With the new year festivities well and truly over and my Blogmanay trip around Scotland little but a faint memory, my thoughts have turned to where 2013 will take me. When I’m bored and a little fed up with being at home my thoughts always seem to turn to where I’m going next.
The sun setting over Brandenburg Gate
When visiting La Palma, one of the Spanish Canary Islands, I was most struck by the extreme natural beauty of the island. It is known as ‘Isla Bonita’, literally the beautiful island and during my visit I definitely found out why.
The capital and main port of the island, Santa Cruz de La Palma, is utterly charming but sadly on the day I visited everything was closed for a public holiday. Instead of wandering around a pretty but deserted city, we decided to get out into the countryside and explore the forests of the island.
While on my recent trip to St Andrews I heard an interesting statistic - only one in ten people who visit St Andrews actually play golf there. This totally surprised me, as I had just assumed that golfers would be the main visitors in a city that is essentially the home of golf. With this statistic in mind, I set out to find out what St Andrews has that attracts the nine out of ten people who don’t come to play golf…
St Andrews has character
St Andrews is positively brimming with character. It has atmospheric Cathedral ruins, which I highly recommend taking a walk around. It’s free to enter and the ruins are remarkably well preserved given that it dates back as far as the 12th century.
I loved the colours of the stone walls…
It was an ambitious trip. 21 travel bloggers from around the world, Scotland in the depths of winter and a jam-packed itinerary. We would begin in Edinburgh for Hogmanay, then head off into The Scottish Highlands with Haggis Adventures, return to Edinburgh for an evening, then journey to St Andrews, and finally ending at Alexander House in the Perthshire countryside.
Scotland in winter can be brutal, I had visions of us freezing our butts off in the snow and getting soaked in the monsoon style rain showers that Scotland is best at. I pictured us seeing nothing because of that grey Scottish mist that sits in and refuses to budge.
But I needn’t have worried.
Scotland brought it’s A game!
The weather throughout our trip was incredible, the temperatures were warm and there were many moments of sunshine and very few showers. This meant we got to enjoy some spectacular sunrises…
Sunrise at Loch Dundreggan
Travelling solo can be scary if you’ve never done it before. Heck, sometimes it can be scary even if you have. But there are a few steps you can take to make solo travel safe, easy and most of all fun!
Always Book Accommodation in Advance (And know how to get there!)
This is the best advice I can give. Book a hostel, hotel or apartment in advance of your arrival in a new place, even if it’s just so you definitely have a place to stay on that first night. Imagine arriving in a place and finding all the hotels were full?! That’s not a good start to a travel experience in a new place!
“Let me tell you a wee story…”
These were the words that frequently came from the mouth of Chris, our Haggis Adventures guide, during our three day trip through the Scottish Highlands. At first, it just seemed as though he liked to talk and, well, he did, but soon it became apparent that it was much more than that. Storytelling is one of Scotland’s most important traditions. Back in the days when Highlanders were unable to write, they told stories to each other in order to pass on information, traditions, songs and much more.
The mysterious beauty of Glen Coe