I spent our long weekend last week on a very quick trip to Scotland to visit Sam. I only had four days, and one of those was spent entirely in travel. Still, what fun!!
I arrived at noon and Sam patiently waited while I spent a small fortune in the super Glasgow shops! We spent an evening on the town going to places like her local pub The Islay, ABC Club, Buddha Bar, but missed out on Nicensleazy and other exciting places! What great live music! What delicious cider! :)
On Sunday, I made poor Sam get up early so that we could catch the train up to Loch Lomond (1 hour away). Thankfully, the entire time I was there I had spectacular (if crisp) clear weather. Loch Lomond reminded me so much of Central Otago! I can see why the Scots felt so at home there! The beautiful tree-less mountains of brown tussuck-like stuff, covered in a nice dusting of snow was just like the hills behind Cromwell, not to mention Cecil Peak across from Lake Wakatipu! Gorgeous! They even had their own 'Maid of the Loch' steamship just like the Earnslaw! We missed the train back by seconds, but enjoyed some country time. Sunday night saw us in the church that has been converted into a bar/nightclub. The founders must be turning over in their graves, but it was wonderfully modern and a sense of today! Great use of space!!
While Sam prepared for her presentation on Monday, I took the train 1 hour to Edinburgh to explore that majestic touristy city! I spent pounds on Princes St, wandered the Castle, had my ears split open by the 1pm cannon, admired the Scot crown jewels, and wandered the Royal Mile! A lovely last dinner in the Islay with Sam's mates that was supposed to be Christmas Dinner, but needed pre-ordering!
I love the bookshops, the clothing, and the amazing thing was the Scots themselves!! I never really thought about it, but they look similar. There really is a typical 'Scot' look, and now that I've seen it, I recognize it in my Scot students here in Baku. It's hard to describe, but seems to be wide high cheekbones and large eyes, but there is also a smaller narrow-face, pointy pixie look. An English colleague mentioned that she can often tell a regional English as well, such as Cornish. Because I come from such a poly-glot NZ/Aust/USA background, everyone is distinct, but it is just fascinating to see a place with a 'typical' look!!