Wednesday, September 1, 2010

July 14-15: The Journey Home

We ate our final Scottish breakfast, haggis and all, a little sad this morning.  We didn't want to go home.  We talked with David and dragged our things to the car, perhaps hoping a minor natural disaster would strand us there a little while longer.  But it didn't happen, so it was time to go, but not without a print-out from a fabulous website that caters to British ex-pats living all over Europe.  Mail-order haggis, my friend!  David was truly an exceptional host.

We drove to New Castle, England to catch our overnight ferry back to Continental Europe.  It was a first for us both to actually sleep over on any kind of boat, so the Princess of Norway would be a small adventure.  Our toilet may have been in the shower, but we had a decent window looking out over the sea and the bed was surprisingly comfortable.  Chris and I explored the Princess with interest, but came up empty when it came to things we might actually enjoy.  The casino (or 6 machines lined up behind a partition) isn't something we're into, and the lounge was loud with the on-board entertainment, something we could do without.  Are we just boring people?  I don't know, but the 70s Disco Hour and over-the-top singers weren't doing it for us, so we got a drink and watched the water for a little while before dinner.

When it was time for bed, what was lulling before kept us awake most of the night.  The ship rocked and stuttered here and there when a sizable wave smashed into our side of the boat head-on, and whereas the former is quite comforting, the latter was quite loud and jarred us awake.  That made for a longer drive the following day.

Regardless of how amazing a trip away has been, nothing beats the feel of coming home and sleeping in your own bed.  Scotland, however, has come the closest.


Some parting thoughts about this trip...

I can't be sure if it was just the common language that made the people connections on this trip more prevalent, but there is something entirely different about Scotland.  Maybe when part of you comes from a place it just feels more comfortable.

From the first time I set foot in the country of Ireland, I was in love with her hills and her people.  When people talked about how fantastic Scotland was, I always replied with a declaration of love for the Emerald Isle just west of there.  Even when those who had been to both places stuck to the opinion that Scotland far out-weighed Ireland, I wouldn't even consider it a possibility.  I admit, from the first moments our car rolled into the southern hills of Scotland I felt a twinge of guilt.  And now, after all is said and done, I'm afraid I've abandoned my devotion to Ireland, though I still love that place, in favor of the other.  It's a little rockier, a little more severe, and a little more magical, Scotland, and the people are phenomenal.

Funny how we spent a couple days between Belgium and England, but didn't meet a truly friendly face until we got to Stonehaven.  From Alan and his mum at the B&B, and Gary and the pub owner we couldn't understand; Ian and some other local artists near Loch Ness and in the Isle of Skye; Andrew and his dog, Nelson, in the park and Mum's guy in Edinburgh; from one of Johanna's favorite restaurants to Bernie and Sarah's dining room, this trip has been fuller of personal interaction than any other by miles.  So give credit to the fact that we didn't have to pantomime to communicate, but don't discount the beauty and love that live and breathe in Scotland.  It is now one of my favorite places in the world, and a place I will always want to revisit.


  1. How exactly DOES that toilet in the shower thingy work anyway?!

    Never made it to Scotland or Ireland - although Damon (CONNOR - duh!) has ancestors from both. The Scottish side made it to Australia fairly early on though - and the McPherson Mountain Range there is apparently named after a General who is an ancestor - so it will be need to visit roots.

    I have an Irish friend so I always feel funny telling her how Irish so many Americans feel - but I do agree with you that there is SOMETHING about a country your ancestors come from.

    Mine's Germany. Oh well.

  2. Thanks for sharing your adventure! You really made me want to be there! I would love to visit Scotland one day. I have looked forward to reading your blog everyday! Love you and keep up the great writing!!

  3. Now I can't wait to hear what you have to say about Tuscany!