On Saturday, we celebrated my birthday by exploring Stirling, a town rich with historic sites and monuments!
Saturday morning we got up early (7:15 is early for us now), hurriedly got ready, and booked it to the bus station. We even jogged a bit because we didn’t want to miss our bus, which was taking us to our train. We got to the train station of plenty of time, and sat inside watching the train times board, waiting for our train. Suddenly the time changed for our train, and our train drove out of the station, we had missed it! We frustratedly looked at the schedule and found the next train was an hour later. We ended up finding a coffee shop and getting our morning fix, so it wasn’t that bad in the end. The train is one of the best ways to travel that we’ve ever experienced. You get to see so much of the country side that you wouldn’t see from a train, and you often don’t notice when driving. I can just stare out the train windows for our entire trip, no matter how long it is! When we got to Stirling, the Castle was our first destination.
The Stirling Castle is one of the biggest and best preserved in Scotland, and I was [not so] secretly excited to pretend I was a princess as we explored. The Castle is set up on a hill, and the views surrounding it are incredible! The amount of history which took place in this Castle was astonishing. There were coronations, murders, secret plots to overthrow queens and kings, battles, and so much more! Standing on one side of the Castle you can see where the Battle of Bannockburn was fought, the battle that ultimately secured Scotland’s independence from England.
From the Castle we ventured through the town, seeing old churches, cemeteries, and so many more things. It seemed that every building was a historical monument of some kind!
Next we headed to the Wallace Monument, the Scottish National Monument dedicated to William Wallace. For those of you who know Jared’s love of Braveheart, you can imagine how cool this was for him! This one wasn’t included in our Historic Scotland membership, and it was a huge hike up another big hill… so we looked at it from the bottom of the hill. From there we explored the University of Stirling, which has a beautiful campus!
We continued onto Bridge of Allan, which was a neat little town, and we finished off the day at Cambuskenneth Abbey, which had its own amazing history!
By the end of all our sight seeing, we were worn out! We decided we had probably walked about 8 miles that day! We took the train and bus back to St Andrews, picked up some burgers for dinner, and spent the evening relaxing at home.
Overall it was a fantastic birth-week, and I’m very thankful to have spent this 24th birthday in the beautiful country of Scotland!