6 Days in Berlin (Days 4-6)

Onto the second part of our Berlin trip! (If you missed the first check out my post here!) After a few days at the hotel we had made ourselves at home and loved the location. As a reminder we were staying at the Hotel CALMA which was in the Berlin Mitte (central) area.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

We were around the corner from U-Bahn and S-Bahn stations, near lots of restaurants and the outdoor courtyard had come in handy for evening drinks. Breakfast was continental so we had unlimited meats, cheeses, cereal and bread to start the day. We had a ‘medium’ sized room which was more than big enough, the staff were friendly and forgave us for our poor German language skills!

Day 4

Sunday was the busiest day of the trip. We tried to pack in lots of tourist attractions and started with the one closest to our hotel. We walked to the Museum of Natural History, which was filled with dinosaur bones and animals. The museum even had a world record holder, the worlds tallest mounted dinosaur skeleton, a huge 43ft 6 inches high!

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

Another special exhibit was Tristan the T-Rex, originally found in the USA he is now the only original T-Rex skeleton in Europe! We loved this exhibition because aside from getting up close to the dinosaur there was lots of information about the species we’d never seen before.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Once we had visited all of the exhibitions it was still pre-lunch time so we took the train to the Berlin Story Bunker, a former bomb shelter from WW2. This place contained two exhibitions, one detailing the full history of Berlin and the second (which we chose) was Hitler – How could it happen? I think this is a question which everyone wonders, how did the situation escalate so much and how did so many atrocities happen?

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

We walked into the Bunker (no photo’s were allowed so you won’t see any from me!) and were given an audioguide to break up the large portions of text which filled the walls. Beginning with stories and photo’s of Hitlers birth and youth we delved into his life story. This exhibition has been described as controversial as the aim is to understand why and how someone could develop to have the personalities and desired of Hitler. Some have described it as sympathising but I would disagree with that, perhaps my years of studying and practicing psychology have changed my mind set. But of course Hitler wasn’t simply born as the man he became.

We spent over 3 hours in the bunker, reading and listening to detailed accounts of how Hitler came to power and ultimately committed suicide in his own bunker. Some photos were hard to look at and we were constantly shocked by how truly awful life was for specific groups of people. If you want to find out more about the man behind the facade, I would recommend here over anywhere else. So detailed and thoroughly researched, I found the Bunker one of the most interesting and educational experiences.

As we walked deeper into the bunker we knew we would eventually find a reconstruction of Hitler’s own Bunker from the day he committed suicide. We were able to see the layout of the bunker and the main room (were the acts were committed) was recreated to give a feel for the size and interior of the bunker. It was kind of surreal and the only existing reconstruction, so I would recommend this place if you’re interested in WW2 history!

After 3 hours in the bunker we were ready to leave, but at the end of the war hundreds of people died within the walls of the bunker. It was filled with people and later flooded, after days of people being trapped. I couldn’t imagine being cramped in the bunker, in fact, I wouldn’t want to imagine it. One woman who had been a child at the time described her experience and it was honestly awful. I won’t go into details here in case you visit yourself!

Keeping in with the theme of the war, we walked to the nearby site of Hitler’s real bunker (now a car park if you were wondering). A sign commemorates where the bunker once stood. I find it fitting that life has continued since and the place hasn’t been dedicated to the man himself.

Close by, you can easily walk to the Holocaust Memorial so we decided to visit on our way to the Reichstag Building. I hadn’t realised that the memorial actually includes an underground exhibit where you could spend at least an hour finding out about the lived experiences of holocaust victims and survivors. Since we were booked into the Reichstag, we didn’t have long to spend at the memorial, we had a quick walk through and spent a while at the top walking through the memorial itself.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Once you leave the exhibit, you surface in the middle of the memorial. The blocks are much taller than a person and you walk out feeling disorientated and uncomfortable, not knowing where to go. This is the type of feeling the artist wanted to recreate, making visitors feel in some sense the way Jewish people felt at the time. The memorial is a pretty profound experience and definitely one we should all visit at some point.

After spending most of the day visiting WW2 related places, I had pre-booked to visit the Reichstag Building. We arrived at the parliamentary building in time for a quick security check before we went into the building and up to the infamous dome.

4F319C5B-74CE-4EC3-ADC4-0B912CC30704

We decided to walk around the outside of the roof to take in the panoramic views before heading into the dome with an audio tour. The views from the top of the Reichstag are beautiful and it’s free to visit. Its necessary to book tickets in advanced and you need to take your passport to confirm your identity, but it’s worth the trip!

7608D2C4-58F3-43DD-89D0-A7C66BFD3F0C

When entering the dome, the audio guide starts up automatically and the guide signposts famous landmarks which can be seen from the dome. When we reached the top we realised that the dome has an open top. There’s a place to lay down and we looked out through the dome into the sky, it was a lovely place to relax!

After our time at the Reichstag, we walked a few minutes to see the Brandenburg Gate. We arrived at the perfect time and were able to see the sunset through the beautiful gate.

E72BDFB9-5680-4323-A7F2-0077ED2FA76E

After a really busy day, we were so so hungry! I looked online and we found that Vapino was close by, we had never been to Vapino before but realised that its a chain with stores in the UK. We arrived and no one explained to us how the restaurant worked. Turned out that you chose what you wanted and had to visit the pizza or pasta bar to order. It took us a while to work it out but we managed to get some food before we starved!

Day 5

We started the day by taking the underground to the East Side Gallery to finally see the artistic side of the Berlin Wall. The sun was shining so we were happy to walk along the wall and check out all of the art.

F0DCAFB7-AFF4-4C9D-9681-2DD4631EEF9C

Most of the pieces were politically motivated in one way or another but they were all created by amazing artists. We walked all the way from one end to the other in around an hour, taking a few photos along the way.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

A word of warning, pick pocketers are pretty active in this area, a group of people tried to stop us to sign a petition (which is a well known pick pocketing tactic) so just be aware of your belongings and don’t stop to sign anything!!

24F3BD30-8B7D-45D2-B515-7437625B2849

We took a look in a few of the small shops along the way, but decided to not stop by the free museum since we wanted to spend most of the day at the zoo which was on the other side of the city.

We walked to the station and saw a perfectly placed McDonalds (we were so thirsty from being outdoors!) and decided to try out German McDonalds! This is sort of a tradition for us and we weren’t disappointed at the differences between the UK and here. First of all, we bought a chicken box, not a chicken nugget box a chicken box half filled with nuggets and half filled with chicken wings! That’s right we tried our first ever McDonalds chicken wings! Not only that but there were lots of new options we didn’t have the chance to try.

