If you find a public bathroom anywhere, use it.  Even if you barely have to go, you need to try. You will likely not see another one for a very long time. Parks have no bathrooms.  You will need to learn to go in the woods, to prepare for this, wall sits will be your best friend.

Getting around by car is tougher than you think. Roads are twisty and windy. They drop off immediately. Some roads are one lane in both directions with small passing areas, that you pull off to wait for oncoming traffic, it’s like an endless game of chicken.

Luckily, you can easily navigate the bus and train system after you understand it a bit. It opens up the whole country for you and you can get almost anywhere you want to go on public transportation.

Bathrooms in general are TINY. Showers are truly one person structures and sinks are teeny. Faucets are usually separate so mixing the hot and cold water isn’t done and as a result you will see warning signs about how hot the hot water is, you must heed these.

The soup is always amazing and homemade. Potato Chowder, Mushroom, Cullen Skink. It’s all delicious and all made with love, you can taste it.  Truly.

The seafood is incredible. I adore scallops and the chef was very accommodating to make them for me from the dinner menu when I sat down at lunch and they weren’t available. They were so fresh and beautifully prepared. Microgreens, bacon, cauliflower sauce. It was awesome.

Scottish Bacon is life changing. Thick and meaty. I ate the most incredible baguette with bacon, Brie and cranberry and have had a hard time not ordering it every where we went.

CHIPS CHIPS CHIPS.  (Chips=Fries) With everything.  Macaroni and cheese and chips, fish and chips, quiche and chips. Sticky Toffee Pie and Chips.  I Kid. But am guessing that somewhere there is a menu with that on it somewhere in Scotland.

Try the salmon, even if you hate salmon. It’s so incredible.  Also try the pear cider.

Local people love to help you explore the city and get where you want to go. We were so bummed when we couldn’t ride the Famous Jacobite Train who’s claim to fame is the steam engine featured in the Harry Potter Movies. Lucky for us, Erin made a friend at the Pub and we were told to take the regular Scotride train, half the price, exact same journey.

If you show up at a waterfall at 6:30-7:30 am, chances are you might be the only people there! We got to see some beautiful waterfalls and hiking with virtually no one around. It makes the whole thing that much more magical when you aren’t crammed into a canyon with anyone else. I was shocked that we had several awesome sights all to ourselves. In Yellowstone it’s you and 450 of your closest friends.

You have to order at the bar. Waitstaff doesn’t come to your table except to bring the food. If you want to order you need to do it at the bar.

Everywhere you look is a postcard. Truly. I have never seen a more magnificent place in my entire life. In the first week I took over 1500 pictures mostly on the iphone, but also on my lumix. It is such a beautiful country and the more you explore it the more beautiful it is.

It will rain every day. Usually just a little, but a raincoat is required. I bought one for $35 and it was the best investment I made. It was great for blocking the wind and it was awesome for keeping me dry when it did rain on the trails. Walking in the rain is Scotland is beautifully calming, not to mention amazing for your hair. My naturally curly hair usually looks terrible on the trail, but the Scotland air and rain made it soft and wavy and that was awesome.

You can use your credit card nearly anywhere, but tipping is usually not allowed to be added to the card. You will need some cash for this and according to locals 10% is for good service, more is awkward.

Scotland natives have likely not seen as much of the country as you have, they have no idea how beautiful their country is. Obviously the staycation isn’t big in Scotland, but it should be!

Almost every pub has a dog. It’s a sweet accepted tradition that I wish was adopted in the states.

Mile for mile, or I should say kilometer for kilometer, it is the most beautiful place I have been to date. I feel like we got to see a lot of the country since we had the car and I was with someone who knew it well. Scotland is covered in castles and stone buildings, incredible architecture and amazing waterfalls. Born of a time when real stone masons and craftsmen were celebrated and painstakingly forged these stunning elements with their own hands. It is truly a magical place that you need to explore and having 2 weeks there to do that was a gift.

XOXO Ninya

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VELVET GUILD: A Serial Novel

I was as a single mom whose unemployment was running out fast. I was desperate for a way out

Velvet Guild is a serial novel broken into episodes. Each episode is approximately 12,000 words and can be read in an hour, like your favorite TV episode. It is sure to become your guilty pleasure.

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