The weekend of November 11th, my friends and I headed up to Scotland. This was probably one of my favorite parts of my study abroad experience. Anyone who knows me, knows I love the outdoors and hiking, so this trip was right up my alley!

We chose to do a guided weekend bus tour. It was the easiest and cheapest way to get around the Isle of Skye and to Loch Ness. Now, I won’t be writing about every single stop we made, but solely my personal highlights.

The very first day, my whole weekend was made. With the countryside being very rural, the animals are not afraid of humans. In fact, they run towards you. Our driver pulled off the road and in the field was a small herd of local deer. The older ones walked briskly towards us. The yearlings were hesitant, unsure of these new beings. The deer know when they see people, they’ll get a small snack of crackers. If you speak in gentle tones and move slowly, you can even pet them.

I felt like Snow White.

 We also got to meet a hairy coo (hairy cow). He was really sweet, but we were told not to touch. He could easily hurt us with those horns!

That night we got to our hostel. With it being the off-season, it was just our small tour group, another small tour group, and a few stragglers. The town is mainly a one road town with everything on the same street and easy to walk to. We went to the local pub to grab food and mingle with our fellow travelers. We befriended people from Australia, Mexico, the States, and Italy

The following day we were guided through the Isle of Skye. The roads are narrow and windy. The views are astounding. After stopping at a magical river (if you put your face under the stream for 7 seconds you will have eternal beauty), we made our way to the Fairy Pools. HIGHLY RECOMMEND.

It was a bit of a hike to get to the actual pools. You need to hop across rocks in a heavy stream to get there. If the current is too strong or it has recently rained, you won’t be able to cross. Thankfully, the current was not too bad and with some team work we were able to get all of us across.

The faerie (or fairy) pools get their name due to the magic essence of the water. The water is crystal clear, drinkable, and has a blue-green tint in color. It looked like something out of a storybook. Two of our friends decided to strip down and jump into the freezing cold water. Maybe in the summer months, but I would never do it in November!

Our very last day we got to visit Loch Ness. Half the group decided to do the Loch Ness Cruise. The other half took a tour of the castle and then hopped on the cruise. I chose to do both, because why not? The castle was in ruins, but held so much history. Our tour guide led us through the rumble and explained what stood at each spot. I would recommend doing both. You get to learn about the historical castle and get to join the hunt for good ol’ Nessie.

Sadly, Nessie was camera-shy.

The weekend had flown by and I had enjoyed every moment of it. It had been cold, a little rainy, and even windy. But it was all a part of the Scotland experience! I hope to go back again one day and see the city-side of Scotland.

I also highly recommend the tour group Discover Scotland and the hostel Skye Backpackers.