We left Manchester early and headed north west for Glasgow. The drive was long and tedious. When we arrived in Glasgow, we were welcomed by staff at the hotel and given 2 huge inter-connecting rooms. It was a welcome change as some of the rooms we have stayed in so far have been hit and miss.
Once the kids were tucked into bed, James and I talked about how much fun we were having and how grateful we both are, in these moments. That comment might sound like a humble brag, but please believe me when I say that the last 12 months haven’t been super great for me and I finally feel like I deserve this happiness that I am living. Rewind 9 months ago, and I was terribly depressed and anxious and lost. And there I was, in Scotland, the furthest I’ve ever been from home. I am confident and happy and starting to feel like I’m alive again. And then National Lampoon’s European Vacation came on the TV and it was fate. We turned into bed early, laughing at one of our favourite holiday movies of all time.
After a great sleep, we woke early to venture out and see a little of what Glasgow has to offer before we headed east to Edinburgh. I’ll be honest, it was a little overwhelming. Maybe we walked through some of the not-so-great areas, but I felt pretty unsafe and vulnerable walking around with the kids. We saw whole packs of junkies sitting on the sidewalks, groups of teenage girls on the brink of an all out fist fight, many homeless people, it was quite confronting for the kids too.
We started our drive to Edinburgh and the drive was quick and pretty. We ventured a little out of town to a Sainsbury’s superstore to stock the kitchen for a week’s worth of food. It was so entertaining to walk the aisles, browsing all the different products that we don’t get at home. Finally we checked into our apartment in the ‘Quartermile’ development on the south side of the city centre. Our 2 bedroom apartment overlooked a park named The Meadows. It was green and chilly and quiet, just as I had pictured Scotland to be. Our apartment was huge and we were so grateful for the space. James hooked up our apple TV so we could watch some new shows and the kids could watch some of their favourite cartoons after breakfast.
Edinburgh was FREEZING! Our daily uniform consisted of jeans, jumpers plus jackets. We loved exploring the little cobble streets filled with history. A friend who I attended high school with lives in Edinburgh and she recommend a great family friendly pub, a hair salon where I had all my blue chair chopped off, and other little local secrets.
We drove over to Leith which is right on the harbour. It was a typical Scottish seaside town but the kids missed most of it as they were asleep in the back of the car. We also drove to a tiny town named Rosslyn to view the old chapel which lies in the centre of town. It was magnificent and the kids absolutely loved running around the gardens of the chapel.
Our favourite day in Edinburgh was spent at the National Museum of Scotland. A free museum, it showcases the main national collections of Scottish archaeological finds and medieval objects as well as artefacts from around the world, encompassing geology, archaeology, natural history, science, technology and art. The kids enjoyed every different room we explored, in particular space and animals.
Again, we were spoilt with fantastic facilities in our complex and had several cafes, a Starbucks and Sainsbury’s too. It was a daily struggle trying to get the children into bed every night as the sun didn’t set until well after 10pm at night. Most nights it wasn’t completely dark until 11pm.
We ate crepes from a stand at the top of the park, right next to our apartment. We ate frozen yoghurt too, and shivered as we devoured it. Because that’s how the McKinnon’s do it in Scotland!
On our last day, we drove up to Arthur’s Seat and explored the majestic old volcano and the views over Edinburgh. What a sight to be seen, I highly recommend this to any visit to Edinburgh.
Our last night came around quickly enough, my least favourite day of every destination because it means packing time! We did a big pack in Edinburgh as we planned to drop our Bugaboo Donkey double pram with a friend in London to store for the 3 months duration of travel around Europe. It is the most amazing pram, but so heavy and not practical for the smaller airports, higher baggage fees, and transportation around Europe.
We left Edinburgh around midday bound for a drive along the coastline to Leeds in England. Scotland was everything I thought it would be. Chilly, green, clear air, rich in history, full of character and a lovely place for a family to visit. See you next time Scotland! Thanks for the memories…