My Stirling 2017 Adventure

On 17th May 2017 I had an early wakening at 5am. After dragging myself out of my friend’s cosy bed and pulled on my already planned outfit I was nearly ready to head on my adventure!!

I repacked my extremely well packed backpack which had all of my clothes for three days, one pair of pajamas, my toilet bag and another pair of shoes (yes, I even impressed myself however Phoenix (my best friend) was completely amazed about how on earth I was able to fit so much in a bag that is not very big in the first place)

After getting ready we headed outside to wait for the bus that would take us into Aberdeen.

Now usually I’m able to get a child’s ticket as I look about 12 however I was asked for my ID on the bus for the first time ever. So I had pay £12.60 for a one way ticket (ONE WAY!!) when countless times before I’ve only payed £8 for a child’s ticket.

When we arrived in Aberdeen after our 2 hour bus journey we went to Starbucks for some breakfast and to meet up quickly with Phoenix’s dad. My choice of beverage was a Caramel frappacino with coffee and cream (let’s just say I was slightly buzzing by the time we got on the train.) and a pan au chocolate.

We inhaled breakfast and hurried to the train. I thought I had booked seats while buying the tickets however it turns out that was not the case. But we were okay as the train wasn’t busy at all and we managed to get a table for the two of us. #thegangstertrainlife

The journey was beautiful as the train hugs the coast most of the way down and we were greeted with some amazing views on the journey to Stirling. Also another plus was that the weather was absolutely wonderful so we had the sun shining off some lovely blue sea as part of our  view during the journey.

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The train journey went very smoothly and we did manage to get off the train at Stirling without any hiccups. Our next challenge was to find the hotel!!!!! Now from looking at maps before going down I was sure it was about a 10 minute walk from the train station. After staring at the map, hunting down street signs and making funny faces while looking back and forth from the map to the street, we managed to find the hotel.

To describe the hotel all I have to say is OH MY GOSH ITS SO FANCY!!!!!! Now when I was booking the room I thought this was a pub type hotel that has a nice restaurant with lovely pub grub and that it just looked like a lovely place in general. Well let me tell you, Phoenix and I were the youngest people in that hotel by far, bear in mind it was during school time and during the week. However we may have not stopped grinning while wandering through the hotel.

We dropped our bags off and headed into the restaurant at the hotel to get some lunch before we went our first exploration of Stirling!!! The menu was lovely and kind of expensive but thankfully there was a lunch menu with a few cheaper option. I went with a baked tattie with haggis and cheese while Phoenix chose a ham sandwich.

After we devoured out food we went to find a bus stop to figure out a bus that would take us to Bannockburn. We managed to figure which one would be best and found out that  we only had about 10 minutes to wait which was a plus.

However I had the sudden thought “Do I have the confirmation of our tickets?” The answer to that was no as it was in a poly pocket in one of the bags we had dropped off at the hotel. So after quickly saying that to Phoenix (while slightly panicking), we rushed around the corner to the hotel quickly asked the lady at reception if we could get our bags. I flicked through the pieces of paper in the poly pocket and shimmied out of the piece of paper we needed after shoving it in my handbag, we hurried back to the bus stop.

We had missed the bus. But after finding out there was an other bus that would get us there in time for when we had booked our tickets for we soon relaxed.

Thankfully we arrived early at Bannockburn and found out that the place was empty. We handed over our conformation in exchange of a snazzy pair of 3D glasses.

We walked around the little courtyard bit that is in the centre of all of the building. In that courtyard there is this amazing mural of the Battle of Bannockburn.

However after looking at a certain part of the mural I spotted something that was a bit out of place for a mural of a battle.

There is a cat in among all of these soldiers which made Phoenix and I giggle!!!

We decided to head back inside to make sure we were in enough time for the tour section of Bannockburn. The only people that were in our “Group” were Phoenix and I. That was it. Bare in mind – School Day, Middle of May, During School Time.

So we went on our little tour of the place and got to feel the weight of axes and chain-mail. The best part of Bannockburn is the battle simulation game thing. (very well explain, Lauren!) I don’t know how to explain it but basically you control what happens in the battle.

The last time I was at Bannockburn it was during the holidays therefor it was busy and everything involved only controlled a small part of either the Scots or the English army however as it was just Phoenix and I, we got to control an army each.

I was in control of the English army and Phoenix controlled the Scots. During the whole battle we were referred to as Queen of England and Queen of Scotland by the tour guide which just made it even better. My favourite part was when I completely destroyed Phoenix in this battle as the aim of winning the battle was to kill the King (*cough cough* Queen) and then you would win.

