Every Friday, I feature interviews from fellow travellers about their hometowns. From finding out what places we must see, to what to eat and what we should know if moving there from another country, there’s loads of cool info found in these interviews. Up this week, we have Nicola from FunkyEllas Travel telling us all about the beautiful Fife region in Scotland…
1. Could you tell us a little about yourself and where you come from?
I’m Nicola Holland, I run a Scottish travel blog called FunkyEllas Travel. I live in the Kingdom of Fife, on the east coast of Scotland. It’s about half an hour from the capital, Edinburgh, over the famous Forth Bridges. I’ve been blogging for about 4 years, after being inspired to explore more of the country by my aunt (Ella).
2. How long have you lived in Fife? And what brought you here?
I’ve lived in Fife all my life, I don’t see any reason to leave. It’s the perfect base to explore the rest of the country. Close enough to the shops and town life but the neighbourhood is quiet and quite rural. I do love to travel abroad but I’m pretty close to two big airports so can get away when I want.
3. What do you love most about your hometown?
I love being so close to the coast. Fife has 117 miles of coast line, the beaches are stunning, with high cliffs, pretty sand dunes and amazing views across the Firth of Forth to Edinburgh and beyond. There are plenty of cute little fishing villages in the East Neuk too with colourful cottages and artsy residents.
4. Is there anything that frustrates or annoys you when tourists visit Scotland?
When people visit Scotland, in general they tend to skip Fife all together, and many other regions, choosing instead to land in either Edinburgh or Glasgow and head straight up to the Highlands. As much as I think the Highlands are absolutely breathtaking, I wish more people would step off the tourist trail and explore lesser known areas.
5. In your opinion, which places should be at the top of any visitor’s wishlist in Fife?
I would definitely recommend walking some of the coastal path, I always find it so relaxing when I need some quiet time. There are some great castles if you want a history fix. One village I’d recommend is Culross, Scotland’s most complete example of a burgh in the 17th century. The cobbled lanes, mustard coloured palace and white-harled houses are gorgeous.
6. What foods must visitors eat when in Fife?
Being so close to the coast means you have to try some seafood dishes. We have some superb award-winning seafood restaurants in the East Neuk and in nearby St Andrews. Haggis is a rather obvious one, I happen to really like it and you can find it in dishes in most restaurants and cafes.
7. What’s your favourite Scottish word? Why? What does it mean?
It has to be “Aye”. Where would we be if we never said “aye”. Do you want to visit the the Isle of Skye? Aye. Do you want to go on a steam train? Aye. Do you want to be interviewed about your home town? Aye.
8. What advice would you give to somebody moving to Scotland from another country?
Do your research. Outside the main towns and villages, mobile phone signal is sketchy at the best of times so that’s something to consider. They say the weather is like four seasons in one day and they aren’t lying, although the winter and autumn sections are often longer! We don’t all speak Gaelic, although some do, most speak English. Haggis is not an animal running about in the fields, it’s a food. Don’t ask what’s in it. If you are thinking of living up north in the Highlands, expect a quieter, slower pace of life.
9. If you could describe Fife in just one sentence, what would you say?
Ooh that’s hard. Beautiful scenery, fascinating history, beautiful beaches and cute villages, what more can you ask for?
10. If tourists were to know one thing about Scotland’s culture, what should that be?
We are a friendly bunch.
Thanks Nicola – we’ve loved getting to know you and Fife better!
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