We walked upstairs and realised that McDonalds had it’s own mini cafe! Serving coffee, cakes and snacks, it was literally a separate cafe. Another thing we had never seen before!

After eating ourselves into a chicken coma, we made our way down to the U-bahn and took thankfully just one train to the zoo. This was the furthest west we had been in the city so we were looking forward to seeing what awaited us!

After getting a little bit lost in the station, we surfaced right outside Berlin Zoo. Thank goodness we didn’t need to do any more navigating! As you would expect there were lots of animals to see, so we set out straight away to see as many as we could before closing.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

One of the first places we came across was a petting zoo – my favourite kind of place! We went into the area and started out petting some small lambs before we noticed that we could buy some food to feed them. We went around the park and fed the shetland ponies, sheep, donkeys and goats!

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

I fell in love with the baby goats who slowly ate from our hands and were happy to be petted!

67B2551F-70A4-4DEC-A68F-31C3683EF837

After getting to interact with some of the animals, we made our way around the park. We hadn’t realised but this zoo had Giant Pandas which were amazing to see! One of my favourite parts of the park was seeing the gorillas, I love monkeys anyway, but we managed to watch a silverback gorilla completing one of the enrichment puzzles! He was making small tools out of twigs and managed to work out how to get food out of the game.

We managed to just finish our trip around the zoo before it closed, so we decided to go back to the hotel for a rest. We had been walking for 8 hours solid and definitely deserved a sit down! We decided to just visit a small restaurant near the hotel that night since we couldn’t face walking much further!

Day 6

We were sad to be leaving after a wonderful time in Berlin. We had our last continental breakfast and packed up before checking out of the hotel. Taking the bus back to the airport we were once again packed into a small space. Thankfully we got on early enough to get seats so we were much more comfortable this time! Walking around in the sun I wasn’t ready to leave such lovely weather, I couldn’t even bring myself to take my coat onto the plane, in denial that we would soon be back in the cold!

If any of you ever travel to Berlin Tegel, you’ll notice that the airport could do with some updating. We were quickly through security and were expecting to find a large duty free/restaurant area. We were sadly disappointed! We walked through a tiny duty free shop (and picked up some Berliner to take home) reaching a small snacks stand which which sold the only food after security checks. In a large white room (which somehow looked like a construction project) we tried and failed to find seats. I decided to sit on the floor and we sat for over an hour in a non-air-conditioned room which contained five flights worth of passengers!

Thankfully, our flight was quick and painless, with us arriving in Edinburgh earlier than expected. The second we stepped off the plane I was missing the warmth of Berlin already!

After an amazing time in Berlin, I couldn’t recommend it enough! There were still so many places we didn’t have chance to visit, so I think we will be back to Germany over the next few years to see more! The trip was even better than we had anticipated and we can’t wait to go back again!

6 Days in Berlin (Days 1-3)

For our latest trip, we decided to visit Berlin, I’d never been to Germany before so was really excited! I’m sure like me, you have heard good things about Berlin, so we booked our flights back in February and two days before flying we picked a hotel. Flying from Edinburgh went smoothly as usual and we took around two hours to fly into the German capital.

Day 1

Once we reached the terminal in Berlin, we realised this airport was much busier and warmer than in the UK. Thankfully we managed to find our way to the bus stop and an English speaking member of staff helped us use the ticket machine. We boarded the airport bus like sardines, packed in even though the bus arrived every 6 minutes. On the hot bus I wasn’t in the best mood, but the sun was shining and I couldn’t be annoyed for long!

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

We walked a few minutes to our hotel and were pleasantly surprised to find our hotel in a small courtyard near lots of restaurants. We stayed at CALMA Berlin Mitte which was a modern, minimalist, lovely place to stay. When we arrived we hadn’t eaten so we found a local shop and picked up a few essentials (by that I mean some german meats, cheeses and soft pretzels) to snack on before we went for Asian food that night. On our way home we decided to stop off for our first taste of German beer, we bought a Berliner each and enjoyed the sun for a while.

That evening, we walked to a nearby restaurant which I had pre booked for our first night in the city. We walked to Nordbahnhof Two Buddha’s which exceeded our expectations entirely! We had prawns, fish, vegetables and a little bit of sushi. I loved the decor and there was a huge wine menu which made it the perfect place in my mind!

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Even though we were in Berlin, after eating we managed to stumble across a Brewdog bar. We decided to spend the evening here, sitting on wooden boxes, dog spotting and looking at which attractions we wanted to visit during our stay.

Day 2

Our first full day in Germany was filled with sightseeing and visiting attractions. We started out at the South of the city and visited the German Museum of Technology. We had to visit at least one place where Jamie could see aeroplanes and helicopters so we chose here. We had a fab time! There was so much to see, from planes and trains to computers and telephones. If it’s electronic it probably makes an appearance in this museum.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

The best part was reaching the top floor which showcased lots of aeroplanes, including some from WW2. We could walk out onto the top of the building and see a huge aeroplane set over the edge of the museum.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

One aspect of the museum we hadn’t expected was walking through the trains and finding a carriage from the Holocaust. We were able to walk into the old wooden cart and see where so many innocent people walked to their deaths. It was such a profound, unexpected experience that even though it was empty I felt a little claustrophobic!

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Once we left the museum, we walked along the river and decided to visit some more popular attractions like the Topography of Terror. Much busier than the museum, but thankfully due to the time of year, it wasn’t too busy. We were able to see everything we wanted. We spent around 2 hours walking through the exhibit which displays a huge amount of information about the Nazi’s reign of terror across Europe. Starting with the beginnings of intimidating opposition, we followed the journey of persecution and murder through to the end of the war. This attraction isn’t for the faint hearted, some pictures were distressing and individual stories were heartbreaking. The attraction is super informative though and we learnt so much about the realities of the war. Although heavy and sometimes upsetting, I can’t recommend this place enough. The information covers all groups who were persecuted (not just Jewish groups) and really describes how day-to-day life was impacted by the war.

Outside the building we also got to see our first glimpse of the Berlin Wall, although not particularly artistic (it wasn’t the East Side Gallery after all) it was interesting to see and we were able to read some basic information about the wall.

275BB5AC-2C92-483E-ADA5-DC1A4A55ABDC

Only a few minutes walk away, we visited the infamous Checkpoint Charlie. Now I don’t know what I expected, but it definitely wasn’t a small shack in the middle of a busy road! I was a tad disappointed, but I guess I had set my expectations too high! None the less, it was interesting to stop by on our way to the underground station.

