Scotland

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I love to travel. I love everything about it. I love seeing new places and cultures, and experiencing all they have to offer. I especially love watching the people around me when I’m in these new and exciting places; seeing how they differ from those in the places I’m used to, and how they’re similar. I even enjoy seeing other travelers. I find it a great privilege to see a person have an experience that they will always remember.

Of all the places I’ve traveled (so far, that is), Edinburgh is my favorite. The buildings aren’t just historic, they’re consistent. In any given area the buildings actually match one another; or at least they coordinate. It makes for a very visually appealing city. And that’s just the architecture.

The land that the city of Edinburgh was built on is very hilly. This means that, though it most often takes more than a leisurely stroll to get across the city, your trek is full of stunning views. Everything was so gorgeous; I literally took over 200 photos!

Our trip started VERY early Wednesday morning with a flight from London to Glasgow. This Scottish city is about an hour’s drive from the capital city of Edinburgh. When we arrived in Scotland we drove to the Explore Learning center where we’d be RMUing for the day. RMU stands for Remote Marketing Unit, and “RMUing” basically consists of sales: approaching lots of people (often families), talking to them about Explore Learning, and (hopefully) booking in a trial session for them in one of our centers. We talked to lots of Glaswegians, booked some trials, and at the end of the day headed towards Edinburgh.

When we arrived in Scotland’s capital city it was near dark and rainy. We went up to our cosy little loft near the center of town to drop our things and headed out for dinner. Scotch was tasted and haggis was eaten; it was a proper Scottish night. After dinner we wandered up the Royal Mile for a bit and then headed home to (finally) rest after a long day.

On my birthday we did even more RMUing in a shopping mall in Edinburgh. it was slower going, but it ended up being a productive, if not long, day. After work I was treated to a dinner with some Explore employees from Edinburgh centers, where we had even more traditional Scottish food. Image

These little babies were described as “fried”, but they were really just slightly crispy whole fish.

We spent Friday and Saturday in the two Edinburgh centers, learning from the directors that work there. Edinburgh centers have the highest retention rates in the company, and it was really insightful to see what made them so successful in keeping their members. I learned a lot and brought a lot back to the center in St Albans, most of which I will later bring to Texas!

Sunday started our weekend, and we had lots planned. We started the morning with a walk across the city center to Holyrood park. This park is the home to the extinct volcano that towers over the city of Edinburgh. The views from the top are raved about from everyone who visits the city, and we were told it was a must-do.

To be honest, I hate rock climbing. It makes me nervous: every few steps I can’t help but picture myself slipping and breaking my face open on a muddy stone. The climb up the mountain to Arthur’s Seat (the peak of the volcano) was hard and long, but when we got to the top it truly was gorgeous. You really can see the entire city from up there; even the slightly sloping grassy side of the mountain that children and the elderly used to get to the top. :/

On our way down the mountain Laila slipped on some wet grass and cut her knee, so we walked down the shorter and less strenuous side to the bottom. Because this route ended up on the complete other side of the park, we then had to walk around the base of the mountain until we reached the Royal Mile again.

The Royal Mile is the main historical street in Edinburgh; at the bottom of the hill on which the Royal Mile sits is Arthur’s seat, and at the top is Edinburgh castle. After getting some lunch at a tiny Italian sandwich shop, we began wandering up the hill towards the castle, weaving in and out of tourist-driven shops along the way. We arrived at Edinburgh Castle less than 5 minutes after closing, so we wandered around town a bit longer before heading back to our flat for a night in.

We made the trek across town again on Monday morning to see Edinburgh Castle and, luckily, had no problems getting in. The castle is beautiful, offering wide views from its perch at the top of the Royal Mile. When we were done wandering the Castle grounds we still had time left before our flight so we wandered around the Scottish National (art) Gallery for a bit. Though the modern art section went almost completely over my head, the Gallery’s collection of historic portraits and massive paintings were definitely worth the admission they didn’t charge.

After the museum we said goodbye to our perfect flat and headed for the airport. Though the flight went pretty smoothly, I ran into trouble getting from London to St Albans when the train line that I usually take was closed due to a man being hit on the tracks. Luckily, the Fleckney’s are saints, and I was able to take a train near enough to them to be picked up by car. I got back to St Albans completely worn out and exhausted, but full of great memories (and hundreds of great pictures) from my wonderful week in Scotland.

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