I always had this idea of what Scotland might be like: dark pubs; happy people with captivating accents; fish & chips; elegant castles and endless shades of green that make the grass beneath my feet look photoshopped. I suppose we do this mental exercise no matter where we’re visiting, and often the reality is much different.
I have only been in Scotland less than 7 hours (Edinburgh to be exact) and I have learned to drive on the opposite side of the road, ridden a double-decker bus, visited a dark buzzing pub filled with happy people and those distinctive accents, ate fish & chips along with a cold pale ale, walked past the towering Edinburgh castle and stood on grass so green you have to see it to believe it.
Perhaps they are pros at branding, but my image of Scotland turned out to be everything I expected. It’s really the warmth of the people here that fascinate me. It is not possible to get past the door of a local pub without making 12 friends who want to sing and engage. There is a sense of happiness like I have never experienced.
Certainly these Scots have problems like everyone else, right? Either they drink their woes away, or they have tapped into a kind of human happy place that I promise to find the secret to before I leave.
My biggest learning curve so far has been driving on the opposite side of the road in the opposite side of the car and navigating multiple connected roundabouts every several blocks. I only had 2 near misses in four miles so I consider that success!
I decided that my game plan is: drive slow, smile and wave!
After a 6 hour flight from Chicago to Dublin, and another 45 minute prop plane to Edinburgh, a 6 hour time difference and no sleep, it was so energizing walking into a country that welcomes you with such open arms! So, while I’m here, I will do as the Scots do…eat, drink and be merry!