My UK Adventures

Glasgow, where I’m studying abroad, is an amazing city and I think it is the best place to stay in Scotland. But I’d like to share some of my adventures from outside of the city.

The first trip I made outside of Glasgow was to the Scottish capital, Edinburgh. I went on a tour that’s tailored for international students who want to see the sights of Scotland. Edinburgh is the more “touristy” of the two bigger cities of Scotland, first off because it is the capital and secondly because it’s the birthplace of Harry Potter!

“It was amazing being able to just walk around and clear your mind of all the things back at university.”

This is something I had no idea about until we were on our way there. There is a famous cafe called The Elephant Room where J.K. Rowling starting writing the Harry Potter books (she ended up writing most of them in a different cafe but this is where she started off). There is also a cemetery where some of the characters names are on the headstones.

We then went to both sides of the castle, which is up on a hill in the middle of the city, however we didn’t go in because it is a little expensive and the tour guide didn’t want to make everyone pay. Apparently it is one of the few castles still commissioned by the army.

Finally, some of the group walked partially up the mountain called Arthur’s Seat which is only about a 10 minute walk from the University of Edinburgh. From our vantage point you could see the whole city!

For my next trip I went on another tour, this time to Loch Ness. I was trying to get my very own glimpse of Nessie! Instead of the typical trip to Loch Ness, however, our guide took us to a farm that lays beside the loch so we were able to enjoy it without all the tourist clutter. She also happened to have highland cows, some horses and dogs for us to pet. We all needed some puppy love after going abroad.

It was amazing being able to just walk around and clear your mind of all the things back at university. We then went into the small town that sits beside the loch where we ate some lunch and saw all the Nessie memorabilia. I really enjoyed the bus ride through the highlands to and from Loch Ness because it was so vast and the mountains were so green. It would be an awesome place to go hiking and just live in the moment.

Since I went to the home of Harry Potter it only made sense to complement that with the castle where a couple of the movies were filmed. Alnwick Castle is not in Scotland, it is a border castle at the Scotland-England border and has belonged to the Percy family for more than 700 years. As a way to generate income they started filming movies and TV shows there including “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” “Transformers: The Last Knight,” “Downton Abbey” and “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves” (the one with Kevin Costner).

This was the first castle where I was able to explore the inside — and it was amazing. I walked every square inch possible. My goal is to see at least a few more castles during my time abroad.

If people ask how studying abroad was, I’ll just say I went inside a castle and nothing more will need to be said.

Emiliano Estrada is an economics major. He is studying at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom during fall semester.

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