Being asked to go on the press trip with Barbour was a major highlight in all the time I’ve been blogging. Barbour is obviously a brand I love and I was so honored and grateful that they asked me along. But… I’ll admit… I was really nervous. Traveling in general makes me nervous, but this would be even more anxiety-inducing for me since I didn’t know anyone and had no idea what to expect.
Absolutely everything from the trip was incredible. The travel, the sights, the experience, the fun facts, the people! I had a feeling that I would walk away with a greater appreciation for the brand, but I hadn’t expected to walk away with so many new friends.
As the trip went on, I realized that there was just so much to post about. So much so that I figured I would have to divide it up into a few posts. I hope everyone enjoys the posts as I’ll really try to give as much detail as I can. I wish everyone could have come with me– it was just so amazing.
I was on a flight with an editor from Elle (Naomi), although we didn’t meet each other until we were on the ground. I couldn’t sleep a wink on the flight and made friends with two guys in my row (they were very fascinated by Sudoku). This was a major fail on my part because we landed at seven in the morning and there was no rest for the weary all day long. Luckily, I was too excited and enthralled by everything I was experiencing to even want to nap.
We made our way to the hotel as the sun was rising and I pretty much sat with my nose pressed against the window taking it all in. We checked into the hotel– The Prestonfield House– and I just couldn’t believe it. Our rooms weren’t ready, so we ate breakfast and wandered around a bit. The hotel was perfect. (Did I feel like a princess? Definitely.)
I’ve decided that every morning should start with assorted toast and jam.
Waiting for the room to be ready was actually kind of nice because it gave us an excuse to look around the hotel grounds. Peacocks were everywhere… pretty enchanting.
A little tea room in a garden. Can I get married here?
I really couldn’t believe how amazing the rooms were… I felt completely spoiled. As tempting as that bed looked, I fought the urge to take a nap and went off to enjoy the day.
We didn’t have anything scheduled until dinner, so we had plenty of time to explore the city. My plan was just to walk to Arthur’s Seat to see it. Everyone was referring to it as a “hill,” but… um, that’s an understatement. I walked through town and into Holyrood Park. I was kind of just walking around Arthur’s Seat for a while with very little intention of climbing it.
I was so taken aback by how gorgeous and open everything was. Dogs were playing and running around, the sun was peeking through the clouds, and it was so green. All that anxiety that had been building up about the trip vanished. Especially since I was going through a bit of a personal crisis the week before, it was exactly what I needed. I kept looking up to the peak of the hill and realized that I would be so disappointed in myself if I didn’t climb it. To be fair, I was carrying a rather heavy bag, wearing rain boots, and dressed completely inappropriately for a hike. But I resolved to do it.
While climbing, it was and wasn’t simple. Simple in that I just had to put one foot in front of the other. Not simple in that some areas were muddy and slippery and took some strategy in where exactly I stepped. But it was great because all I had to focus on was moving forward. No room in my mind to think about work, or missing anyone, or worrying about anything. Just one foot in front of the other.
Every few minutes, I’d stop and look around and just say (out loud, to no one), “Oh, wow.” I can’t describe how expansive the views were and how green and bright it was. Or how you could spin around and see the sea, the city, everything. I can’t say that I’ve ever felt more satisfied than climbing the hill (and not slipping) and getting to see that amazing view.
I can honestly say that it will be something that I will never forget. It triggered an incredible desire to go everywhere and see everything. And as cliche as it sounds, it did put those personal issues into perspective.
I did kind of get lost (or rather, majorly turned around) on my way down. Naturally. But an hour and a half later I got my bearings again. I made it back just as it was getting dark, took a quick shower, and then (whoops) took a 45 minute nap.
The first “Barbour” event was a traditional Burns supper. We were all requested to wear a “touch of tartan” and wouldn’t you know, Dame Margaret Barbour and I wore the same shirt.
I had no idea what a Burns supper and it ended up being the most amazing experience. It’s a celebration of Robert Burns, a Scottish poet, on “Burns Night.” Bag pipes, poem recitations, lots of whisky toasts, singing, and haggis. Okay, I was nervous about this dinner because of the menu. I went in with the intention of being a good sport, but that didn’t make me any less nervous about eating this so-called haggis. (It’s kind of a mix of… all kinds of… meat.)
The tradition during a Burns supper is that the haggis is brought in while a bagpiper plays and then he recites the “Address to the Haggis.” The theatrics were amazing and so entertaining– stabbing and slicing the haggis. I didn’t take my phone out at all to record it because I was just so into it. (Here’s a video on Youtube if you want to know more about what it was like!) I will say, it did make me less wary about actually eating it as I was excited to be participating in something with so much tradition.
There were toasts to the lads and to the lassies. More reciting of poems. And, my favorite part, singing! At the very end of the meal, everyone stood up and sang (or hummed along) “Auld Lang Syne” while we held hands. We all agreed that every meal should end like that! It was so magical!!!
By the end of dinner, I was both exhausted and restless. So Naomi and I went on a tour of the hotel with a hotel employee. It was part hotel tour, part ghost-hunting tour, and part history-of-the-city tour. (The hotel is supposedly haunted and I went to bed so spooked.)
The pink bathroom, of course, was my favorite.
And that was it for the first day!!