51F7920E-2726-41A8-A4BF-54AAC23ACD23

After a day of walking, we headed back to our hotel to change before dinner. I had booked a restaurant called Clarchens Ballhaus which I had read about online. Internet reviews described the place as fun and one of Berlin’s best kept secrets, so I couldn’t wait to visit! When we arrived I was so happy we had booked, outside tables were filled with food, fairy lights hung overhead and you could hear the music from inside. We had booked a table inside the old ballroom and walked in to see a ballroom dancing lesson in action on the dance floor!

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

We were taken to our table and still able to watch the lesson, the place was packed, people of all ages were eating, drinking and dancing. The place had an amazing atmosphere and we were completely drawn in. The menu at the Ballhaus was traditional German food, I managed to take a photo of our starters but when the main arrived we had already drunk a few too many glasses of wine and I forgot!

CD692B06-F7B8-4E26-BB73-CC94F96344B6

Our food was delicious, I chose slow roasted beef which was amazing. I do need to mention now that if you plan to visit here, you should set aside the whole night for the experience. There was a significant amount of time between courses, but it made the night more social and the food felt freshly prepared. When we were eating our mains, the dance teacher encouraged people from the tables to join his lesson and taught more people to dance. Unfortunately we were eating so didn’t take up his offer!

Once we had eaten, a DJ was setting up and people of all ages were dancing. We were people watching and drinking for a while before we decided to join in. Being so full of food, we thought we would be dancing for about 10 minutes… but 3 hours later we were still dancing and a live band was setting up! By around 10pm, all younger people had left and it was only Adults, there was still a huge range of people and ages which made the night even more fun!

After 10pm the Ballhaus charges people to enter like a club, but if you are there earlier no charges apply. So thankfully we spent all night there for free. After midnight, as I said, a band set up and we danced for another hour or two before deciding our feet hurt too much to carry on. According to my fitbit we had walked nearly 30,000 steps so that was a sign it was time to head home and take off our shoes! When we stepped outside we realised that we had been shouting and singing so much we could barely talk and we were partially deaf from the music. I can’t recommend this venue enough, the Ballhaus was one of the highlights of the trip, me and Jamie had the best night. We had planned to only stay for a few hours and were there until the early hours of the morning. If we hadn’t been so active in the day we would have stayed even longer. If I go back to Berlin this will be one of the first things I prebook!

Day 3

After some much needed sleep, we woke up a little worse for wear (I blame the wine) but thankfully because we had breakfast included in our booking, that motivated us to still get up early and head down for some food. Ok I say that but after eating lots for breakfast we got back up to the room and I ended up having a nap instead of getting ready for the day!

After a well deserved nap (at least thats what I tell myself) we ventured to Museum Island to see the Cathedral and visit the Neues Museum. We took our first trip on a tram and learnt the hard way that you need to use coins to pay. We only had enough money to pay for 1 ticket but thankfully no one checked! We were dropped off at the end of the line and walked over the bridges to the beautiful Island.

The first thing you notice is how amazing the architecture is. We arrived at the south of the island so were immediately able to see the beautiful Cathedral. The sun was shining, people were singing, playing guitars and blowing bubbles. I felt like we were living in the 1980’s and I was loving it!

40DB9513-A010-44EB-A708-BB7B00A0F3E6

We walked over to the water fountain and around all of the nearby buildings to see how impressive they were up close. I also wanted to walk around in the sun to tan more, but thats another story.  We walked through a huge pillared walkway and eventually found ourselves at the Neues Museum. The majority of this museum includes collections from Ancient Egypt (something I find particularly interesting) which is why we chose to visit, but there are so many to choose from, you can find one which piques your own interests.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Thankfully we didn’t need to queue for tickets due to the time of year. But if you visit in the summer, I would recommend pre-booking because it can become crazy busy. We had a great time at this museum, again the architecture and building interior were stunning. It included the best collections I had ever seen. From original papyrus to golden sarcophagi, we saw so many well preserved pieces and learnt lots of new facts. I think the highlight of the museum for me was the Queen Nefertiti bust which is world famous. We weren’t able to take photos in that exhibition but if you google it, you will know which statue I mean!

Processed with VSCO with g3 preset

We managed to make our way around all of the museum despite the time I lost napping earlier that day. When we left at 5, the sun was still shining so we decided to walk along the river and visit the north side of the Island to see the beautiful Bode museum. There was a busker outside the museum so we sat with the crowds on the walls of the bridge and soaked up the sun. It was a beautiful place to relax and I was sat next to a one-eyed dog so I couldn’t have been happier!

4CBAAE7E-3777-472B-890C-3C893BA608C5

Once it reached around 7pm we decided to walk back towards the hotel and stopped off for sushi along the way. We had a lovely time at Kuchi Mitte which served us lots of good sushi. It’s useful to know that the staff are happy to speak English too if you’re worried about ordering sushi in German!

C350893F-D80B-4CCB-A56F-321F7953B71D

We spent the rest of the evening having a few drinks and relaxing, it was so nice to be out in the sun until the late evening. I hope you enjoyed reading about the first part of our action-packed trip. I will post next week about the second half of our Berlin adventure which was even busier than the first!

A weekend at Loch Ness

To celebrate my 25th birthday Jamie treated me to a long weekend at Loch Ness! Having never been to this area of Scotland before I couldn’t wait to visit. We were booked in to The Lovat hotel in Fort Augustus which is South of Loch Ness, turns out this is a great location if you are planning to visit!

 

Friday

Travelling to Loch Ness takes around 3 hours from Aberdeen, we took the country roads to reach the west of the Loch and then took the loch side road to the hotel. The journey was so beautiful, especially along the shores of the Loch, we saw the castle we would visit the next day, lots of small villages and boat tours out on the water.

We arrived at around 4 and had dinner booked for 7.30 so we went to the room to get settled. Jamie had surprised me by getting the hotel to set up balloons and a birthday card. After a while the staff arrived with my second surprise, a beautiful bouquet of flowers!

C040C427-50AB-4790-A58D-15E21B6C8528

We went down to the restaurant in the hotel for dinner and had high hopes after reading reviews online. Thankfully we weren’t disappointed! To start I had a smoked salmon dish which was amazing.

46BA280C-ABD7-48FA-91F6-1A791F8E348F

We were given free homemade bread and the staff were friendly and helpful. All of this was followed by a lamb dish which I chose for my main. The food was so good that we didn’t even have room for dessert!

