May 19, 2009

It's a freakin' castle!

There's no crying in the Highlands! This was Tom Hank's original line in A League of Their Own, until they realized that the Scottish Highlands have nothing to do with baseball. While we were driving through the Highlands, we kept seeing these road signs of a blue circle with a red X through it and below that, it would say things like "For 2 miles" or "Ends". We have no idea what it meant. I decided it meant that you can't be blue for 2 miles. Therefore, there is no crying in the Highlands. Can you tell that I took a course in Logic in Undergrad?

The Highlands I looked up that sign in the official UK Road Traffic Signs Guide Book and it means: no stopping or standing... so why don't they just put up a sign that says "No Stopping or Standing Anytime" like we do in the States? What's with the colors and shapes? Am I driving, or testing how much I've retained from pre-school?

One of those pesky signs

I am already in love with the Highlands. I think they are the most beautiful place on earth. But the best thing about the Highlands in spring... is baby sheep! The bens were polka dotted with little white lambs. They were so adorable that we stopped at least once an hour to photograph them.  

Lambs in the road

Since I was just in Spain last week and missed out on running with the bulls in Pamplona, I decided to drive with the cows in the Scottish Highlands. We saw many a lonely sheep wandering across the road, but it was hilarious when we came upon 12 or 15 cows that had somehow managed to find a break in the fence to escape out onto the middle of the street, causing a major traffic jam. The funniest part was watching them desperately search for a way back into the fields, and running alongside our car.    

Driving with the cows

We stopped for lunch at the Dewar's Whisky Distillery in Aberfeldy. Tommy Dewar was a clever man, and very quotable. We continued along the banks of Loch Tay to Killin. I've been there before, by Postbus. Then, a quick stop at The Green Wellie in Tyndrum, where I've also spent a good deal of time. Laura, Rachel, and I were camped out in the Green Wellie for three hours watching Clue on my laptop, waiting for our bus to come, while it hailed and stormed outside. It was much sunnier there this time. 

Me and my dad on Loch Tay

That afternoon we reached the west coast of Scotland to the seaside town of Oban. The weather was absolutely amazing, so we wandered around the town for a bit. The seagulls there were at least three times the size of seagulls in the states. I had a theory that Scottish seagulls gulp down radioactive IrnBru for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and don't forget at tea. But of course at tea they don't gulp - they sip. We even got to see the Parthinian perched atop the hill. What's a Parthinian, you ask? I'm still not exactly sure, but my Mom was pointing at the Colosseum when she said it, so I'm guessing it's that.     

My mom and me in Oban

Then came the biggest and best surprise of all time. We drove to our B&B, which was located well outside of Oban, practically on a remote island. As we were driving to it, I kept asking: "why are we staying so far away from the town center?" and my Mom just kept shuffling off my questions with: "there were no availabilities in Oban" and examined her map. Then, we pulled into a private driveway, and behind the trees appeared... a castle! I lost it, I just kept saying: "it's a freakin' castle!" We had the Campbell's castle all to ourselves for two nights. Well, except for the lovely couple that lived there who fed us amazing breakfasts, and provided us with wine and cheese and crackers, and lit fires for us. They were like our staff. I had my own room... in a castle! I felt like royalty. But the realtor insisted that "it's just a family home". Sure it is, if your family is a long line of Campbell Earls!  

Barcaldine Castle

That night we ate dinner at a restaurant near the water that had the New York City skyline painted on its walls and played Shania Twain's album Come On Over on a loop. (Random fact: Shania Twain was born Eilleen Regina Richards. She's also Canadian.) So, naturally, I would pair her up with a NYC-themed restaurant on the west-coast of Scotland. After dinner, we went to the Skipinnish Ceilidh House to watch some professionals do some traditional Scottish dancing. But we weren't allowed to just watch and soon we swept out of our chairs to dance along with them. "You don't watch a dance class - you dance a dance class!" (a line from Friends when "Monana" is trying to be more like the woman, Monica, who stole her credit cards).  

1 comment:

Kara said...

Ahh I wan to visit and stay in a castle!!