A trip to Scotland - Part 2
Time for more pics! :)
Day 3 found us still in Glasgow and after a hearty breakfast of Belgian waffles (yum!) we got on the road to Stirling.
As lovely Wikipedia describes it, "Stirling is a city in central Scotland. At the heart of its old town, medieval Stirling Castle is on a craggy volcanic rock. On the Abbey Craig outcrop, the National Wallace Monument is a 19th-century tower. It overlooks the site of the 1297 Battle of Stirling Bridge, where William Wallace defeated the English. The Battle of Bannockburn Experience has interactive 3D displays on the history of the 1314 conflict." You can read more here or here.
What I loved best about Stirling? The mountains. The history. The sense of being so completely separated from the rest of the world. And the National Wallace Monument that stands tall, a reminder of Scottish bravery and a patriotic past that cannot be forgotten.
I thought it deserved its own post, just like Edinburgh will get its own :)
So without further ado, some highlights!
This is what you see when you approach Stirling from the highway. And that tall thing that looks like an obelisk from afar? That's the National Wallace Monument. Visible from every corner of Stirling, it's epic to withstand, and even more so to hike there!
But, one thing at a time.
I cannot put into words what you feel when you're walking the cobblestone grounds of Stirling castle... But for me, it was something akin to reverence. We were lucky enough to snag one of the free tours (I HIGHLY recommend them!) and our wonderful tour lady was well-versed in Jacobite history. She brought the entire castle to life, with anecdotes that would take me pages upon pages to relay.
You can read more about Stirling Castle's history here. And if you're wondering why the unicorn as their logo? Because it's Scotland's national animal :) The only thing that can beat the British lion in a fight! (I found that story absolutely endearing)
Now, some pics of the castle:
If you think those pics are pretty stunning, check out the inside! Tapestries line the walls, attendees dressed in era costumes and the COLORS! :) It really brings you back in time. One interesting thing to note is Stirling Castle is still considered a residence for the Queen of England. So should Her Majesty Elizabeth II decide she wants to spend the summer here, then the good people keeping Stirling Castle in shape would have to prepare it for her arrival!
Ready for more? These are just some of the panorama pics I took while wandering around Stirling Castle!
Wait, there's still more! Aside from a lovely café nestled in Stirling's womb, there are gorgeous grounds filled with vibrant green...
...there's a kitchen with stone mannequins, a complete re-enactment of the past...
... and even a Lego exhibition! A wonderful Scottish artist was able to make a career out of his childhood hobby. If only we could all be so lucky :) He's created miniatures of the Ancient Wonders of the World, and even Niagara Falls and the Grand Canyon!
So that's Stirling Castle :) Next up, about 10min of a drive, we got to the National Wallace Monument. If you haven't watched Braveheart... Do so :)
National Wallace Monument
This monument commemorates William Wallace as well as many other Scottish heroes like Robert the Bruce, etc. To get inside, you have to pay - which we didn't do, as we were short on time! But we did hike all the way up Abbey Craig (the hill upon which the monument stands), and that alone was an experience! I highly, highly recommend this! More info here.
And how else to end the day after all this wonderful history, than with something, well, a bit more modern :)
I'll say this... Don't trust Google Maps. Because apparently, it wants you to stop smack in the middle of a national highway and hop over the fence to see the Kelpies... LOL.
That being said, the trip was worth it. Between Stirling and Edinburgh, you can pay for parking and gain admission to the grounds. The largest equine sculptures in the world, they're called! Best time to go is at night, as you get to see them light up! Or during the day you can do a tour, as well.
We had about 1hr left until full darkness and jetlag took over so we didn't stick around, but you can see in some of the close-up pictures hints of the lights :)
And that's it for now! Coming up next is Edinburgh, Cairmgorns National Park, Inverness... and more!