Scotland is a unique and austere place, laden with history, where you can find aristocratic palaces and castles, as well as the traditional parades in national costumes. It has some of the most beautiful cities in Europe, a living testimony of a proud and splendid past.
In order to see and discover the true soul of Scotland today, what forged the character of this splendid region, we have to go towards the northern regions, to the Grampian Mountains. Beautiful and unspoiled, it was difficult to farm. The Scots subdued the environment with simple spades and strong arms.
The history of this ancient struggle, and its people's ancient love affair with the hard land, is enclosed within the walls of the Angus Folk Museum. You are able to get a feel of the typical rural atmosphere of times past from the everyday artifacts displayed here.
From coastal Aberdeen in towards the interior of the Grampian Mountains there runs the Castle Trail, a road that touches on many fortresses, which are witnesses of continual revolts against the dominion of neighboring England in Scottish history.
Perhaps the most uplifting moment for Scottish autonomy is the one experienced inside this ancient abbey of Arbroath, where, in 1320; the Declaration of Independence was celebrated, at the instigation of King Robert the Bruce. He carried out the plan for autonomy drawn up by the great popular hero William Wallace, to whom cinema has dedicated the wonderful film "Braveheart", the winner of five Oscars.
This is Glamis Castle. It is often remembered for being the residence of King Macbeth and Queen Elizabeth in her childhood. Among the most assiduous guests here are the inevitable ghosts, which are nourished, if not actually created, by ancient popular beliefs. These have been handed down over the centuries by a people inclined to live with mystery, with the forces of the supernatural.
Another attraction here is a legendary monster: the Loch Ness Monster. Is it real or imaginary, this monster, which has been nicknamed Nessie, has collected a good 3000 sightings over the last 50 years? To fuel the debate about the monster, and perhaps also curiosity about the lake, a price of 500,000 pounds sterling has been put on Nessie's head.
The true flag of Scotland, tartan, is recognisable from the brightly coloured plaid patterns which are used to distinguish the various clans. Over the last few decades this fabric has made a comeback and is part of the daily life of this country.
The typical Scottish garment, the kilt, is de rigeur when the Scots play the Great Highland bagpipes, especially when they march in parades.
Bagpipes and dancing open the competitions of local sporting events, which are called Highland Gatherings. The games, which have strange rules, involve a spirit that has more to do with brute force than with athletics.