4E82B564-8822-42B6-843F-4952AEA48DF9

Instead of more food, we had a glass of wine and visited some of the other rooms in the hotel. We loved that there were lots of public areas, one room was filled with bookshelves and knick-knacks. There were even some games like chess to play later in the evening. We settled in the front room which had a piano and fireplace, the perfect end to a lovely day!

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Saturday

Our first full day started early, with a hotel breakfast included, we were ready to go and explore Loch Ness. Firstly, we drove to Urquhart Castle which is an ancient castle on the backs of the Loch. We parked in the carpark which is way above the castle, thankfully you buy tickets at this level and can take easy stairs/a lift down to the castle instead of having to scramble down a steep hill!

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0117.JPG

We were shown a short introductory video which briefly described how the site became a castle and was besieged multiple times throughout history. Unfortunately the last inhabitants blew up the gateway to prevent invaders using the castle, but there are still plenty of things to see on the site. We walked down past the castle and visited the Loch first (since that’s what the trip was all about!) We sat for a while to appreciate the beautiful views.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0078.JPG

Once you enter the castle you can climb down to where ships would arrive and sit on the shore to see more views. We were lucky to get really sunny weather too so we were happy to sit and relax by the water.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0089.JPG

Once we had the opportunity to take in the natural beauty, we climbed through the castle and visited all of the areas. It took us around an hour to explore everything and there were lots of ruins to climb through.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0104.JPG

We were lucky to visit at this time of year, there were no queues or crowds of people. We didn’t need to wait to climb the towers and we could easily watch the actors who told us about medieval weapons. The castle was one of the most beautiful I have ever visited, I think it’s safe to say it had the most picturesque views too!

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0110.JPG

Once we had finished at the castle, we decided to visit the Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition. Now when we first arrived and went inside, we weren’t sure what to expect. The decor was outdated and because we visited before the summer we were the only people in the entrance hall. We decided to go ahead and visit anyway since it was around £7 to enter and we actually didn’t know anything about the history of Loch Ness. If you’re the same, and don’t know much about the Loch, I would recommend the attraction, we walked through different rooms and watched videos which described how the legend of Nessie began and how the Loch Ness Monster was researched by scientists. I don’t want to spoil anything, but we learnt lots. I have to say though, I think Nessie is more imaginary than real!

After stopping off for a snack which we got around the corner from the Exhibition, we decided to stop off at a harbour we passed on the way to our hotel the day before. Although lots of people do visit Loch Ness, there are a few abandoned boats which can be seen if you walk along the shores. We also walked to a small island which is located just off the shores of the Loch.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Since it was such a sunny day, we still hadn’t had enough of exploring. We travelled back to Fort Augustus where our hotel was and walked along the canals which separate Loch Ness from the other Loch’s in the area. We walked for around half an hour until I saw a trail through the woods which could take us down to the parallel river.

B68AA1EA-7B82-46FF-97BB-51DE30DC492D

Sounds like a good idea right? Walking through the woods to a beautiful river. We even found a bench when we got there, which made us think that the path must have been followed quite often…. But we were wrong! We walked along the river until the grass ran into the river, walked through the trees trying to find a path and spent the following half hour walking through the woods and ended up in running between lodges in a private park!

Although we hadn’t planned the detour, we found some abandoned campsites and spied a few small waterfalls between the trees, so I guess it had been worth it! We decided to walk back along the canal and stop off in a beer garden to end our evening after lots and lots of walking!

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

 

Sunday

For our last full day at the Loch, we decided to visit the east coast and stopped in a small village called Foyers. This area is well known because of the Falls of Foyers which is a tall waterfall and large river which meets Loch Ness. We started to climb down, reached the waterfall relatively easily and felt like we could easily follow the river along to where it meets the Loch.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0121.JPG

We started out following a clearly marked path and took in the beautiful views, we could easily follow the river until we reached a road which blocked our views of the river.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

What then ensued was a four mile detour in which we couldn’t rejoin our original path! We made a wrong turn and walked into a caravan park, walked back and thankfully somehow managed to walk through a forest to reach the banks of Loch Ness. This was one of my favourite parts of the trip, we still hadn’t found our path, but had found a make shift camp site with tree stump seats, a rope swing and burnt out fires. We had the place all to ourselves and it was one of the most peaceful places in the world (until we decided to try out the rope swing!)

019E5F10-E974-4E04-9C15-8A34833FCEB6

We shamefully ended up using google maps to find our way back to the car after a few miles of walking in the wrong direction! We had to climb up tiny steep paths with overgrown plants. At one point I thought I may die out there in the wilderness (kidding) but we made it back and were looking forward to visiting a tea room we had spotted on our way there.

When we arrived at the tea rooms I immediately fell in love, highland cows, deer, ducks and geese were all living in the surrounding area. A deer with a limp was being nursed to health and we got to see them up close!

084309A5-70CD-4B83-91D2-6FAE746273F0

Once we had some soup to warm us up again after the weather took a rainy turn when we were walking, we walked out to find these guys waiting for us too!

364204CE-9BCD-4055-9E51-A8C278E14CAF

After being lucky enough to see all of these animals, we took the country roads back to our hotel. We stopped at the top of a hill and were lucky enough to have stopped just as a rainbow had formed.

A8223771-D36D-4828-B4AD-D09D7EC4A68E

Although it can’t really be seen in this photo, we we could actually see both ends of the rainbow! Sadly there was no pot of gold but we got to share the most beautiful view together! Just when you think that Loch Ness couldn’t get any prettier, I guess a rainbow has to appear to prove you wrong.

Once back at our hotel, we wanted to take a much needed break from hiking up and down hills. We decided to take a look around Fort Augustus and we found a viewing point at the end of the village harbour.

F6837584-59D2-4B18-8DF4-45013CBC2F40

This was one of my favourite views, the most southern point of Loch Ness, we were able to look between the hills and see miles of the Loch. A duck even decided to photobomb my photo and make it even better too! The village had a few small pubs and cafes, our hotel was on the next road to two of the main pubs. We stopped by there for dinner before heading back to out hotel. I snapped a photo outside before we went back inside for a night cap.

4FAC6EED-4687-4929-9B44-EBAB44CC3F67

Each night we had been greeted by bunnies on the lawn outside the hotel too, so if you were unsure about staying there, the fact that you can see bunnies every night must sway your opinion!

After a wonderful stay, Jamie had paid for a late check out so we could sleep in on Monday. We were even given cookies for our journey home by the hotel manager. Everything from the hotel to the walks and views were amazing on this trip. I have to say that Loch Ness surpassed all of my expectations, both the loch itself and the surrounding land is the most beautiful I have ever seen. I can’t wait to go back and see more of the countryside, waterfalls and to sunbathe on the shores of the loch again!