Well, Phoenix decided after my army was advancing towards hers that she would retreat her King (Queen!) however I chose to use three lots of archers to all fire onto the King which killed him and crowned me VICTORIOUS!!!!!!!

I was very proud and will totally be putting that on my skills and achievements for the rest of my life. (Maybe not?)

After I did the very much needed celebration, we watched the last video and after a little look around the gift shop we headed back to the Hotel. Oh and we obviously took the obligatory selfie with Brucie himself.

For dinner, we both really like Chinese and had basically planned what we were eating for most of our meals. So on our first night in Stirling we found out that there was a Jimmy Chungs ,which from very fond memories before the one in Aberdeen burnt down, led us to decide that we had to go and try to eat our body weight in Chinese, because why not?

Now it wasn’t as great as I remembered but it still was not too bad. We went back to hotel very happy and very full.

The next day after a lovely sleep in our comfy hotel beds we got up and ate our little porridge pots. (This is a great tip for saving money in hotels or when you are going away they are only a few pound and Tesco’s own brand is quite tasty as well)

Our day’s activity/adventure was going to the Wallace Monument which we only had to pay £4 each for entry thanks to a lovely lady at my Stirling University Applicant day that was handing out these little discount tokens.

After arriving at the actual monument we began our ascension.

On our journey up in one of the levels was a lovely cut out of a Scottish teddy bear warrior.

Sadly Phoenix’s photo of her being a Scottish Teddy Bear warrior had disappeared as she needed more storage on her phone!!!

The view from the top is absolutely amazing.

I found out that you could see the entire campus of Stirling University which as the massive nerd I am took a lovely photo and while taking it pointed out all the different parts of the campus to Phoenix.

On the way down from the Wallace Monument we decided to walk down the foot path, that I assumed would go in the woods a little and then would come out beside the road that was beside the little centre place at the bottom of the hill. Oh how wrong I was….. We went down and then up and then down again. The worst part was that there wasn’t anyone else in the woods!!!!

Finally after sweating while walking through a winding path in with the trees,which did not help with sheltering us from the boiling sun, we managed to reach the paved path beside the little centre at the bottom. By that time we were both needing a seat from all the walking so we went and waited for the bus that would take us back into the centre of Stirling.

We, again, went through the University campus and then headed back for lunch.

I managed to find a discount on Groupon for Friars Wynd in Stirling which was £9.99 for two lunches and you could choose between 4 or 5 options. Both Phoenix and I went with the toastie with skinny fries. We were both starving so scoffed them down quickly.

After lunch we walked the extremely short distance back to the hotel to prepare ourselves for our fancy night out!!!!

Basically our plan was to go see one or two films at the cinema with dinner in between and then maybe a Mcflurry or milkshake afterwards.

We took our time beautifying ourselves and headed to the cinema to go and watch Whisky Galore which was filmed in Portsoy which is in our local area. What I found out while we were walking there was that Phoenix’s mum’s friend was an Extra in it so one of the days they went down to watch them filming and one of the main characters is played by Sean Biggerstaff.

Now what you may not know is that he played Oliver Wood in Harry Potter!!!!

This guy ^ was in my local area and  I DIDN’T KNOW!!!!!!!!!!!

Anyway, the film was really great and gave me a really warm fuzzy feeling of pride for my local area being shown in the silver screen!!!!! I would suggest to watch it just for a laugh.

After the film we walked to the Filling Station that we found out does a deal for an early dinner. For a starter we ended up choosing potato skins and for the main I got a meatball pasta thing (very descriptive, I know!!)while Phoenix got something that looked like smothered chicken!!

During our meal there was a group of boys who past the restaurant and were wearing short shorts!!!! Phoenix couldn’t resist taking a picture of these completely fabulous boys!!

After an hour or so of chatting and discussing about everything, we went back to hotel but then decided to go and find milkshakes. The only place that was still open at this time (8pmish) was Flip ‘n’ Shake which was right beside the cinema. So we headed to the shop and got our delicious milkshakes.

Phoenix chose a bubblegum milkshake (on the right) which was made freshly with amazing ice cream. I however chose a VIP milkshake which was called Salted Caramel Crunch (or something like that). It was salted caramel milkshake with a crunchie blitzed together and served with squirty cream and even more crunchie on top. (On the left)That was the best milkshake I have tasted!!!

While slurping on our milkshakes we walked back to the hotel and tried to eat some more of our pile of snacks that we had dragged to Stirling.

This was going to be our last night in the hotel so I decided to pack my bag as much as possible before going to sleep.

The next morning we both got up around 8am and sorted ourselves out for the rest of the day. We were able to leave our bags at the Hotel however we needed check out before we went exploring.

