Landing in London I was met by a cold wind and rain- yep, typical English weather! I stayed the night in Hatfield with my friend Hannah, who then accompanied me the following day to Cardiff, Wales, where we were met by four more friends, (Rachel, Danielle, Noel and Melissa) who'd all worked together as nurses on the ship in Sierra Leone 2011.
That afternoon we headed out to Tredegar House, a huge old English home. It had beautiful gardens, with manicured lawns, shaped hedges and blossoming flowers. Inside the house was set up as it used to be years ago when it was lived in.
The following day we went to St Fagans, a Welsh historical town and explored the culture a little further.
Onwards to Scotland!
After a 12hr bus journey, including four bus changes and a good book, The Hunger Games, I arrived in Perth, Scotland. I was met by another previous Mercy Shipper, Emma, and Noel and Melissa again and we drove to Emma's huge family home, 45 minutes from Perth, on a big area of land, between beautiful green grassy hills that begged to be climbed.
The weather, being much further north, was of course much colder and every night we had an open fire burning even though it was the middle of summer!! I wore my ski jacket, scarf and hat and, although possibly overdressed at times, enjoyed the cold weather for a change.
We enjoyed some Scottish culture attending a small town's Junior Highland Games, where we saw highland dancing, tug-of-war and sack races.
Rain slowed our plans at times but we jumped at a break in the rain to walk the hills surrounding the house. There is something just so breath-taking about a cold breeze in your face, water bubbling down the brook, green, rolling hills as far as the eye can see, sheep roaming from place to place keeping a steady eye on your presence, wildflowers waving in the wind, gumboots treading on wet ground, dogs running ahead up the hill and your heart beating steady in your chest as the climb gets steeper and then the view which shows you how high your feet have taken you!
Saying goodbye to Emma, the three of us girls headed to Edinburgh for a few hours before I headed a different direction.
We walked around the city, dizzily climbing a tall monument with 287 steps, while hearing the sound of bagpipes carried on the wind. Plenty of cathedrals and beautiful old buildings, some covered with moss because of the constant wet weather, adorned the city with a huge castle sitting on the edge of the hill.
We parted ways and I was off to Liverpool, which, by the way, was named the New York of Europe, in 1886.