 

3 Scottish Castles You Should Visit

Scotland is home to some of the most beautiful castles in the world.

I’ve picked out three beautiful castles from my travels around Scotland which need to be visited by you!

Dunnottar Castle

Dunnottar Castle would easily fit into the title sequence of Game of Thrones. Located on a clifftop off the North East coast of Scotland, the castle appears to be built on it’s own island. Thankfully no boat trips are necessary, looking down from the edge of the cliffs you can see the steps which descend down one cliff and up again to the castle.

C8AC0922-F6EE-49A0-A6BA-569E4692D881

You may need to take a break during the climb to the castle, but thankfully when you reach the bottom you can take a break on the beach before taking the next set of stairs up to the castle.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

A word of warning, the remains of the castle are just that, ruins. There are lots of stone steps with no hand rails, so watch your step! We saw someone take a small fall when we visited (she was ok though!).

Once you make it to the castle, you can visit all of the ruins and are given a map to navigate. The history of Dunnottar started around the 3rd century, meaning that the castle is filled with history and legends you will learn about on your visit.

F350273B-371E-48E0-BAA0-1AD9342BDE79

Dunnottar is one of the most beautiful places in Scotland, so definitely worth a visit!

Edinburgh Castle 

My second choice is one of the most well known in Scotland – Edinburgh Castle. Set in the centre of the city, this castle is even more unique because it is still active with a military presence. Every day at 1 in the afternoon a cannon is fired to keep time across the city, this is fun to watch so make sure you arrive before 1!

887DC964-56AD-44F0-888C-B951833FFBD9

Edinburgh Castle is filled with lots of different exhibitions, when we visited we spent hours visiting all of the buildings and checking out the beautiful views of the city.

97E650E0-6245-4C69-BBFF-D5A20683871A

There are cannons, prisons, museums and ruins all in the same place here, you you’re guaranteed to have a fun time! Another great thing about this castle is that over 10 of the city’s attractions are on the road leading up to the castle so you will have plenty to do if you visit!

Craigievar Castle

My final choice is one of my favourite castles in the world. Craigievar Castle is said to have inspired Walt Disney when he designed Cinderella’s castle. With a pink exterior, this castle is completely unique and so picturesque!

BD624092-299D-4086-B28B-17FA9D1FB44F

You can visit the grounds and have a guided tour of the castle. The guides are extremely knowledgeable and friendly. During our visit we even decided to invest in a National Trust membership so that we could visit more castles like this on the Aberdeenshire Castle Trail.

One thing we particularly liked outside of the castle was the surrounding wildlife walks. We walked through fields along streams and in forests after our tour, which was lovely thanks to the sunny weather!

FB214853-4A2C-4EF7-875F-0E64563F719A

Craigievar Castle is located out in the beautiful Aberdeenshire countryside so if you visit you can expect lots of winding country roads and fields along the way. Inside the castle is filled with possessions from the previous owners which are interesting to see and the tour guides will tell you when the castle was built and the inhabitants throughout history.

73302196-8C32-42D7-AC4B-196F61EC62C6

We had a great day out at Craigievar Castle which is why it had to be featured on this list!

Omakase in Scotland

Omakase is a style of Japanese dining which I only recently heard about. After an online search, we decided to try it at Yatai Izakaya a Japanese restaurant in Aberdeen. Their website stated that Omakase means ‘trust us’ and leads to a unique dining experience where your waiter picks all the food you eat. We were excited to try this style of dining as we hoped to try new dishes we wouldn’t usually pick and maybe find some new favourites!

We arrived at the restaurant at 5.30 on the dot meaning that we had all evening to try out as many foods as possible. The restaurant was small but thankfully we had booked a table in the fully booked restaurant.

We were seated at a two-seat table, however if you visit as a group of four you can be seated right next to the grill and watch as food is made. We were happy to be away from the grill as it meant that all of our food was a surprise. We had no idea what to expect until the waiter arrived at the table!

Processed with VSCO with g3 preset

I loved the décor, a mixture of geisha artwork, Japanese drink advertising and traditional calligraphy. As we walked into the restaurant some of the herbs the restaurant grows were also on display.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

We ordered drinks and chose to eat Omakase style, for those who wouldn’t want to risk it, you can select food from an a la carte menu. The waiter asked if we had any dietary requirements and whether we had any likes or dislikes. We decided not to emphasise any favourites in the hope we would get a broad selection of foods. We were then asked how much money we would like to spend (approximately) per person. Since it was our first time, they suggested we set a limit of £35 per person and simply ask if we wanted more or less as the food arrived. It transpired that £35 was the perfect amount for us. We were full by the end and felt like we had tried lots of different food.

We sat (im)patiently for our first course to arrive and thankfully we weren’t disappointed. We were given a food we had never tried before! Unfortunately named Octopus Balls, we were given dough combined with octopus which was fried and topped with ginger, katsu mayo and bonito flakes.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
Octopus Balls

They were crispy on the outside, but doughy on the inside, kind of like an octopus doughnut. I would have never ordered this from the menu and having 3 each was quite a heavy way to begin the meal, but it was fun to try and I would actually order them again too!

Our second course was quite a safe option – Squid Tempura. Thankfully, the squid was cooked perfectly and a small amount of batter was used to make this choice much lighter than the last! The dish was served with salt and lime which was the perfect accompaniment.

IMG_8457 2
Squid Tempura ft. Jamie

Before we’d managed to finish the Tempura, our next selection was brought to us. My personal favourite Salmon Maki Rolls were delivered! To add a small twist, the roll was accompanied with pickled cucumber which added a zingy twist to this simple dish.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
Salmon Maki Roll

When I had been browsing the menu when waiting to order, I noticed a salmon based dish topped with a sweet miso dressing. This was something I had been wanting to try and I was excited when it arrived. Unfortunately, I was disappointed and this was one dish I couldn’t get behind. The salmon was perfectly cooked on a skewer, but the miso sauce was the texture and thickness of strawberry jam. The flavours were nice, but I couldn’t finish my skewer, the texture just didn’t work for me!

