walk and then sit down on the train for the next four hours and not stress about my feet.

Clearly, I should never go into a job as a psychic because that is not what happened. After limping as best I could to King’s Cross (while also dragging my somehow overpacked suitcase behind me), our train was delayed just enough for my friend Madeline and I to think that we could grab something from Starbucks. Just before we got to the register, I turned around and noticed that our group was gone. We dropped our un-purchased items and bolted to where we had left our suitcases.

To say we had started the day off on the wrong foot was an understatement in more than one way.

We did make it on the train in enough time, just without the snacks we wanted. It was a shorter ride than I thought mostly because I was dreading the walking tour waiting for me in Edinburgh, but also because I slept a good portion of the train ride.

We arrived in Edinburgh, made our way to the hostel, and were given an hour to grab lunch before meeting back at the train station for the walking tour I was dreading so much. My feet were still absolutely killing me and it seemed like there was nothing I could do about it and no one who would care even in the slightest. After taking far too long at lunch, we had about a mile to trek in less then 10 minutes in order to make it in time for the walking tour. I ended up losing my friends because my blisters had me going so slowly, and by the time I caught up with the tour, I had ended up running on my blisters and was in tears from the pain.

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JK Rowling’s handprints

Bless Kimberly, one of the IES chaperones who walked (limped) with me through the entire two hours of the walking tour. It was a wonderful tour, and I wish I could’ve had a better experience when in Edinburgh. The highlights of the tour were, of course, The Elephant House Cafe (where JK Rowling wrote a good portion of Harry Potter), the graveyard where JK Rowling got many ideas for characters names in Harry Potter, and so many more places.

After the walking tour, we ended at Edinburgh Castle. It. Was. Stunning. I honestly have no words for the view from this castle. It was completely marvelous I am honestly running out of adjectives to use to describe how amazing Edinburgh was. I still couldn’t walk very much (or very well), so I mourn the amount of the Castle I was unable to see (prison cells, crown jewels of Scotland, and so many other areas). Of course, the highlight of the castle was the Scotch whiskey tasting. The Castle has their own whiskey, and it was delicious. I bought myself some and felt like a real adult buying alcohol that wasn’t cheap. I also got a shot glass for my international shot glass collection (it’s a long story).

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The view from Edinburgh Castle. So so beautiful.

Again, I honestly wish I was able to walk around more (specifically up more stairs), and see more of the beautiful views that this castle had to offer, but I began feeling my feet forming new blisters (because of the weird way I had to walk in order to reduce the pain), and I knew I needed to quit moving. I sat on a bench for a while and just enjoyed the views that the castle provided. I honestly can’t put into words how beautiful this place was. I hope the pictures can even provide you a tiny glimpse of how amazing this place is.

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My selfie from as far to the top as I could get of Edinburgh Castle. Please enjoy lol.

Once we left the castle, we walked about a mile and a half (if my feet weren’t already killing me, they would be at this point) back to our hostel. Once we got back, I got in my bed and pretty much didn’t get up until the next day. I did get up to shower and put antiseptic cream on my feet. But then I pretty much passed out. It had been an incredibly long day with the best views (and some of the worst foot pain) I had ever experienced.

Friday

Our second and final day in Edinburgh, Friday was no improvement in how much my feet hurt. We had free time pretty much the entire morning, and most people opted to hike Arthur’s Seat. I wanted so badly to join them, but I knew that the last thing I needed to do was make my feet hurt any worse. Besides, we had a big hiking day coming up on Saturday, and I knew I needed to save my energy.

I ended up sitting at the hostel for a while, reading my book. I did make my way to a grocery store to restock my already huge collection of blister bandages and first aid supplies.

Eventually, we all loaded onto the bus that would become our home for the next three days, and I ended up in a seat all by my lonesome. It was kind of nice though, because it allowed me the chance to sleep on the bus if I needed to.

We had a four hour bus ride ahead of us to Oban, where we would have some of the most amazing scenery I have ever seen in my entire life.

With that, I’ll end this post. Not to end on a cliffhanger or anything, just because it’s really illogical to try and cram four days of Scottish adventures into one post. I’m going to break this up into a couple other posts, so keep an eye on my Facebook, Twitter, your email, or however you follow my blog for the next post about my amazing long weekend in Scotland!


lydia.