Trip review: Traveling Scotland with MacBackpackers tours

14 June 2010

Days 6 - 8: Isle of Skye - Monday, June 7th to Wednesday, June 9th
We toured the highlands via MacBackpackers tours, and we experienced the most amazing scenery of our two-month trip! MacBackpackers is the country's only 100% Scottish touring company for students. Without reservation, I highly recommend the company.

Packed into a small company van, our guide drove us through small villages, among vibrant sunsets and across some of the most beautiful countrysides in the entire world. We loved every second of it, and we would would return to the highlands without a second thought. It's where we are meant to be, I swear.

Now, my mom doesn't tell me I have the gift of gab without warrant. Oh no, I earned that title. As usual, we talked it up with the guide, other tourists, and Scotsmen along the way. We made friends in no time. It was a long drive, so we were thankful our guide Graeme was filled with wit and plenty of entertainment (and willing to answer my typical laundry list of questions).

The Isle of Skye became our home for two nights. It's located in the northwest highlands of Scotland and surrounded by the most incredible scenery I could ever imagine. Traveling through various areas, we explored glens (valleys between gigantic mountains), Loch Ness (where Nessie the Loch Ness monster resides), Eilean Donan Castle (the postcard castle of Scotland), the Battle of Culloden (where our ancestors fought for their independence), Faerie Glen (a beautiful, enchanted valley), boatloads of cute sheep (my favorite), Kilt Rock (even more beautiful than the Cliffs of Moher, sorry Ireland) and so much more!

Our final night on the Isle of Skye capped off the evening with a traditional Gaelic Ceilidh. Doesn't that word look familiar? It's my name! But it's Gaelic. A ceilidh is a gathering or a festive party where you are joined by friends, family and fantastic music. Doesn't it suit me? Haha. It's a don't-miss event in Scotland, and I can finally check it off my bucket list.

Day 9: Edinburgh - Thursday, June 10th
Before we left we sampled a little haggis, a traditional dish of Scotland. I'm going to be completely honest: it wasn't my cup of tea. Truth be told, it's a combination of cooked sheep intestines, liver, stomach and probably everything in between mixed with about a cup of ground pepper. I can't imagine how people eat it on a frequent basis without losing their own stomachs, in addition to the sheep's! If you give it a try one day, don't tell me I didn't warn you.

It's going to be difficult to compare other countries to this gorgeous place. It's definitely ranked No. 1 in my book, and I cannot wait to come back. I truly love this country.

Day 10: London - Friday, June 11th
Following our final Tenants beer in Edinburgh, Holly and I boarded our overnight Megabus to London. Ugh! This bus was a terrible idea. The ride was a painful, restless eight hours strapped to a seat without any recline. Despite our frustrations, we arrived safely and our good friend Michelle kindly took us under her wings during our time in London.

Michelle, or Chipper (Chippa! in her Aussie accent) as we remembered her from camp, once worked as a counselor at the camp we called home. She's what we consider family from afar. We had a blast while staying at her place. This is where our love for crumpets began and where we devoured much-needed, much-loved homecooked meals.

Holly and I spent our first day in London in bed. No joke. We're horrible travelers! We wound up in London exhausted, beat, just about drained. I hate to admit it but it's what backpacking does to you. Since we had about four days in London, we figured we could sacrifice a bit of time tucked in warm beds, beneath showers of hot water and wrapped tightly in clean, fluffy bath towels. Can you see me smiling? It was heavenly! But before noon we were trekking through London, dining on crumpets and lifting our pinkies to tea.


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