When I imagined Scotland I pictured rolling hills of vivid green, clear waters with that one misleading log keeping the mystery of Loch Ness Monster alive, and sunsets, lots of glorious sunsets. Although Edinburgh was beautiful in it's own way, it left me wondering if I had it all wrong. That was until I made it to the Highlands. The landscape was everything I dreamed up and more. With shades of green that I had never seen before. As the fog collected around the vibrant hilltops, I felt like I was surrounded by magic. No wonder Scotland's animal is listed as the Unicorn. I couldn't think of a place better suited for one.
Edinburgh surpassed all of my expectations with its toppling castle perched high on a bright green hillside and its gloriously dark gothic buildings. The city felt reminiscent of an old childhood fairytale. Each block burst with tales of past tragedies, adventures, and victories. Its energy could be summed up in one word; alluring.
On this trip Thomas and I were very adventurous. Check out our little vlog that documents us as we discover traditional Scottish music, explore Edinburgh Castle, and try HAGGIS for the first time.
On July 19th, only one day after my New Orleans feet touched down on Netherland's soil, Thomas and I boarded the Stena Line. We departed from Hoek van Holland and crossed the North Sea to Harwich, United Kingdom. The ferry was huge and the closest thing to a cruise ship I've ever experienced. It had a cafeteria, indoor and outdoor bars, a movie theater, smoking lounge, casino, arcade, and outdoor sporting courts. Thomas spent a little extra for us to have access to a private lounge which I highly recommend. Not only did it have couches and a quiet place away from the bustle of the main lobby, but it included free unlimited snacks, espresso, juice, and wine! The 6-hour journey went smoothly, thanks to the sunny weather and calm waters.
HARWICH, UNITED KINGDOM
Harwich was an adorable tiny town with houses that reminded me a little bit of home with their old bricks and pastel coloring. Thomas and I grabbed dinner at a hole in the wall Turkish restaurant where in the midst of our meal, the entire staff came out with scarves and tambourines and invited everyone up to dance. It was delightful and amusing and the perfect way to start an amazing journey. We ended our evening at the pub right next to our hotel. Inside were locals, old and young, taking turns singing karaoke. They were warm, filled with loads of recommendations about our upcoming destinations, and surprisingly (seeing as it was a night of karaoke) pretty darn great at singing.
York was bustling with tourists, hen parties, and a comedy festival that brought a modern flavor into the Medieval walls of the city. The architecture was breathtaking and exploding with history around every corner. Thomas and I walked through the streets until we found an entryway onto the Roman built wall that protected the city until the Vikings came. We ended our day at "New York," a collection of old shipping crates modernized into bars. It was quirky, unique, and sold a collection of UK's finest beers.
It's been awhile since I've posted. There really isn't any reasoning behind it. My life hasn't been put on hold and I haven't experienced a lull in adventure, in fact, I've had an incredible past couple of years. But, during those years I was experiencing every day living in the moment. This was necessary for the type of self-growth I needed to get to where I am today. Now, however, I am ready to make reflection a priority and if you're interested, I want to share my upcoming experiences with you.
In five days I'll be taking a redeye from New Orleans to The Netherlands where I anticipate the beginning of a five-week adventure. For the very first time, I'll be crossing the North Sea via boat and driving up and around the English and Scottish countryside capturing the land one photo at a time and documenting the most captivating places. I'll be visiting almost every nook and cranny the Netherlands has to offer with a local tour guide who happens to be my favorite person in the world, Thomas Pol.
There will be surprises because not every day of my journey is planned. I am crossing my fingers that a trip to Belgium is in store as well as a meet up with one of my dearest friends and current Germany resident, Kimberly Shine. I'm hoping to come across other photographers and learn as well as share what I know with them. But most of all I hope that I can do a quality job documenting this trip so you feel as if you were right alongside me.
Cheers and thanks for reading!