Yesterday 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.
I 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…