Perspectives on Scotland Part 1: travel tales

5_15 Kyle Clyde 11.07.2013 23-25-17

I am deeply saddened to report that we are back from our trip to Scotland. ‘We’ is yours truly and my dear friend Ifernia, who turned out to be perfect company for this trip. We kind of have the same rhythm – we would be exhausted and in need of a break at the same time, we would be giddy or have a girly bitch-moment at the same time and we would be hungry at the same time (which was basically: always).

Scotland is fantastic – I wish I had known earlier! We basically travelled around the Highlands by train, starting off in Glasgow, to Oban, to Mallaig, to Kyle of Lochalsh and Skye, to Pitlochry and finishing in Edinburgh. Check out our travel route! Today’s entry will be about my personal perspective on things – because we love it!

So this first blog entry on Scotland shall focus on a lot of staring and the following topics:

1) Balance

2) Showers

3) Sometimes the ‘t’ makes all the difference

4) Encounters

1) Balance

When travelling by train, you have to learn VERY quickly to keep your balance, namely in the train toilets. Lads, you probably cannot relate. You just stand in front of the thing and target the general direction and hopefully successfully meet said target. And that’s why your thighs are thinner than ours. Because – ladies, can I get a “Hell, yes!” – have you ever tried to hover over a toilet trying not to touch it with your skin? No? Try it. And now imagine that on a train. I promise, the minute you get your pants down and start hovering, the train will start to bump and shake! Now there is another variable that influences your performance: the toilet cabin can be really small, which means you have to kind of stretch your body so you don’t touch the walls (believe me, you do not want to touch them). Or, the cabin is really big, in which case there is more room for you to fall over. You don’t want that either! So all you can do is concentrate very hard, put tension on your muscles and find your balance. Yoga is helpful, I keep telling you this for a while now!

On Scottish trains, there is another mystery: the locking system. Sometimes they have those automatic doors and you’d think they’d be locked when they close. Imagine, hypothetically, that there is an extra button saying ‘lock’ and hypothetically, you don’t hit it. And then, hypothetically someone presses the ‘open’ button outside…. and you hover. Hypothetically…

2) Showers

On a trip like ours you expect all kinds of obstacles – getting lost in the Highlands, missing the train that only runs once a day, meeting fellow German citizens whose dialects are so bad that it’s easier for you to understand the Scotsmen… but you do not expect the shower obstacle! I can report that we found a different shower system in each of our six different accommodations! And I can tell you, they are not self-explanatory! So after a full day of travelling, hiking and SWEATING (yes! The weather God was really kind and it was sunny and warm every day!) you drag your body into the shower and you cannot wait to get it running – and you look at the switch. Then you stare. Then you look for ancient hieroglyphs on the wall that other desperate travellers might have left in an attempt to help later generations. But no, you have to do the good ol’ trial and error. So you press the button. Nothing. You turn the wheel to the left. Nothing. You turn it to the right while pressing the button at the same time. You start crying. Then you do everything you can do at the same time and finally, FINALLY, you get it working. But you don’t know how you did it, so you cannot leave hieroglyphs either. But it doesn’t matter because you just enjoy the nice shower after a long day…

3) Sometimes the ‘t’ makes all the difference

Midges. Evil, evil little creatures, found mainly on the Isle of Skye, but in the rest of the Highlands, too. They are some kind of flies and they attack people, and they bite! All the guide books mention them and whenever you say you will go to Skye, they are the first thing to be brought up. In Glasgow, we went into an outdoor gear shop and folks there recommended head nets, because midges often come and attack in swarms. We bought them, did not need them on Skye, but you can take very funny photos wearing them while getting lost in Glen Nevis – again, hypothetically of course! Anyways, so much for introduction.

In Mallaig, we went to a pub after dinner and got to talk to two young Danish lads. The language of choice was English because my Danish does not go much further than ‘Good evening, I’ve missed you so much’ (which is maybe not the best thing to say to a complete stranger who is also 13 years younger than you) and their German was also rather limited. We talked about our Scotland experience so far and came to the topic of midges. Well, I was talking about how we got head nets to protect us from the midges and how they bite anyway and then noticed that one Danish guy was staring at me. He looked very confused! So I started to explain it all over again, that they are really small and that you have to use a special repellent and keep your skin covered and – worst case – wear that head net, all because of the midges. After some more staring, he said ‘What do you mean there are midgets?!’ Damn, poor guy, he thought he was dealing with a total lunatic believing in little people who walk around and bite!

4) Encounters

There are always some encounters that get stuck in your head. On the first day, this was Jaden. Jaden was sitting next to us in a pub in Glasgow and quickly found interest in us. And, being the friendly person I am, I started talking to him. He was Jamaican and really weird. And kind of obnoxious after a while. Finally he asked where we were from. When I said ‘Germany’ he was all delighted because: ‘I had four German girlfriends. Two from Germany and two from Switzerland.’ Aye. So much for that.

Our travel agency was called ‘Wind & Cloud’ (I can mention them here without a problem because they did a really good job!) So usually, when we got to our B&B for the night, I would say ‘I am booked with Wind & Cloud’ and that would be fine. On the last day in Edinburgh we stayed in a bigger hotel. So I walk up to the reception and the girl there is not a native speaker either and maybe she is new. So I say ‘I am booked with Wind & Cloud’ and she stares. And asks me to repeat that. So I do. She stares again. Then she says ‘Is that your real name?’ And then I stare. After telling her that this is the name of the agency and my real name is Lunatique, she says ‘Oh, ok, I thought you were an important person and travelled incognito!’ Waaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!

That same night, Ifernia and I came back from the city and entered the lift with our cameras still in our hands. An old lady got into the lift with a VERY young boy. He was – judged by skin colour – obviously not her son and Ifernia and I got caught up into wild theories of how these two are connected… anyways. So the lift starts moving and nobody talks and then all of a sudden the lady says with a deep voice ‘Have you been taking pictures… in the dark?’ Nothing else… Spooky!!!

So much for today, dear readience! Hope you enjoyed the few tales – feedback welcome as always!

Yours truly, madly, deeply!


All photos used in this blog are mine unless stated otherwise. Feel free to use them if you like, but be decent and link to this site!


8 thoughts on “Perspectives on Scotland Part 1: travel tales

  1. Pingback: Scotland Part 2: travel route and pics | The German Perspective

  2. Pingback: How a single load of washing is crucial for your year! | The German Perspective

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