Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Scotland/England Vacation Photos on Flickr!

   So one of the many reasons I've been posting so little is because I was away in Scotland for some time during the end of 2012.

   Scotland has to be one of the most inspirational places to me. Not only is it incredibly old and beautiful, it is haunting and full of bloody history that can still be sensed as you walk the grand streets of Edinburgh and drive through the Scottish Highlands.

   Mostly I spent my time in Edinburgh, which I must say is one of my favorite places in the world. This city is full of friendly and interesting people. It's a fairly diverse city with all of its university students so I didn't feel like an odd ball out as "the only American girl" in town. Like other great cities, it's got amazing shopping and restaurants, but UNLIKE other great cities... it's Edinburgh. It's got some of the bloodiest, darkest, spookiest history known to us all. Home to the most notoriously haunted cemetery in the world, home to the most infamous body snatchers Burke and Hare, and home to the famous underground vaults... Edinburgh is creepy, beautiful, and macabre. My kind of place!

   The underground vaults tour was so eerie and amazing, nothing but a few candles down there. But even in the small amount of light that was in there, I swear I saw a dark shadow pass through one of the vaults. No wind or anything can get down there, so... maybe it was a ghost! I don't know, but I sure would like to think so. Our tour guide decided to scare the crap out of us, by putting our tiny group into the most haunted vault (which had no candles) and then blow out his tiny candle that he was holding. And then unfortunately, my embarrassing SoCal-Girl instincts kicked in and I said "Um, you did not just do that!" like I was straight out of OC (which I am)... kinda lame I know. But hey, I will admit: I was spooked! You could definitely feel something in these vaults, the air felt so thick, and there was a constant feeling that something was watching us from around every corner...

   I took a few strolls the beautiful and spooky Greyfriars and I must say that it also felt as spooky as they say. The famous Black Mausoleum (home to the Mackenzie Poltergeist) was definitely distinguishable from the rest of the cemetery. I truly wish I had taken a night tour, but I had no close friends with me on this trip and I knew I'd be pretty scared to go on my own, but even so I know I'll get another chance to go back someday and I will definitely bring my cowardly friends along.

   Another must-see in Edinburgh is, of course, Edinburgh Castle. I could go on and on about the history of Edinburgh Castle, but something you may not always hear about are the prison doors they have on display. Most visit the castle because of its royal history, but something that really stuck out to me where these old prison doors, and how they still had the original carvings in them, done by the prisoners themselves. For some reason these carvings really drew me in; I suppose it is because they were done by people who were anything but royal, and they did these in the cells where all they had were the darkness and each other.

   I took a day trip to the Highlands and as our tour guide told us old tales about the pagans and celts who lived there centuries ago, I got to thinking... is this there Halloween began? Am I really in the areas of Europe where All Hallow's Eve first started by the druids and pagans that lived in these hills? It was definitely an area that felt heavy, in a good way. In a historical and natural way. The Highlands are stunning to look at, but being there and feeling the crisp air is really what makes is special.


 I visited Loch Ness that day and had myself some delicious whisky in hot chocolate on our little boat ride... but as relaxed as I was, still, I was on the look out for Nessy!

I believe the spec in the top left corner is Nessy, so... case closed!

   My aunt, who I was staying with, took me down to London for a weekend, where I saw three of the most amazing exhibits.
His photos captivated me not only for their direction and beauty, but for their sinister, macabre, and eerie moods. 
Read more about it and view more pictures on "Avery Sweet Blog"

   The second exhibit was a Hollywood Costume exhibit at the V&A.
This exhibit was truly emotional for me as I have grown up on cinema and aspire to make movies of my own. Getting to see some of the most iconic original costumes from the movies that have inspired me throughout my life was unforgettable and moving. I don't know if the rest of the audience enjoyed it as much as I did, however. We as Americans tend to look up to movie stars as our own version of royalty, not sure if the Brits quite get that, but regardless of the other patrons, I enjoyed this exhibit with all my heart. 

   The Third exhibit was called "Death: A Self-Portrait" at the Wellcome Center.
This exhibit showed how death was viewed throughout history and among different cultures, by placing dozens of works of art inspired by death all in one exhibit. 

Also while I was in London, I got to have lunch and tea at the Laduree in Harrods, a girly dream come true!

And of course, what's London without stopping into 221 B Baker St to see our good old chap Sherlock Holmes...

To view the rest of my vacation photos, check out my Flickr here!


  1. Beautiful photos ! Thanks for sharing them

  2. Yeah of course! Wish I had posted them sooner.