Our final day’s exploration was Stirling Castle!!!!

The castle was the closest place to hotel however we had to walk up a massive hill and some stairs to arrive to it!!

After having a short stop halfway up the hill we stumbled across the Tourist Information and the Youth Hostel. (I would highly recommend if you are looking for a budget place to stay in Stirling then the hostel is about a 5/10 minute walk from the castle and a 10/15 minute walk from the Train station.)

When we finally got to the Castle we found out that there was 3 or 4 bus loads of school kids. This was not something that we were expecting however we were able to sneak around them and queue up for tickets quite easily.

Also on the way in we managed to grab a cheeky selfie with the statue outside of the Castle entrance.

The line for tickets was reasonably long for a Friday but the weather was still pretty good so we didn’t mind.

While waiting we started chatting to a friendly American lady who was in front of us in the queue. During our conversation we found out that she was on a tour that was going around some of Scotland as well as some of Ireland and that she had traced back her ancestor’s to Ireland. When they were on the tour she actually got to see one of her ancestor’s grave stone.

After our lovely chat and getting our tickets (we managed to get a discount (10% I think) with our Scotcards, so if you are going to Stirling Castle remember your Young Scot Cards as you’ll get a bit of a bargain!) we headed into the Castle. Now this is quite a big castle and we didn’t really know where to start.

So we began at the front and worked our way round all of the different sections and rooms. In one of the corridors there were different rooms where you could interact using your different senses so there was one all about paintings during Ye Olden Days so there were boxes for you to smell and guess what was in it. There was also a room where there were a few musical instruments to play and Phoenix’s favourite room was the dress up room.

There was a pile of medieval clothing for kids and adults. Phoenix excitedly tried on two lovely dresses however I passed on this opportunity. But here, presented to you is Princess Phoenix.

After spending most of the morning in the Castle we headed back down the hill to find some food. We ended up passing a Weatherspoons which we decided to go in for lunch as it is lovely and cheap.

I decided to get a BBQ Burger which has chips and six onions ring also including a drink and this only cost me £6.40. NOTHING! Absolutely nothing!!! In addition to that it was a pretty good burger as well!

As we were now quite full and still had some time to kill we headed down to the shopping centre to have a little look around. There was a shop that I recommended to Phoenix which is called the Flying Tiger and basically it is a Paperchase however it is really affordable and has a lot of lovely bits and bots that are great for little fillers for presents.

While we were in the Flying Tiger, I was quite controlled and only bought some pens and that was it. After that we headed to Primark to go and try a few things on. Phoenix continued to point clothes out and go “that’s pretty, do you wanna try it on?” so we both ended up heading into the changing rooms with a small handful of clothes. Both of us weren’t very successful however we looked through the PJ section after coming out of the changing rooms and I manage to find a pair of cute Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them PJs. Also I found a PJ top that says “I dreamt I was human, then I woke up.”

We walked through quite a number of shops trying to use up some time and we both managed to pick up a few little things for example I bought some cute socks that were on sale in New Look. Phoenix managed to buy gifts for the next few birthdays that are coming up that she needed to get things for.

After feeling quite tired from trailing around the shops we went and had some food in McDonalds then picked up our bags from the hotel and headed to the train station.

We still had about an hour/40mins until our train but we just went through the gates and waited patiently. However we both started to really need the toilet so Phoenix decided to so hunt for the toilet. Thankfully she found it however when she came back she looked a bit shocked.

She had dropped her phone down the toilet but it was still working god knows how. As a just in case she mass sent all of her photos from Stirling to me through WhatsApp. Her phone was okay but on the train journey is was the most dramatic phone ever as it died and then came back alive and then died again.

Thankfully she didn’t loose any of her photos or anything and managed to get it sorted out the week after we came back.

The train ride home was quite quick and as we went through Perth the rain began to pour!! Which was perfectly timed for us as we already had the three days of sunshine we needed!

When we arrived to Aberdeen we both wearily got off the train and headed towards my mum was waiting for us, ready to take us home.

I had an absolutely lovely time and it was a well needed break during study leave as after I came back I felt a lot more focused and ready to revise my but off for my German exam.


Thank you very much for reading my post and coming on my blog if you would like to read more of my adventure that I have been on if you click here for that.

If you would like to follow me on twitter to get updates whenever I publish a new post could you click here.

And finally just to give you a little update, I will be doing 2 posts a month as part of my Queens Guide Award so be prepared for some amazing content that may include some food ideas, travel tips and lots of other interesting blog posts (*crosses fingers*)

Lauren x

 

 

 

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