Friday, July 09, 2004

The Scotland Report: Installment VII 

I was beginning to think that it would take me as long to blog Scotland as it did to visit it! I'm relieved to see that the end is finally in sight.

We left Broadford on Monday morning and traveled back over the bridge to the mainland. We spent most of the morning making our way to Glenfinnan, home of the monument to Bonnie Prince Charlie:

Glenfinnan is also the location of this railway bridge, which was crossed by the Hogwarts Express in the Harry Potter movies:

This is where I ran out of room on my camera's memory stick, which I felt was perfect timing. The rest of the day was dedicated to getting down to the Glasgow area in preparation for our trip to the airport the following day. The scenery was beautiful, but by that point we were all a bit numb: "Yeah, yeah, beautiful loch. Pass the corn nuts."

We spent the night at the Holiday Inn Express in Greenock. I had booked an internet special a couple days earlier from the tourist office in Portree, and at only 39 pounds for all 4 of us, it was quite a bargain. It was so nice to use a bathroom sink again where the hot and cold water both ran out of the same faucet!

Tuesday morning we enjoyed the breakfast buffet at the hotel and then drove down to Prestwick Airport. We turned in the rental car, checked our bags with Security, and tried to figure out how to pass the 9 hours we had before our flight.

We wound up going by train into the town of Ayr, birthplace of Robert Burns. We wandered around downtown for a bit and wound up having lunch at Burger King. Then we took the train back to the airport and settled in for the few remaining hours.

I hit the bookstore and bought a copy of Michael Moore's Dude, Where's My Country? which I enjoyed immensely. I noticed that the gentleman sitting next to me in the waiting area was reading this book:

Finally, it was time to get on our plane and head back to Germany. We arrived back in Frankfurt-Hahn at around midnight and made it back to Mannheim at 2:00 a.m.

Here's a random observation that I've been meaning to stick in somewhere, so I might as well tack it on here at the end. For all the stereotypes about the Scots being penny-pinchers, I have never before seen a more altruistic-minded society. Every cash register in every store had at least 1 or 2 piggy banks for various charities. The captain of our seal boat had a jar set up for tips, which he was donating to cancer research. In fact, that same afternoon in Plockton a hotel was hosting a tea to benefit cancer research. Even the celidh that we enjoyed on the Isle of Skye was a benefit for multiple sclerosis.

I mentioned this to the clerk at the riding-center cafe on Skye, when I noticed that she had various certificates posted proclaiming that the cafe had donated so much money or so much time to a certain children's home. She said she had never really thought much about it but was pleased and flattered that I had noticed. There are worse things to be known for than a concern for your fellow earthlings.


Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?