Scotland Reflection

I was never particularly fond of nature or enjoyed driving down scenic routes for enjoyment. It wasn’t until I spent 3 days on coaches and trains surrounded by the beauty of Scotland that I actually took a step back to appreciate the natural wonders that the world has to offer. The gothic beauty of the buildings down every street in the cities was absolutely breathtaking. You could only imagine the history that those walls had stood through. With that, here’s my guide for Scotland travel: 


-Beautiful gothic city

-Learn all about Mary Queen of Scots 

-Walk the Royal Mile

-If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, visit multiple sites around the city that hold history from the show

-Birthplace of Harry Potter and where JK Rowling lives and wrote the novels

            -Actual gravestone of a man named Tom Riddle (very cool)

-Doune Castle (about 45 minutes out of the city) is the real Winterfell. They filmed the first episode of the series on this site.

Glencoe: (Lowlands)

-The most beautiful mountain scenery

-Leads into Loch Ness which is eerie and mesmerizing. You cannot take your eyes off of it (which is why I believe people think they saw something in the water!). 

-Three Sisters are a breathtaking group of mountains that you have to drive about 20 miles through the Lowlands of Scotland to get to. Completely uninhabitable area, so it is secluded and very peaceful. 

Fort Augustus:

-Very small town with maybe 500 inhabitants. It sits right on the end of Loch Ness 

-Best fish and chips I have had in Europe so far (and I live in London, the fish and chips capital)

Scotland as a whole:

-The Highland Cow is one of the most beautiful animals you will see in this world. 

-There are more sheep in Scotland than people

-They love their cashmere

-Not as many men in kilts playing bagpipes as you’d think

-Every person is so genuine and kind

Scotland was an unexpected surprise. I didn’t anticipate to be so entranced by it, but I would go back in a heartbeat and recommend it to all who get the chance to go!  

Getting Adjusted to London

It’s difficult to break from an old routine and create a new one. I realize now the importance of finding simple things you enjoy to keep you grounded and calm in times of transition, and also using each lesson to grow. To say going from a small urban area to one of the most busy cities in the world is challenging would be an understatement. It is easy to get overwhelmed being in an unfamiliar place, thrown into true independence because you can’t just call a family member to come help you when they are an ocean away! It’s also a time to be exactly who you want to be with no outside influences. There are a lot of lessons London has already taught me:

-Always bring your own grocery bags unless you want to pay for them

-Be on time

-It’s okay to rush but also take time to enjoy your surroundings

-Respect all walks of life

-Gloomy days actually make for some of the best times being holed up inside with new people

-Even the most directionally challenged people cam learn

I’m finding joy in the idea of being in charge of every aspect of my life and taking on each day with a positive frame of mind and using each one to become a better individual, student, family member, and friend. 

Making Barcelona a Second Home

I’ve officially been in Barcelona for two and a half weeks and can now say I’m feeling more at home. Don’t get me wrong, I feel like I have so much more of the city to see, and often times get overwhelmed, but I am getting much more comfortable here. 

Before arriving in Europe, my biggest fear was navigating public transportation. I’d never caught a taxi, been on the Tarc, let alone been in a metro station. How was I supposed to go from driving everywhere to having to figure out catching a train to class? Well, it really wasn’t that bad. First of all, Google Maps is a blessing, and has told me which bus/train to catch and when. And second of all, the other people in my program were just as unfamiliar, so we figured it out together. Turns out I have more common sense than I thought.

Typically, I’m someone who tries something at a restaurant, loves it, and doesn’t order anything else. I’ve been making slower progress when it comes to trying new food, because how could you not order patatas bravas every time you’re at a tapas bar? But, at the same time, I have tried a variety of new things — the most adventurous being octopus! Back in Louisville, we’re not really known for seafood, so I hadn’t had much outside of the basics. So, tackling a big pan of paella with unpeeled shrimp, mussels, and squid rings was seriously intimidating, but also surprisingly delicious. It’s my goal to continue to try more amazing and unique food, because so far, it’s been rewarding.

But, it was most clear to me that Barcelona was becoming my second home when I felt ready to get back to my bed in my apartment after this past weekend’s trip to Seville and Granada. I enjoyed the views, the greenery, and the lovely Spanish culture outside of the city, but in the end, I was ready to be back in my place in Barcelona, Spain.