Abigail Smith is a student at Florida College and an ISA Featured Blogger. She is currently studying abroad with ISA in Stirling, Scotland.
It’s the end of October and I can hardly believe it. The days are growing shorter, the air is cool and the landscape is slowly melting into autumn hues. As the resting season settles in, Stirling… is beautiful.
Fall colors on the street in Stirling – just look at that ivy!
Stirling is a bustling town smack in the center of Scotland. Historically, the castle and the bridge here were of monumental importance; for hundreds of years, Stirling Bridge was the only way to get from the Lowlands to the Highlands and Stirling Castle was a major strategic holding in Medieval Scotland. Many heroes and villains of Scotland’s past have walked the streets of Stirling and a few weeks ago I decided it was high time I do the same. So I grabbed my camera, caught a bus to town and started walking. Whether I am a hero or a villain you may judge for yourselves.
My first stop was a tiny antique shop I spotted a few days before. According to the owner, a pleasant older gentleman, Abbey Antiques has been in business for 37 years. The charming green storefront lured me into a shop I could’ve crossed in four steps – three if I were trying to prove a point – but it was packed with intriguing odds and ends, some of which where dated over one hundred years old. My favorite item was a portable writing desk from the early 1900s – had I the ability to get it back home, I would’ve bought it on the spot.
The alluring storefront of Abbey Antiques.
Next was The Olde Christmas Shoppe. For those of you who are staunch “no-Christmas-before-Thanksgiving-ers,” I hear you, and any other year I would agree. But since I am not at home and they don’t do American Thanksgiving here, I decided to go in. The shop was adorable, though I will admit despite my rationale, I felt a little guilty going to a Christmas shop in October. The owner, a sweet lady, told me that she doesn’t even notice the Christmas music that she plays in the background anymore. I’m not sure I believed her – there’s no way I could have Christmas music playing all the time and not hear it. I would go insane.
I almost missed this adorable shop because its door is so neatly tucked away.
After leaving the tiny room filled with sparkling ornaments and bows, I walked around taking in the street view, getting lost and then unlosing myself. I discovered a number of great little park areas throughout the small portion of the city that I trekked, along with some great old churches, tea houses and numerous boutiques. If you are in need of boutiques, Stirling should be your next destination.
I finally ended up at a chippy, called Blue Lagoon, where I bought some really tasty fish and chips. I ate my food at a fountain across the street from an old movie theatre. From the outside it looked super fancy, like they all used to be, but it gave up its flickering screens years ago and now houses a church on Sundays and a bingo hall Monday through Saturday.
With both a takeaway counter and a dining area, Blue Lagoon has the perfect chippy atmosphere.
It only took me six weeks, but after finally taking a proper walking tour of Stirling… I can now give decent advice on some of the best hole-in-the-wall places to hit along the winding streets of Stirling.
The world awaits…discover it.