Guest of Honour: Morgan Cantrell

Today, my Guest of Honour is my friend Morgan Cantrell. Morgan has helped me an incredible amount with wise words on how to increase my blog traffic, my blog more user friendly, and in general, blog better. I’m glad she was willing to write this post so I hope you enjoy! Be sure to check out her page as well at travelmorgantravel.com

 

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Summer in the Rain

 

Summer 2012 was the summer I spent in the rain. Eight weeks of freezing rain coming up from the ground and sideways from the wind was about all I could take of Scotland. Yet, somehow, Scotland moved into my heart, and I was forever smitten.

 

The University of Stirling welcomed me into its arms. It had a castle on the grounds, a 9-hole golf course, and a state of the art athletic department partially funded by local Andy Murray. Being the history geek that I am, I continued my major in Scotland. It was wonderful to be able to learn Scottish history from the locals. That’s one thing that is skewed in the American universities. Nothing against my professors at Auburn! It was just nice to learn the history from Scottish people. They have so much passion and love for their country.

 

One of the great advantages to studying abroad is the privilege of travel. While in Scotland, I was able to take weekend trips to Belfast, North of Ireland, Dublin, Ireland, and Interlaken, Switzerland. Those trips were some of the most memorable trips I’ve ever taken. The trip to Belfast inspired my senior thesis. The trip to Dublin was the inspiration for my move there later. (Want to see more of my life in Ireland? Check out my blog!) And the trip to Interlaken allowed me to get to the top of the Swiss Alps. Nothing was more beautiful than the view from the top of the Alps.

 

Of course I was able to travel all over Scotland. I spent a weekend in the Highlands visiting places like the Isle of Skye and Loch Ness. Edinburgh captured my heart with its old and new architecture mixed together. The Royal Mile was fit for a queen. While in Glasgow, I cheered for the USA Women’s Olympic Soccer Team as they took on France. St. Andrews was the perfect getaway as I walked the sandy beached and looked in the ruined cathedral and castle.

 

But of all the places I saw that summer, Stirling is the one place that holds my heart.

 

The town of Stirling boasts a castle sitting high on a rock face. There has been evidence of a castle on that spot since the 1100s. Beneath the castle winds the medieval streets of Stirling. In one direction, the town gives way to gently rolling hills and farmland dotted white with sheep, but in the other direction, drastic mountains, or Munroe’s as the Scots call them, shoot into the sky. Stirling stood and will continue to stand as the base of the Highlands.

 

In just eight simple weeks, my heart was forever changed. Stirling, Scotland moved into my heart and it hasn’t quite left. I can still feel the sting of the icy rain and hear the train coming around the bend. I can smell the scotch and taste the haggis. Scotland holds one of the keys to my heart. 

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