Journey to Scotland
The first day when I arrived at the Edinburgh airport, I drove north east from Edinburgh to North Berwick. With deep cobalt blue skies, it promises to be a beautiful day. Ideal for a visit to "Bass Rock", an island that rises over 100 meters above the sea. "Bass" is located 5 km off the coast of North Berwick and is home to a staggering 140,000 gannets. A perfect photo opportunity.
This "bird island" is known for housing the largest population of gannets in the world. From a distance the seabirds, each with a wingspan of 1.8m, seems to colour the naturally dark island white. From the Scottish Seabird Centre in North Berwick, I travelled around the island in 1.5 hours with a speedboat. Although it is not possible to step on the island, circling the island offered impressive experience.
After that I travelled to the Scottish capital of Edinburgh. After a little under 90 minutes I parked my car at the foot of the 17th century Edinburgh Castle. Built on volcanic rock, the massive structure towers regally above the city. An elegantly meandering brick road leaded me to a lovely spot while people were enjoying the spring sunshine outside the many pubs and restaurants. The local drinks are beer and whisky, while the local dish is haggis. This typically Scottish recipe consists of a sheep's stomach or pig intestines filled with morsels of heart, liver, lung, lard and oatmeal. Although the Scottish love this hearty meal, I found it a little harder to stomach.
The second day I continued my journey by driving west to Glasgow for about 1.5 hours. Glasgow is the country's largest city and considered the ideal starting point for discovering the west of Scotland. Glasgow is also the second best destination is the UK after London for shopaholics and foodies.
The main Glaswegian shopping street is Buchanan Street, and it features everything that's hot and happening. To see a more cultural side of the city, take a trip back in time and visit Glasgow Cathedral and the adjacent Necropolis, an impresive Victorian cemetery.
I spent the night at the recently opened Indigo Hotel.
After a good night sleep, I started my new day afresh. From Glasgow I drove to Loch Lomond, west of the southern Highlands, in less than half an hour. Loch Lomond is the largest lake in Scotland in size, and the second largest in water volume, just behind the legendary Loch Ness. Around Loch Lomond you could find an array of picturesque villages where time seemed to have stopped. A favourite destination of the Scots themselves, they are well worth a visit !!
One of these lovely places is Luss, situated at the west side of the loch. The charming village has quaint cottages, a kilt and bagpipe maker, and (of course) a place of worship, Luss Parish Church. The villagers of this small community are extremely friendly and helpful.
My time to Scotland has come to an end. There is one last thing. A visit to Scotland is incomplete without tasting an authentic local whisky. I loved to visit the 180-year-old distillery, Auchentoshan, west of Glasgow. The amazing thing about their whisky is the triple distillation process, instead of double process commonly used in Scotland. The result is a delicate, soft, and light single malt that rolled off the tongue. Especially for whisky connoiseurs, Auchentoshan organises a VIP tour through the distillery which includes sampling various whiskies and an optional master class with the oldest whiskies of the house.