Castles, Cliffs and Coffee

After the nice trip last weekend, I decided to book another tour organised by the same company- this time, into the opposite direction. On Sunday, I finally made it to the East of Scotland for the very first time!

At 8 o’clock in the morning, we departed to our first stop, the city of Dundee. We were soon rewarded for leaving our cozy beds so early: While driving over a parallel bridge, we were able to enjoy a beautiful sunset rising behind the famous bridge across the Firth of Forth.

E 067.JPGShortly after, we reached Dundee, which supposedly is the 4th biggest city in Scotland, located at the point where Scotland’s longest river Tay meets the North Sea.stonehaven-025Stonehaven 004.JPG The city was historically famous for the 3 J’s: Jute, because the fabric used to be produced there. Jam due to a story where someone had to process quite a lot of oranges. And finally, it was- and still is- famous for its Journalism, which is why there are a lot of statues of comic characters to be found all over the place.


stonehaven-012Also, there are statues of penguins everywhere. This is due to the fact that several emperor penguins as well as some eggs were brought to the Dundee Zoo from an expedition to Antarctica in 1986, and they were much loved ever since. The ship which was used for the expedition can still be seen in at the coastal line of Dundee, next to the RSS Discovery Centre.

In contrary to last week’s trip, the weather was incredible! I believe I have never had a day with better weather during my entire time in Scotland. The air was so clear, and there was not a single cloud in the sky, which made the walk through Dundee even more enjoyable, and definitely helped waking me up 🙂 Plus, it put the briges into an amazing light, and the atmosphere cannot really be transmitted via pictures.

stonehaven-053stonehaven-044The beautiful weather was even more valuable during the visit of our second destination: Dunnottar Castle near the cute village Stonehaven, which supposedly is famous for the invention of the “deep fried Mars bar”- whether this is something to be proud of is up to you to decide 😀 . The castle’s name is Gaelic, and it means “fort on the shelving slope”. In 2013, it was nominated as Scottish entry to the 8th World Wonder Competition, and there is a good reason for that! The location on a prominent rock in the ocean just in front of the rough cliffs is extraordinary! We were brave enough to climb the sorrunding cliffs in order to get a nice shot from all possible angles, and it was definitely worth it (even though we experienced several heart-attacks because we kept slipping on the muddy ground, and the cliffs are VERY high)! Also, the sun really warmed us and made up for the fierce wind, so we were able to enjoy walking outside for the entire stop of almost 2 hours 🙂 While we did indeed go into the castle, we only saw the publicly accessible parts, as you have to pay an entrance fee for the rest, and we also didn’t have enough time to fully discover the entire interior.stonehaven-148stonehaven-128

Instead, we made our way along the paths leading away from the castle, and the meadows and cliffs were just how I always imagined Scotland in my mind before visiting it. I could almost see the sheep grazing there in summer 🙂 As well as that, there is a prominent Wall Memorial close by which you may check out if you like. However, we only walked half the way, since we just wanted a nice photo of it, and it just looks more impressive when you can see the surrounding nature 🙂

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After this breathtaking time, we drove to the final destination of the day: Scotland’s third biggest city, Aberdeen. It is also called Granite City or Silver City, and after only a few minutes of walking through the town’s streets, the reason for these nicknames was crystal clear: There is literally not a SINGLE building that is not grey! The cute and colourful fronts that the shops in the UK usually have are only to be found very rarely, too. Everything is made of granite or a material of very similar colour. Don’t get me wrong, the buildings are certainly very beautiful, especially the Aberdeen Art Gallery and the Robert Gordon’s College are worth visiting (as you can see on the pictures below). However, I cannot imagine myself happily living here during the many grey and rainy winter days. I am truly glad the sun was shining today 🙂

Before heading towards the city centre, we decided to make the most of the stunning weather and stroll along the beautiful beach boulevard. It was really crowded (which is fully understandable given the unusual conditions), but the fresh ocean breeze and the sound of the shore still managed to entirely free my mind 🙂

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Afterwards, we went into a café on Aberdeen’s main shopping mile, the Union Street, in order to get a much needed dose of caffeine. Afterwards, we visited some of the many beautiful buildings, such as the two mentioned above, as well as Marischal College, St. Andrew’s Cathedral and the Church of Scotland

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Also, we paid St. Nicolas’s Kirk a visit, as I just cannot get enough of those old graveyards that always make me feel as if I was travelling back in time.

It was located directly on Union Street- which is often also called the Granite Mile (surprisingly…).  By the way, if you like shopping, then this street is great for you as well: There are over 800 shops located along that road- however, we didn’t prioritize that as we only had 3 hours in this city, and there was so much to see!stonehaven-173

Finally, we quickly looked around the city’s harbor, but if you only have limited time to explore the area, make sure to not set this as a priority. It’s quite industrial and definitely not worth taking a picture.

On the drive back to Edinburgh, we then watched the movie Brave– perfectly suitable for the trip, as the movie’s location was inspired by Dunnottar Castle, and it was quite funny to recognize the different surrounding areas we had just walked in a few hours ago.

This weekend’s trip was even better than the first one, and I think this was not only due to the incredible weather (I know I am repeating myself, but this sort of sunshine is VERY rare here, trust me), but also due to the fact that we saw so many different things- from pretty beaches, to quiet and also busy towns, to rough cliffs and ancient castles. I hope I get the chance to come back for more!

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