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
Salmon with Sweet Miso

Our next dish was one of the restaurant’s daily specials, a full fried soft shell crab served in a steamed bun with Sriracha cream sauce. Now, I had mixed feelings about this. First, I’ll put the picture below so you can see what the dish looked like.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
Fried Soft Shell Crab Bun

So literally a crab, fried and put onto a bun. I had to psych myself up to eat this one. Now I like crab – when it’s from a hard shell and you’re not expected to eat the shell. This crab was still fully dressed in his shell and I had to eat the tiny legs and claws! So, turns out, soft shell crab legs taste as you would expect. Like a fried shell. Pretty awful and bland. Thankfully the body made up for it, I quickly pulled off the legs and claws to the dismay of the lady on the next table and ate the rest of the course.

I’m actually glad we got to try this dish. Firstly because it was a special, so next time we might not get the chance and secondly because I can’t say I’ve ever eaten a crab inside it’s shell before. I do have to admit though, I won’t be ordering this dish again soon!

I need to admit that at this point in the meal I needed a break. I had just eaten a pretty large steamed bun and plenty of food before that. Somehow it seemed that the waiting staff knew and we were given a short break before our last couple of dishes were cooked.

After our break, we were sharing our fifth dish which was Prawn Katsu Maki Rolls. I’m greatful that we were only given 4 pieces to share, since some restaurants serve 8-10 Maki pieces! This dish was tasty as expected and was a kind of sushi I would have ordered if we’d chosen the a la carte option.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
Prawn Maki Roll

Our sushi was followed by our first and only chicken dish of chicken meatballs. Sounds simple enough right? But in the small dish next to our skewers we were presented with a raw egg yolk on top of soy sauce. Immediately my salmonella alarm was making me think twice about the dipping sauce. But Jamie mixed it and tried it first, promising that it didn’t taste like the chicken was covered with raw egg.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
Chicken Meatballs

It transpired that if you mix soy sauce and egg yolk it pretty much tastes like extra salty soy sauce (at least it did to me). I can also report a day later that I don’t have salmonella if you were wondering..

Now I have to admit, our last course was a seared salmon nigiri, it was amazing but as soon as it arrived, we threw it in our mouths and forgot to take a picture! This was one of our favourite dishes (and it obviously looked amazing too!) but we demolished it in one bite!

After getting over excited about the sushi, we had reached our £35 limit. It was up to us whether we wanted to continue or finish. We of course chose to finish since we were completely full!

Well, I say that, but we were tempted by the homemade truffles and decided to finish with a glass of wine and truffles.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
Homemade Truffles

When we left, we realised we had been at the restaurant for over 2 hours! The staff were great with us and checked whether we enjoyed each course. The Omakase style was perfect for us since we love to try new food. I would recommend the experience to anyone who wants to try something different or find new favourites. But, handing over the choice to your waiter is definitely risky if you are a fussy eater!

We can’t wait to go back to the restaurant and try it all over again! We love this type of dining experience, so let me know if you have visited anywhere fun like this yourself!

A Weekend in Glasgow

Although Glasgow is one of the largest cities in Scotland, it isn’t one that I frequent often. I suggested a visit for the weekend to see what we could get up to, so we booked a few nights and travelled the 3 hours to Glasgow!

We arrived at the Citizen M hotel in Glasgow which is a hotel we always enjoy staying at. We arrived late so quickly ate some food and headed up to the room. The room is controlled by an iPad where you can control the lights, television and blinds. You can even choose ‘moods’ for the room such as ‘relax’ or ‘romance’, these change the mood lighting and the TV provides music and videos that are associated with the mood. You can also choose any colour you want from a colour spectrum and Jamie spent a while changing colours and checking out the movies. Each room is provided with a full set of movies to choose from, from Dunkirk to the newest Beauty and the Beast movie, there were choices for everyone and they were pretty recent releases too. Each time we stay at the Citizen M we always feel like we know what we will get (which we like) and it’s fun to play with the lights every time!

Day 1

Since we arrived late the night before, we decided to wake around 10 to make sure we had enough energy for the day ahead. If you set an alarm using the iPad at Citizen M, you are woken by the lights gradually turning on, the tv quietly making sounds and eventually pictures on the screen. It’s a nice way to wake up since you can choose how gradual and noisy the alarm system is. So we chose a gentle wake up since it was the weekend!

Once we were ready to leave, we walked to the The butterfly and Pig Tea Rooms which I’d found online to get brunch. When we walked inside I wasn’t disappointed, the tea rooms had a vintage feel with china plates on the walls and mismatched cups on the tables.

Entrance Hallway

The people around us had ordered what looked like an amazing afternoon tea, but there was no way we could eat that much as our first meal of the day! I chose to get the french toast and Jamie ordered a full Scottish breakfast. The tea was served in a vintage teapot with china cups. I wanted to just take everything home with me!

Brunch

The customers who sat next to us had ordered afternoon tea for 3, sadly I didn’t take a photo but their tea was served in a cat shaped teapot! Despite us not being given a cat teapot I loved our experience and the food was lovely. If you’re in the city I would recommend this place for brunch!

Ground Floor Dining Room

With full tummies we took a taxi (to save time) to the Glasgow Botanic Gardens, I hadn’t realised but the admission here was free which was an added bonus! We walked around the park and decided to visit Kibble Palace first.

Eve in Kibble Palace

The huge glasshouse was opened all the way back in 1873 and was filled with tropical plants and ferns. The room was hot and humid which was nice considering how cold it was outside. We felt like we were in the rainforest when we reached the centre of the building!

Tropical Flowers

Above is one of my favourite plants, the leaves were covered in a silver tint. It looked as though the leaves had been covered with silver paint! I haven’t seen this plant before even though i’ve visited lots of botanical gardens.

Once we’d finished we visited the remaining glasshouses which were separated into different rooms. From orchid gardens to desert plants, there were over 10 gardens which showcased a huge range of plants. I loved seeing all of the beautiful flowers and it was fun moving from one glass house to the other. You could feel the extreme changes in environment by going from hot humid rooms to arid desert like rooms!

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Since we were on the right side of town, we decided our next stop would be the Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery. That was until we reached the museum and realised we were opposite a perfectly placed Brewdog bar.

View from Brewdog

Jamie loves Brewdog beer which is why we decided to stop off (even though I don’t usually drink beer!). The staff were great and let me try as many beers as I wanted before I picked one. They even offered me wine incase there was nothing I liked too!

After a brief break we headed over the road to the Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery. When you walk into the museum you immediately notice the organ in the entrance hall. We had missed it, but each day there is a short concert with the organ at 1pm (so make sure you head there earlier if you want to see it). The architecture in the Kelvingrove was beautiful and the decor made the building feel even grander.

Kelvingrove Organ

Inside the galleries on one side of the museum were hundreds of animals. We really enjoyed this aspect of the museum which was focused on nature. There were a few interactive exhibits and a section on Ancient Egypt which I found really interesting.

