In November of 2012, I spent five days in Scotland. I was studying abroad in Ireland at the time and so it was easy enough to pop on over and spend a long weekend exploring. I remember imagining it would be just like Ireland; rolling green hills, charming locals, rain, and more green hills. And while Scotland was certainly abundant with these characteristics, I was blown away by how different it ended up being from its neighbor across the water.
Almost upon arrival, I was overcome by the mysticism and romance of the country. Certainly part of this had to do with the look of Scotland; majestic hills of unnamed colours, lochs of seemingly infinite depths and mysteries, cities and villages capable of transporting visitors back in time. Scotland looked the part of any 17th century movie set. But in actuality, it was the air itself that captured me right away. It was heavy, somber. It whispered tales of hardship and atrocity in the Highlands and cities alike. I had known almost nothing of the country's history before stepping foot on its soil yet I was overcome with the weight of its past which settled deeply into my heart and bones.
I fell in love with Scotland instantly.