聖安德魯斯的高爾夫球歷史可以追溯至 15 世紀，不少球迷遠道而來，就是為了在世界最古老球場之一的「老球場」（Old Course）打球朝聖。若不談高球，聖安德魯斯另一個出名的地方是聖安德魯斯大學，於 15 世紀成立，是蘇格蘭最古老的大學，其於學術界中的聲譽及入學競爭度有如「哈利波特」中的霍格華茲般有名。花邊一點的新聞，威廉王子和凱蒂王子妃就是在這所學府中相遇結緣。我對聖安德魯斯的認知，只有「烈火戰車」（Chariots of Fire）開場和結尾的沙灘跑步場面，拍攝地點在老球場旁的西沙海灘（West Sands）。
我們到訪聖安德魯斯探朋友之餘，再一登蘇格蘭的山，成為 Highlander。我們選擇了 841 米高的 Ben Vrackie，從聖安德魯斯要開兩個小時車才到登山口。起初森林路上指示不清，但走出樹林後，景觀馬上開揚，朝著山頂一路走，沒可能迷路。
蘇格蘭天氣時晴時雨，我們當日運氣好，全日放晴，沒有半滴雨。有些山路因前一晚的大雨而變成泥濘，上山時要額外小心，但路況不及氣溫急速下降的情況嚴峻，未到半山便冷風蕭蕭，要穿上風褸冷帽，身體卻大汗不停，極不好受。不過，兩小時後站在山頂大叫「We are highlanders！」的快感令之前的痛苦拋諸腦後。此時友人緩緩走來，說我們還未進入高地，往北一指，不遠處那些起伏不一的山才是真正的 Highland。
下山後，我們跑到酒吧，點一份蘇格蘭傳統食品肉餡羊肚（Haggis）。以前牧羊人把羊毛、羊皮及羊肉等值錢的都賣掉後，剩下的內臟器官全部放入羊胃，沸水煮熟後再切碎上碟。Kim 聽到後便打冷顫，我吃下覺得淡口，反而懷念港式牛什。另一種當代特色街頭小食是炸 Mars 朱古力條，重口味的創意，試一次就夠。
Although Edinburgh is a modern city with art, culture and business, it looks and feels like a very medieval city. When we first arrived, we had an overwhelming feeling of being transported back in time. Edinburgh has a new town as well as the old town, but even the new town was built back in the late 18th century when construction was quality and architecture was celebrated. The new town is stunning, but the old town that dates back before medieval times is what attracted me the most.
Edinburgh has so much to offer to people with all kinds of interests. The best thing about Edinburgh is that almost all of their museums and tourist activities are free. We were lucky enough to book a free two-hour walking tour of the old town with Sandeman’s tours and got to learn some interesting stories from Edinburgh’s past.
One of our first stops was to St. Gile’s cathedral. In front of this beautiful cathedral is a tall platform (the size of a 1-story building) with a long pole that has Scotland’s national animal, the unicorn, on top. Way back when and even still today, major announcements are made from this structure to inform the public about royal decisions and deaths. Back in medieval times, this structure had another function as well, this was the place for public punishment. The marketplace used to be just across the street and if someone was caught (or even accused of) stealing, they would be brought to this structure and nailed to it by their ear for 24 hours. The only way to escape punishment was to rip your ear off and be branded a thief for life.
Another place we visited on the tour was the Grassmarket area. This area was filled with pubs, restaurants and all kinds of shops. There was even live music outdoor in the square. This was a very family-friendly environment and it was bustling with activities. In the past, this is where the gallows stood and where the public executions took place. From thieves, murderers and religious martyrs to an unwed woman that concealed a pregnancy, they were all hanged in this part of town.
A trip to Edinburgh would not be complete without visiting the castle. With its history beginning during the Bronze Age, the castle is the centerpiece of this city. From all over the city, the castle is always in view on top a heap of volcanic rock. The castle served as the Royal residence from the 12th century until the 17th century. When Scotland and England unified under the same king, James I, and the royal residence was moved to London. Although the price to enter the castle is not cheap at £16.50, it is a great experience to see this historical site.
Since Edinburgh is so old and has continued to thrive since it was founded, there are so many hidden alleys and secret passageways as well as underground tunnels. Edinburgh also has an enormous amount of interesting stories that have been preserved over all of these years by historic societies as well as local pubs. One can see the city of Edinburgh in one day, but will crave for more stories and more time to explore alleyways, especially if they are Harry Potter fans or Game of Thrones fans.