Processed with VSCO with g3 preset

On the opposite side of the museum were art and culture based exhibits including some Macintosh work. This side was interesting, but not as fun as the other!

2EC7EF93-A214-409D-8062-156DEC81838C

Once the museum closed, we had an hour to kill before we went for dinner. Naturally we went to find a bar and stumbled upon the Kelvingrove Cafe. Since it was after 5pm it was busy, we only just managed to get a table. We enjoyed our drinks but felt like the place was too cramped. We paid our bill at the bar and left, when unexpectedly the manager ran after us and asked us to pay.. which we already had! I think that showed how busy the bar was!

Before we arrived in Glasgow, I decided to search TripAdvisor to find somewhere nice for dinner. One of the most highly rated places was Number 16. Described as a small restaurant with great food, I couldn’t resist booking a table.

When we arrived we were greeted by friendly staff and taken to a small upstairs area where we could pick our own table. We were given menus and the highly knowledgable staff were able to recommend food and wine based on our tastes. We chose a bottle of white wine (Reisling) and I picked Smoked Salmon to start.

Number 16 Starters

The Salmon was mixed with orange flavours which i’d never had before, but I loved it! For main I had a venison dish which was paired with parsnip and potato. My dinner was so good that Jamie admitted (first time ever) that he had food envy and wished he had ordered the same main!

Number 16 Mains

Despite the food envy, all of our dishes were amazing. I really hope that we can go back to Number 16 again and try another menu. The choices are seasonal (including the wine menu) so in a few months there will be a new list of foods!

 

Day 2

We decided to head out for brunch again, our hotel offered a continental style breakfast but it was £14 per person. We figured we could go out and get hot food for a similar price! I found Hutchesons Grill  using google maps and was able to book a table online that morning. It took us about 20 minutes to walk there and we got to see George Square along the way.

The restaurant offers a Prosecco brunch option where you can get a bottle of prosecco with orange juice, croissants and two hot breakfast options which was a great deal. We chose to opt for a Peach Bellini and Bloody Mary with breakfast instead since we had eaten a huge meal the night before.

1B649344-555C-4D97-9ABA-C33F9E8B35AB

I really enjoyed the pancakes, but I did prefer The Butterfly and Pig. I think I may have been easily swayed by the cute decor and cakes though!

After another good brunch, we walked to Glasgow Cathedral to see the beautiful architecture.

View from the Necropolis

After a walk around the Necropolis we visited the cathedral and I was surprised by how beautiful it was inside. The gothic exterior meant that I hadn’t noticed the amazing stained glass windows which lined the building.

4463B5B5-7B1F-4C13-94B5-11CC1C1C2EE4
Stained Glass at Glasgow Cathedral

The cathedral is huge, with us spending about an hour walking around the ground floor and underground crypts. From the tiles on the floors to the arches and windows, there was something to see at every angle. I was really glad that we walked to this side of town and finally got to see the inside of the cathedral!

Processed with VSCO with g3 preset
Inside Glasgow Cathedral

Although the weather wasn’t kind to us, we decided to walk around the city and admire some the street art in the rain. Walking around Glasgow you can’t help but notice the huge murals and art on the sides of buildings. I’ve included a few photos of some of my favourites below.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

E41816C4-16E3-47E1-B257-47C1151CC504

We also saw a huge nature based piece which may have been my favourite.

F194E887-31BD-4770-BABE-CDAB5299CA0D

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

After our small walking tour we went shopping before heading to the hotel and getting ready for dinner. Within a 5 minute walk from the hotel we arrived at the Mussel Inn for some seafood. We were taken upstairs where a few tables were filled. I have to say that the food here was amazing but the service was awful! I had a pasta based dish and Jamie had a seafood platter which was amazing. I think we would give the place another chance since we enjoyed the food, but the service was unbelievably slow. When we were ready to order the waitress asked us to wait because the kitchen was busy. Our drinks took a long time to arrive and the staff were constantly rushing around us. I feel like the restaurant mustn’t normally be this chaotic, since there were good reviews online. Next time we may have to visit the Edinburgh restaurant instead!

To finish off the night we went back to our hotel and visited the bar. The bar had a new cocktail menu with Glasgow themed cocktails and we were able to relax after a day filled with walking!

Citizen M Decor

 

We had a great time in Glasgow even if it was a packed two days! If you have the chance, even spending one day lets you see a few of the big sights. Which other attractions are great in Glasgow?

I’m now waiting for my next Scottish mini-break to Edinburgh in a few weeks!

My Last Week in Edinburgh

Over the past 3 years I have moved 6 times, now i’m heading to flat number 7.

In that time i’ve lived in Leeds, Cheshire, Edinburgh and as of this week Aberdeen.

With only a few days left in my favourite city, I decided to try and experience some of Edinburgh’s highlights. We tried to visit new restaurants and a few attractions alongside our packing to make the most of our time.

5 days until moving

Although our first day was filled with packing, we decided to head out for lunch and walked into Leith. Just a 10 minute walk from our flat, we reached The Shore and walked along the Waters of Leith.

Processed with VSCO with g3 preset
Waters of Leith

We knew that before we left Edinburgh, we needed to visit our favourite cafe. So we decided to have a spontaneous afternoon tea at Mimi’s Bakehouse! If anyone is in the area, this is a cute, homely cafe with homemade cakes and food. This is were I always took my family when they visited and it was our favourite brunch spot.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
Afternoon Tea at Mimi’s Bakehouse

As you can see we had sandwiches, rolls, scones and lots of different cakes. There was no way we could finish all of this! So we got a small box of cakes to take home. After our afternoon out, we went home to pack up as much as we could. Thankfully with our cakes to give us some extra energy!

 

4 days to go

After an evening of packing the night before, we only had two rooms left to sort through. We chose to head out for the day, so walked to the Fountainbridge area of the city to visit Loudons. This is a popular cafe, which when we arrived was already full of tourists. The cafe is spacious and a great place to work if you’re a student. We hadn’t visited since I lived at my previous flat 1.5 years ago which was just around the corner.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
Breakfast at Loudons

I had a very sugary french toast with bacon and Jamie had a full English breakfast. Once we had finished, we were full of energy and decided to walk to the nearby Grassmarket area. My favourite bookshop in Edinburgh was along the way, so we had to make a pitstop! Armchair books is filled to the brim with every possible kind of book. From modern literature to hardback poetry and bibles from the 1700’s there is genuinely something for everyone. All books are second hand, so cheaper than usual and as soon as you walk into the shop you see that every inch of the walls are covered with books.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
Armchair Books

I think we must have spent over an hour in the small store, looking at all of the titles and peeking into some of the really old books! The shop is just next to Grassmarket where we could admire the castle and got the chance to see some of the cats from Maison de Moggy peeking out of the cafe windows.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
Grassmarket

We finished our walk by heading up Victoria Street (one of the most photographed places in Edinburgh) where there are lots of antique and independent shops to look in. Turns out being a tourist in Edinburgh is really fun, especially without the hoards of Fringe tourists from summer. Walking through all of these beautiful places made me even sadder about leaving the city!

