Guest Post on Destination Caledonia – 5 tips for a superb Scottish trip
Looking forward to being able to travel freely again once corridors open up again post-pandemic?
Yup, us too.
And one place we cannot wait to spend a few months in Scotland. When we think of the most beautiful part of Britain, we can picture the legendary lochs, glens and mountains, smell the freshly-caught haggis and hear the skirl of the bagpipes as clear as a crow cawing on a cold and frosty morning.
But even more importantly than that, it's the people who make Scotland so special and unique. Whether you're hanging out with a fast-talking Glaswegian and enjoying their ‘banter', enjoying the sing-dong cadences of a Fifer or asking a Dundonian for the directions to the ‘peh' (‘pie') shop, you'll feel a wonderfully warm welcome.
While the time might not be right quite yet to get those tickets booked and look our kilts out of the cupboard; it's certainly time to start planning.
If you fancy a highland fling with us, here are five tips for a superb Scottish trip.
Learn the Lingo
Scotland or Caledonia has three official languages: English, Scots and Gaelic. Gaelic is a rich, beautiful language, but impenetrable unless you're a native speaker or have done some serious study.
Since you're reading this, you already know English. So that's enough to get the gist of most conversations in Scotland. Although you'll have to tune your ear into the accents and learn some unfamiliar words too.
Scots sounds more similar to English and most Scottish people speak a variant of it every day. But to the untrained ear, a strong Scottish accent can be mistaken for German or Russian; and even after you get used to it, many words in everyday use aren't in an English dictionary. If you want your Scots to be as clear as a ‘braw, bricht day', follow Miss PunnyPennie on Twitter. She publishes a cool new Scots word video every day!
‘Scran' is Scots for ‘food', so if you ‘scran up', you're ‘eating up'. And there are lots to tempt your taste buds in Scotland. From traditional (and veggie/vegan) haggis to fresh haddock suppers with crisp chips and a variety of fusion foods from all over the world.
And if you're tempted to try traditional Scottish street food, other options apart from fish and chips include the tasty pastry products. You'll find in bakeries here, which include steak bridies, mince pies and sweet treats like fudge do-nuts and cakes; shaped like everything from frogs to caterpillars.
Wander down the main foodie streets in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee or any major town. You can taste everything from traditional Scottish fare to Turkish kababs and delish Indian curries – tuck in!
Soak up the Scenery
Caledonia (as the Romans called Scotland) is regularly voted the world's most beautiful nation by travel guides like Lonely Planet.
And when you experience Scotland's most beautiful views, you'll see why. From Edinburgh Castle to the Isle of Arran, there's something stunning in every nook and cranny.
After a few weeks here, we bet you'll fall in love with the surroundings. From noble new towns which are marvels of neoclassical symmetry to old towns with charming, cobbled streets and labyrinthine alleyways, to surprisingly gorgeous green spots in the middle of urban sprawls, Caledonia captures the eye as well as the heart.
If you're spending a few months in Caledonia (Scotland), one excellent way of getting to know locals and contributing to a create cause is by volunteering.
Whether you're teaching kids sports or building a community centre, giving back feels brilliant. Check out volunteerscotland.net for opportunities.
Whether you're learning something entirely new or using existing skills to make a difference, volunteering is very fulfilling. Plus, don't forget that it also enhances your CV. Potential employers will be impressed that you used your skills in an altruistic way to make life better for people who needed your help.
Study on the Move
Internet coverage is good in Scotland, especially in the central belt and big cities. So if you're working or studying online, you won't need to worry about disrupting your progress/cash flow.
Whether you're taking an ARU Distance Learning degree or working as a vlogger; you'll have no problem staying connected in Scotland.
Furthermore, whether you're typing away at your laptop on a park bench or in a city café; you'll probably be close to a captivating view and be enjoying the buzzing ambience around you.
Studying or working on the move is always more pleasant; when you've got comfortable surroundings to make everything feel more positive. You might even meet someone you can collaborate with in the future.
Follow these five tips for a superb Scottish trip and you'll have the time of your life – bon voyage!