Last month, the Southern Travel Agency team sent clients Tim and Summer Bell on an exciting Scotland vacation to celebrate their 10-year wedding anniversary in Europe. We couldn’t wait to hear all about how the couple celebrated this special milestone abroad, and to share the fun details with you! From the medieval streets of Edinburgh to the majestic Highlands landscape, read on as Summer brings us back to their Scottish sojourn.
Here some Highlights of Tim and Summer Bell’s Exciting Tailor Made Scotland Vacation
STA: What was it that drew you two to Scotland for this special vacation?
Summer: Tim and I have always felt very connected to Scotland. We knew we had Scottish roots in both of our family trees, but recently, Tim submitted a 23 and Me DNA ancestry test. When the results came back, we found out that he’s actually a descendant of Robert the Bruce, and managed to trace his family all the way back to his 7th great grandfather in Scotland! We were able to spend a day in the Borderlands on our trip to see where his ancestor’s heart was buried, so that was really special.
STA: That’s amazing! What other significant stops were on your tailor made European travel itinerary?
Summer: We arrived first in Edinburgh and spent a few days exploring the city before embarking on a tour with the same company we honeymooned with. Melissa made sure to find us a private whiskey class at the historical Waverley Pub during this time, so we were able to learn how to drink whiskey before we had too many encounters with it later on in the trip! We were so grateful to have that experience early on — it made us way more confident when we visited the Blair Athol Distillery with our tour!
All in all, we visited 7 cities (although some of them were more like villages!), 4 islands, one brewery, one distillery, and took a grand total of 10 ferry boat rides in Scotland!
We both really loved traveling through the rugged one-lane roads of Northwest Scotland and exploring Smoo Cave, where early Vikings once settled to repair ships.
But my absolute favorite place had to be the Isle of Iona, the island where St. Columba wrote most of his material and was later buried. You have to take three ferry boat rides just to get to this spiritual Christian community but once you’re there, you’re filled with such a sense of peace. Even the beaches are filled with greenstone, a spiritual stone that locals use for protection when traveling over water. I found a gorgeous greenstone necklace for the return trip, and to keep as a beautiful souvenir!
STA: Did you do anything extra special to celebrate your 10-year wedding anniversary date?
Summer: For the night of our anniversary, Mellisa helped us arrange a special dinner at Castlehill, an amazing Michelin star restaurant that was walking distance from our hotel in Dundee. All of the food was farm-to-table fresh — we especially enjoyed the dessert platter with a spread of coconut macaroons and Scottish tablets. It was a very sweet wedding celebration to say the least!
STA: That sounds delicious! Were there any other special moments or unique experiences that stood out from your Europe trip?
Summer: Nothing we’ve seen has ever compared to the beauty of Scotland. From grey and blue mountains and pools of water, to purple heather flowers and the occasional splash of yellow broom. Every curve and corner was breathtaking — no camera or picture could do it justice! That being said, one special moment that did stand out came on our bus ride through the A500, a long winding road similar to Route 66 here in the states. One of our rest stops was in the town of Durness, where John Lennon spent summer holidays in his aunt’s home, referenced in The Beatles’ “In My Life.” In this song, John famously writes how even though all the places and people in his past will always hold meaning, “In my life, I’ll love you more.”
It was the song that Tim and I danced to at our wedding, so it holds a really special place in our hearts!
Visiting the memorial garden dedicated to Lennon, we found the lyrics engraved in stone — and of course, our tour guide played the song as we drove in to Durness. I had tears in my eyes and couldn’t help getting a little emotional at all the synchronicities that day! What an unexpected highlight!
lSTA: Finally, how did Southern Travel Agency help make this Scotland vacation possible?
Summer: Honestly, I almost booked this Scotland vacation on my own; I had never used a travel agent before, but I’m so glad I chose to use Southern Travel Agency instead! Mellisa made all of our wedding celebration dreams possible and effortless — I felt like the only thing I really had to do was pack my clothes!
It was also incredibly comforting to know that if things went awry, I would always have someone on my side. For instance, on our flight home, I ended up getting really sick on the plane. To make matters worse, when we landed in Orlando, our connection was delayed three times and eventually canceled. We ended up having to rent a car and drive the rest of the way home. Thanks to Mellisa’s foresight and recommendations for travel insurance, we’ll be fully reimbursed for our rental costs!
Being able to call Southern Travel Agency through that experience and have a real person immediately on the other side of the phone to assist us made the entire situation way less stressful. Mike even took the extra time to call and check in with us several times after our return home to see if our luggage had arrived, and advised us on how to deal with the airlines.
Without Southern Travel Agency, I would have felt very alone!
Yearning for your own Scotland vacation getaway?
Whether you’re interested in exploring family trees or ancient castles and cities, the Southern Travel Agency team can help you create a custom European vacation itinerary! Click here to schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our expert travel planners today!