If you are English you probably shouldn`t read this as I will praise Scotland over England… An average international student taking their degree in England will at some point feel the urge to visit Scotland. To see what is the fuzz about- are they gonna check my passport on the border? (LOL, no border bro) Will there be a different language (well dialect I guess, kinda hard to grasp at first) or different currency? (Still pounds but with different graphics on them). There isn’t a better day in February to discover what the love-hate relations between England and Scotland are about than the Valentine’s Day. Joking, it’s my brothers birthday and this trip was a celebration of him crossing over to the dark side of 25… 26 (And good bye all kinds of discounts like euro26, isic, railcard…).

Getting to Edinburgh from Bradford is quite pleasant and at some point you even get to see the beach and sea from train. Kinda expensive if you do not book early enough, for us it was 34£ per person (already with the 30% discount from Rail Card). It was not only my first time in Scotland but also first time using the AirBnB website for accommodation, and I must admit I was very satisfied as we got not only a beautiful spacious flat but at a  great price. It was outside the city, 16miles away in Uphall, but that is just 20min with train, no hustle. Less than 3£ for ticket, totally worth the effort as we had our own kitchen and could cook and enjoy our time.

When we arrived at our place (it was on Alexander street, so it was funny to order taxi: “To Alexander Street please”, “For whom?”, “Aleksandra”, “<in scottish> LOL”). Our host welcomed us by  praising the weather (foggy, damp but NO RAIN and only a bit cold) so obviously it must be a nice day! I kinda complained it is not that nice and she disagreed  “Ay! It´s Scotland!”. Loved it.

 

The first moments after we got into flat we were so happy that we have nice beds, bathtub, an actual full set of plates and OMG – a dream of every student living in a dorm- DISHWASHER! Forget the home made cookies from our host, forget the pile of clean towels, leather couch and just look at this beautiful dishwasher. That evening we made dinner and sat the dishwasher, we were all so happy.

Some might say we have not seen much in Edinburgh. I say we saw the most important- the only in whole UK- PANDAS. Yes my dear friends, that day was also the first time in my life I saw pandas. After watching panda cam for the last two weeks and cute panda pictures for the last 24 years I knew what to expect. But they were much bigger! I was like wow, cuteness overload. Although they were kinda just sleeping. After a while Sweetie woke up and looked into my eyes, she saw my love and decided to wake up and stroll around, being cute and all. Sunshine- the male panda, was absolutely awesome firstly sleeping on his bellie and then walking around and eating bamboo. I should have probably act less retarded and excited as people were judging all over the place, but to be honest, I stopped carrying after a while. We also saw rhinos fighting, penguin parade, sad lonely lion, sleepy koalas and many chimpanzees.

We saw the Royal Mile, Gallery, Arthurs seat- from far away as we were too lazy to go up and the castle, although we did not go in as no one felt like spending 16£ (overpriced or WOT???).

My brother and boyfriend went to see Glenkeich Whisky Distillery, apparently was all fun and full of information but it was forbidden to take pictures most of the time (something about concentration of alcohol in the air and possibility of explosion, bs really.) If you ask me not to take pictures at the ZOO I would probably kill someone (not an animal though).

It was also my first time renting  a car in UK. Next time I should probably read a bit more about it as it turned out to have many extra payments. All to all it turned out cheaper than train and definitely more convenient and fun for my brother (who was driving on the wrong side of the road for the first time in his life). Crazy. When booking car there was no information on the website about 42£ extra charge for returning car in another city (the info came in email before confirming booking). When I arrived at Europcar they informed me about 250£ deposit for the car and extra money for the insurance, which I took the biggest one just in case something would happen I did not feel like paying 1000£… If you divide it between 5 people it is still reasonable, and it was quite convenient when we came out of ZOO after spending there 5h…

I feel that pictures tell more about our stay than words. It was a lot of fun to be away for a weekend, my first weekend off from work this year, well technically I still worked on Sunday but only 3h. I really relaxed and after Scotland I flew to see my parents in Poland (reading week at uni, no classes, brilliant!). I enjoyed the people I had around and just how fun it was to spoil ourselves a bit, ignore studying and work and make dinner, eat loads of unhealthy snacks, play silly games. I would also like to go back to Scotland again, also to Edinburgh and see more. Scotland must be beautiful in the spring and summer, and what about Loch Ness monster??? So many more things to see :)