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A Winding Journey With Many Stops The traveler was active; he went strenuously in search of people, of adventure, of experience. The tourist is passive; he expects interesting things to happen to him. He goes "sight-seeing." ~Daniel J. Boorstin

Scotland 2008: A weekend of bagpipes, falafel, castles and crazy pubs!

UNITED KINGDOM | Tuesday, 20 May 2008 | Views [822]

What is adventure?

Adventure is getting on an unmarked train in an empty train station with only the vaguest of assumptions that it goes where you want it to go!

On my free weekend from Corrymeela, Camille and I decided to hop across the sea from Belfast and take the sail and rail to Edinburgh to see what kind of adventures we could find! We found castles guarded by men in kilts carrying semi-automatic weapons, clubs that party on all night, the ghosts of the past in Old Edinburgh, live American music in traditional pubs, essence of Harry Potter, new friends and a ridiculous amount of distinctively Scottish humor!

16-18 May 2008!!! Edinburgh!

Initial observations:

The green grass, rocks jetting out into the sea. Water that is a misty grey, small brush, little inlets. You can almost imagine what it was like in the past, sailing in on a wooden sail boat through the channels--waiting for the mist to rise and reveal the rugged, fierce natural wildness. A horizon of adventure awaits!

Welcome to Scotland!

Other random observations from my notebook:

"This is the land of Heathcliff and Mr. Darcy!"

"Mirrored sea, grassy rolling hills, slight tinge of yellow in the setting sun, the spire of a church, the natural lines of a grey stone wall!"

Scotland, like Ireland, has a fierceness/gentleness complexity to its beauty. The jagged cliffs-unforgiving and steep-the tangled briar patches and vast bodies of water give way to pristine green hills dotted with wild flowers, cows and the ever present sheep. The power of the past is here. I can now understand the draw of the old country. As I gaze out onto the moors and hills I can imagine a past era and perhaps just riding over these glens, through the meadows and up upon the hills. Nothing is out here, it is very lonely looking but apart from the train tracks cutting through it seems virually untouched by time! Crumbling walls, bleating sheep, briars, peat roofed village churches, pheasants, falcons.....the wild.

Favorite quotes of the weekend:

"Baby, there is no way you are American. You're Italian...Israeli? Oh, I got it, you are South African?" --a drunk guy at a pub upon hearing my nationality...no idea why the idea of me being American was so odd...

"Red caps--think malicious garden gnomes who have velociraptor claws and eat you." -- Helene, our tour guide for the ghost night tour of Edinburgh. I strongly recommend the Free Tours in Edinburgh--they are stellar!


There is much more, many fond memories. So cheers to Camille, Connor and Cillian--you guys made my weekend interesting and oodles of fun. Castle Rock Hostel is pretty much fabulous--everyone should stay there. It has the most PERFECT location and the staff is phenomenal and predominately Canadian. Roz at Tribe Tattoo--I love my tat, thanks for that! To the Irish stag party at Espionage--wow! No comments needed for that!! and to Helene our industrious leader on the Freetours, thanks for being so hilarious and giving me a background of Edinburgh for free. I love it! And to the people in Belfast who rescued me after my train/ferry fiasco--you guys are golden!

Tags: adventure, castle rock hostel, edinburgh, ferry, scotland, stranraer, train trips

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