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
Victoria Street

3 days to go

With only a few days to go, today was mostly filled with packing. We did however manage to leave the house to see the day light and walk along Princes Street. At this time of year, some of the flowers have been replanted with the gardens undergoing their spring transformation. Princes Street Gardens are crazy busy in the summer, I love walking through at this time of year when it is much quieter.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
Princes Street Gardens

For dinner, we wanted to head to Lian Pu which is an asian restaurant split into two buildings. On the ground floor an express restaurant serves bento boxes and noodle dishes. But the best food is found in the basement – a Korean barbecue and hotpot restaurant allows you to cook your own food.

We chose to use the hotpot to cook our noodles, vegetables, tofu and pork using a half chicken, half hot and spicy broth. We had so much fun spending the evening cooking and for £16 you can eat as much food as you want!

Processed with VSCO with g3 preset
Hotpot at Lian Pu

2 days to go

Today was one of my favourite days in Edinburgh. Mainly because I finally got to visit Edinburgh Chihuahua Cafe! This is officially my favourite place in the city!

Sadly since we are renting our flat, we have to get our dog fix from the Chihuahua Cafe instead of at home. When we arrived we were greeted by super friendly staff who introduced us to the cafe and the rules (there aren’t many). After taking off coats and bags we could choose where to sit whilst the dogs tried to get our attention. We were super lucky, only our party of 3 were in the cafe, so we had freedom to choose where we sat and all of the dogs to ourselves!

There are 8 Chihuahua’s in total, each one completely adorable and a lover of cuddles.We sat on the sofas and the dogs kindly separated themselves equally so that we each had two dogs on our laps. (This was completely by chance!)

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
Ama and Duchess

The puppies were chilled out when we arrived and were happy to sit, getting attention without us needing to run around and play!

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
Sleepy Duchess

The staff were really friendly and supervised us whilst making us feel comfortable. I spent the whole time talking about wanting a dog and discussing whether I could get a secret pet without my landlord knowing (If my landlord is to read this, I have NOT got a dog, I promise!). My favourite puppy changed every time a new dog looked at me, but I decided that the two that chose me had to be my favourites.

C2971CDC-AFA6-4819-AB2D-D4E34E62BFE5
Faery looking Thoughtful

We had a total of 50 minutes with the dogs, during our time only two of the dogs were in their beds (you’re asked not to bother the Chihuahua’s if they are in bed so that they can have some privacy). This meant that 6 puppies were happy to spend time with us throughout our visit.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
5 out of 8 puppies

I had the best time visiting the Chihuahua Cafe and have already booked in for another visit next month! The staff, the puppies and the experience were all amazing! If you love dogs, then you need to visit. I promise you will have a fantastic time!

Since we were near George Street, we booked in for dinner in the Grill Room at The Dome.

Processed with VSCO with g3 preset
The Dome Bar

Before dinner, we wanted to sit in the bar to admire the main room. If you take a trip to Edinburgh, a visit to The Dome (at least for a drink) is a must! Outside the architecture is lovely and inside the decor is beautiful.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

After our drink, we were seated in the Grill Room which is just behind the bar. The service was wonderful and we really enjoyed our experience, the meal wasn’t cheap but it was worth the expense!

Moving tomorrow

The day before our move we needed to leave the house for an end of tenancy clean. We decided to head to Edinburgh’s highest rated afternoon tea (according to TripAdvisor) to give it a try before leaving. We walked along the Royal Mile and stopped by St. Giles Cathedral before heading for lunch.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
St Giles Cathedral

Arriving at the Signet Library, I was struck by the beauty of the building. The entrance room was decorated with paintings and grand staircases, where we were greeted by the maître d’. We were quickly shown to our table in the library which was beautiful!

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
The Signet Library

We were given a menu and opted for the Fizz afternoon tea which included a glass of Cava alongside the preselected afternoon tea menu. The staff were extremely polite and the guests were smartly dressed. Being here felt like a special occasion!

The amuse-bouche was a thai sweet potato soup which was perfect considering we had just walked through a snow covered Edinburgh. As we warmed up we could see outside the old fashioned windows as the snow got heavier. It was so picturesque and made the experience even more perfect!

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Our cava was followed by coffee (or tea) and I wanted to try a Bellini too! We spent time between courses trying to read which books were on the shelves. Many of them were from the 19th century and somehow in perfect condition.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

With our (unlimited) tea and coffee we were given our savoury tray which included mini pork and apple sausage rolls, ox cheek pies, fish cakes and some finger sandwiches. Everything tasted amazing, with the tiny sauces and toppings adding lots of flavours to the dishes. We were starting to feel full once we had finished our savoury dishes but thankfully we were given a break before our sweets were served.

Processed with VSCO with g3 preset
Savoury Selection

Our selection of sweets looked fantastic! I may be biased considering pink is my favourite colour, but I loved them!

Scones were on the bottom tier, with blood orange jelly, honeycomb mousse and raspberry macarons higher up. We struggled to finish the desserts but weren’t rushed by staff and spent over 2 hours there!

94a1d47c-56f1-45b3-bf77-184c33a6e438.jpg
Sweet treats

After all of this food, we were given a small lemon sorbet to finish. I don’t know how but we both managed to eat everything we were given!

I have to say that the Signet Library has created the best afternoon tea I have ever tried! From the amuse-bouche to the finishing sorbet, we were provided with a crazy amount of food and loved everything.

Moving day

Waking up to the beast from the east wasn’t ideal. We packed up the cars as quickly as possible but my phone alerted us to the red weather warning we needed to face to reach Aberdeen. The snow was heavy and the temperature was below freezing, but we had to leave the flat.

After witnessing 3 near crashes and trucks stranded along the side of the road, after 4 hours of driving we thankfully made it to our new flat in one piece.

Edinburgh will always be a special place for me. It was where I became an adult, got my first ‘real’ job and met some of my best friends. I would love to live there again one day, but for now it’s time to make the most of Aberdeenshire!