Every now and then, Karsten and I get nostalgic. And when we get nostalgic, we either think of the good old times during our studies (in particular of all our friends and some memorable parties). Or we think of Scotland. The latter happens pretty often while we are drinking whisky. Or when it’s raining outside. Or when we visit a botanic garden. Or when I work in the garden. So basically pretty often. And with Scotland being in the news so often right now due to the upcoming referendum I thought I’ll wallow a bit in old memories.
Karsten and I went to Scotland after we finished our studies in Germany. He decided to do a Master in Edinburgh, I decided to do an internship. I always wanted to visit Scotland, so it was an easy decision and it turned out to be one of my best ones too.
We had the most amazing time in Scotland. It was the year we rented our first flat together – one room with a bed, a couch and a table, a kitchen where you could reach everything without even moving, and a bathroom where Karsten could only sit angulary on the toilet. A flat with mold on the walls, a general temperature of 14°C and around 80% humidity. We knew it was summer because we had to undress when leaving the flat.
It was the year when we discovered our passion for whisky – although the first whisky we ever had was a Laphroig offered by our landlord and we were almost put off (for those among you who don’t drink whisky: Laphroig is the one where the whole room starts smelling like a turf pit). But given my job and our Scottish friends, whisky soon turned into my favorite drink to have in Scottish pubs (it also turned out that I get groggy after one cider but I can still recall my steps after several whiskies).
It was the year I visited amazing places, met amazing people, learned how to sea-kayak, learned how to properly use a mattock, danced a reel in a Georgian costume, got my nickname killerqueen, broke a log during spontaneous highland games, learned to appreciate haggis, got engaged , saw the Queen, ate a deep-fried mars bar and spent a night with the ashes of Alfred Adler. It was an awesome time!
We spent most of the time in Edinburgh and its surroundings and we couldn’t have wished for a more beautiful city to live in. The center is divided into two parts – the Old Town and the New Town. No matter what you are looking for, you’ll find it. Narrow, medieval streets and closes? Palaces? A castle? Old, mysterious graveyards (including some mysterious business)? Farmers markets? Cosy pubs? Live music? Expensive pubs? Fancy businesses? Classy buildings? The house of the First Minister, without any visible guards? Greek architecture? Georgian architecture? An old volcano? University with vibrant student live? Homeless people in front of the supermarket? Drunk rugby fans in the trains? Beautiful museums? The sea? History? Stories? All there!
The only things we truly missed while we were living in Scotland where beer gardens, good bread and more small individual shops. With small individual shops I mean small bookshops, shops for children without selling only Disney toys, tea shops (maybe that’s a German thing though…I am used to drink “loose” tea, something I have rarely seen in Scotland)…With bread I mean..well…German bread. Probably a German thing too. And beer gardens…ach ja, another German thing. Maybe the weather is just not right for a big beer garden supply in Edinburgh. But on the few days with warm sunshine after work you really don’t want to sit in a dark pub, do you?
In two weeks, the Scots (and everyone else permanently living in Scotland) are going to vote for or against Scotland’s independence. I am curious how it’ll turn out. I don’t have an opinion yet though I am a little bit sceptical whether a small country’s economy should nowadays be mainly built on oil reserves, but oh yes, Scotland certainly has its own soul and it would be a historic moment if Scotland finally got independent! The only thing we hope is that no matter how the result will be we’ll always have the chance to return to this beautiful country!!