Surprised in Scotland

Surprised in Scotland

1-DSC_0018Yesterday I couldn’t have been happier to find myself in Scotland. Our train snaked along cliffs and coastline to deliver us to a pleasant apartment nestled near the Aberdeen’s heart. Early that morning, Daddy and I sallied forth to secure breakfast from a local bakery. The lady sold us meat pies and threw in directions to a cafe for free. Note that the Scots do in fact employ the word “wee” as part of their daily vocabulary.

The day’s drizzle didn’t faze me; rather, the granite peaks fading into the mist harmonized with my aesthetic. For lunch, my parents enjoyed the nostalgia of street-side bratwursts. “It tastes better because you’re outside walking in the cold.”

By late afternoon, my euphoria hit turbulence.

I had selected Aberdeen in large part because I wanted to avoid the mobs I had anticipated in Edinburgh or Glasgow. I discovered instead that our trip dropped in the gap between spring and summer tourist seasons. His Majesty’s Theater has closed its curtains for the weekend; harbor cruises won’t set sail for another two weeks; the Scottish dancing social meets the day after we leave.

2-DSC_0088I had expected the trip would teach me about traveling, but I hadn’t prepared myself to learn the hard way. Now I realized we should have consulted the experience of fellow travelers or natives, not trusted the tourism websites. This seems so obvious in retrospect that I cringe to confess it. Aberdeen offered more of a refuge from tourism than I had bargained for.

After ratcheting my expectations back into line with my circumstances, I set about salvaging my plans for the weekend. We might see a performance in London the night we rest there before my family’s early flight, I calculated. Further digging produced a Scottish dance in a nearby town later this weekend.

What’s more, Aberdeen does qualify as a launch point for Scotland’s Castle Trail. Our taxi driver from the airport had recommended we “hire a car. It’s okay if you smash it.” Provided we can devise a surer means of arriving intact, three castles within 20 miles of the city make for a promising day trip…

4 Responses

  1. Travel (and life) are great teaching us about the ‘what is’ instead of the what we expected. Enjoy your castles and I am looking forward to some pics of them. Have a cuppa for me and a wee scone too! ~ mrs. k

  2. Ah…yes, that’s always a tricky balance. A castle trail sounds like a wonderful experience, though—I look forward to seeing pictures!

    Also, there’s something rather nice about arriving in Scotland by train. 😉 Are you sure you weren’t on the Hogwarts express? In any case, you should poke around…maybe you’ll find Hogwarts (even though it probably won’t look like Hogwarts to you, unless you’ve been hiding some talents from me… 😉 )

    • Funny you should ask about Hogwarts, because Kings Cross Station has kindly labeled the appropriate platform for us Muggles. You can even pose there with Harry’s scarf, owl, glasses, and a trolley cart stuck halfway through the portal.

      They do our best to make us feel included, I guess.