“I Could Talk Scotland for Hours…”
Carmen and her best friends celebrate the completion of their final dissertation at the University of Glasgow.
Scotland has called Carmen Schreiber, 24, since she was a wee bairn. That’s the Scottish slang for baby, but Carmen already knows that. “I could talk Scotland for hours. I’m taken by the bagpipes, the culture, the clans, and history of the Highlands. I usually get on people’s nerves about it, but it is where I belong,” Carmen says.
A bagpiper stands in front of the Eileen Donan Castle near the Isle of Skye.
Carmen first visited the country as an undergrad studying abroad at the University of Stirling in central Scotland. The month abroad confirmed her suspicions that Scotland was, indeed, her special place — especially Glasgow, the city that stole her heart. So, after completing her undergrad in psychology, she applied to the University of Glasgow (established in 1451 and resembling something out of Harry Potter) and was accepted into a Masters of Management and Human Resources program there.
Carmen attempts to take some flying lessons using what she refers to as her Harry Potter broomstick at Alnwick Castle. The Harry Potter flying scenes were filmed here.
“Glasgow is the perfect city,” Carmen says and beams while patting her heart. “The people are hilarious — you can’t go to sleep without hearing drunk Scots singing American ’80s songs and playing practical jokes on each other. There is live music every night, sing-alongs, the smell of fish and chips wafting through the air…” she trails off. “Just sitting on the drunk-proof subway that continuously circles the city in a loop, listening to the dialect of the passengers, well, it’s the coolest place in the world.”
Here are Carmen’s Top Five Things to Do in Scotland:
Rabbie’s Three Day Tour of the Isle of Skye
- See the Quiraing mountain pass. It is something out of a fairy tale; absolutely stunning and the Isle’s most popular site.
- Visit Portree, a wee village and harbor; the capital of the Isle.
- The Fairy Pools — a long walk but stunning.
- Fairy Glen — it is like the Shire.
- Kilt Rock.
- Sligachan Bridge — you can see an amazing view of the Cuillin Mountains.
- Eilean Donan Castle.
- Neist Point Lighthouse — many stairs but the second most popular site on the Isle.
- See the Highland cattle.
The Fringe Festival in Edinburgh (August)
- An absolutely insane month-long festival featuring over 53,000 performances in 300 venues including comedy, dance, cabaret, music, and theater.
- Head to Captains Bar for live Scottish music every night.
- Edinburgh Military Tattoo — military bands and bagpipe spectacles.
Hang out with local Glaswegians in Glasgow
- Go pub hopping on Sauchiehall Street and enjoy live music and crazy night life.
- Watch a Ranger/Celtics game with the locals.
- Eat at Mother India — Scotland is known to have some of the best Indian fare in the world.
- Visit the University of Glasgow.
- Visit the Cathedral and Necropolis.
- View a bagpipe championship or the Glasgow Highland Games.
- Walk the “West End” (the hipster area of the city).
The Jacobite Train and Alnwick Castle
- The train is literally The Hogwarts Express and takes you through scenic Scotland.
- The Alnwick Castle is where Harry Potter’s flying lessons were filmed.
Visit a distillery
- Try Scottish Whiskey at one of the many distilleries the country has to offer: Talisker, Auchentoshan, Oban, or Glenmorangie. Some taste as smooth as bourbon, others have a smoky flavor from the local peat