Scotland Recap: Edinburgh and Glasgow

Wow, it’s been awhile since I’ve had the chance to work on a non-Real Honeymoon blog post!  We were in Europe for 11 days, and then I spent the past week getting caught up on work and everything we got behind on while we were out of town.  The trip was pretty excellent though, and I would highly recommend both Scotland and Ireland to anyone who’s considering a visit.  It was especially fun to visit both countries in June because it stays light out for so long.  The sun sets around 10:30 pm, which meant we could sleep in late guilt-free and still have plenty of daylight for sightseeing.

Arthur's Seat

In front of Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh

Although Scotland and Ireland are seemingly similar in landscape and culture, I’m going to recap our trip in two separate blog posts because it’s too difficult to lump both destinations together.  As this one’s title suggests, it’s all about our time in Scotland!

So how did we decide on Scotland in the first place?  Our friends were getting married in Ireland, and since I’d been there before we knew that we wanted to go somewhere else, and we didn’t want to travel too far between the two places.  We narrowed down the options to Iceland, Portugal, and Scotland.  We ruled out Iceland once we found out that there are currently no direct flights between Reykjavík and Dublin.  Then a friend happened to mention to us that Bruce Springsteen was going to be on a European tour this summer.  Intrigued, we immediately looked up his schedule, and wouldn’t you know it Bruce had a show in Glasgow a few nights before the wedding.  At first I was a bit disappointed about missing the beaches in Portugal, but once we started talking about going to Panama over Memorial Day Weekend I got really excited for Scotland.

A look up at Edinburgh Castle

A look up at Edinburgh Castle

We had four nights to spend in Scotland, and we chose to do three of them in Edinburgh and just one night in Glasgow.  The two cities are just an hour apart by train.  In Edinburgh we stayed at Angels Share Hotel, a boutique hotel with a nice restaurant and hip bar.  The location was perfect – just a short walk to pub hopping on Rose Street, shopping on George Street, and all things touristy on The Royal Mile.

Royal Mile

The Royal Mile, Edinburgh

Here are some of our favorite bits from Edinburgh:

  • Cafe Marlayne – I have to admit that I was not looking forward to food in Scotland, but our first dinner at this wonderful French restaurant proved me wrong.  (Two locations in Edinburgh.)
  • Rose & Crown – Rose Street is absolutely full of pubs, so what drew us into this one?  Some guy playing “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” on his guitar.  We spent the rest of the night there, and even went back for more the next day.
  • Brew Dog – Our tour guide recommended the beer from this “anti-Stella” brewery that has bars all throughout the UK (and coming to Sweden soon), and we were not disappointed.  Make sure to get a tasting flight so you can try all of the varieties.
Brew Dog

Brew Dog Paraphernalia

  • Whistle Binkie’s – This pub has a live band every night, but we were told to avoid Open Mic Mondays.  There was a Red Hot Chili Peppers cover band the night that we went, which was less than fortunate.
  • Pub quizzes! – You can find a pub quiz almost any night of the week in Edinburgh.  Great way to enjoy a few pints and meet other people.
  • The Edinburgh Castle – The castle is set high on a hill looking down on the rest of the city, and it is is the number one tourist draw in Edinburgh.  Huge crowds show up to watch the daily 1:00 pm gun, but we chose to skip that and visit later in the day when there would be fewer people.  (Alright, who are we kidding here?  We slept in until noon and just couldn’t get there in time.)
  • North Berwick (pronounced “North Berrick” – When we asked a tour guide for a recommendation for getting out of the city, he suggested walking around his hometown, North Berwick.  It’s a lovely seaside town located just 45 minutes away from Edinburgh by train.  Great for golfing, too.
North Berwick

The beach in North Berwick

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Real Honeymoon: Scotland & England

I’m really excited to share this week’s Real Honeymoon with you while I’m in Scotland because 1) massive soccer fans Julia and Mike went to Scotland too (!), and 2) Julia has really mastered the art of leaping solo shots.  You’ll see what I mean below:

When and where did you honeymoon?

Mike and I went to Scotland and Northern England [in April 2013].  We stayed in three locations: Edinburgh, Newcastle and Loch Lomond.

Edinburgh

Balmy Edinburgh

How long was your trip?

2 blissful weeks.

Scotland

How did you decide on your honeymoon destination(s)?

The number one question we got on our honeymoon was: why did you choose Scotland and Newcastle? So you would think I have a good, practiced answer for this, but alas no.  Here is my best shot at it.

We are homebodies and not adventurous.  This was our first big trip alone together, and we have been together for over 10 years.  We wanted to have an adventure, but not too big an adventure. We have always wanted to visit Scotland, and I am English/Scottish.  Mike is also a HUGE soccer fan and Newcastle United is his favorite team.  It was the perfect opportunity to make his dreams come true and see Newcastle United play their local rival, Sunderland.

Newcastle fan

#1 Newcastle fan

The best part about our honeymoon was…

Getting to spend so much quality one-on-one time together.  I work long hours and we don’t vacation much, so this was a really special experience for us.  And of course the Newcastle United game.

Newcastle Soccer

If I knew then what I know now, I’d change…

Don’t rent a car from the Hertz in Newcastle. Otherwise, I can’t think of anything we would have done differently.

The beach

Awesome leaping solo shot #1

How much planning did you do in advance?

We booked the hotels in advance and Mike spent a lot of time researching different things for us to do.  We did not have each day pre-planned out, but we always had options to pick from.

The Tyne

Awesome leaping solo shot #2

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Bring on the Whiskey and Guinness, We’re Off to Scotland & Ireland!

Even though it feels like we just got back from Panama, we’re already about to embark on our next adventure.  First up is Scotland, where we’ll explore Edinburgh for a few days and then take a train to Glasgow to catch a Bruce Springsteen concert.  After Bruce rocks our socks off, we’ll fly to over Dublin to drink plenty of Guinness and celebrate our good friends’ wedding* in County Meath.  Assuming that we recover from the wedding in time (rumor has it that Irish weddings often last until 7 AM the next morning), we’ll drive over to Galway and check out the Cliffs of Moher as well.

Scotland & Ireland

I don’t plan on spending much time in front of a computer during this trip, but I do have a couple of really great Real Honeymoon posts scheduled for publication on the next two Mondays, and I’ll definitely write about our own trip once we’re back home.  In the meantime, enjoy this Scottish/Irish travel playlist that my husband just created for our trip.

Sláinte!

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* Even though these friends live exactly one mile away from us in San Francisco, it’s so awesome that we’re going to celebrate their wedding over 5,000 miles away in Tankardstown!  You just can’t find wedding venues like this back home.