Sunday, July 3, 2011

Bus Tour of The Highlands and Pubs! Day 4.

June 25th We woke up really, really early to get to our bus that was leaving for The Highlands. The tour guide introduced himself and gave us an overview of what our day would look like. He told us that we would basically be spending around 12 hours on the bus, but we would try to make many fun and exciting stops along the way. While he was doing this, he introduced us to The Map of Truth which charted our journey and where we would proceed to write notes and fun things on.
So, it must be said that our tour guide Daniel
was absolutely AMAZING. He knew all kinds of history about Scotland and he made it extremely fun and interesting. It was also extremely evident that he was so so so passionate about everything about Scotland. It was very refreshing and I loved every minute of it.
I learned all kinds of Scottish history!!
When Scotland was all witch-crazy, they’d find people that they thought were witches and would throw them into a loch to prove whether or not they really were witches. They had this down to a science, if you floated, you were a witch, and if you sank to the bottom, good news! You weren’t a witch! were dead, so it really never ended up great for any of them.
I learned that the Campalls are not a very welcomed clan in the Highlands because of all of the betrayal they had carried out over the years. So, if your last name is Campall you should probably find another place to go.
He told us the true story of Braveheart because apparently the movie got a lot of it wrong. I can’t remember everything he said, but I most definitely remember the part about the torture Will Wallace went through since he was against King James the first.. I believe that he was hung, but not enough to kill him, then his insides were all cut open, then he was drawn and quartered, and lastly, they cut off his junk and had him choke on it to death. Sucks, right? After that, they put up parts of him all throughout Scotland to remind people to not piss of the King. –that is the extremely abridged version of that story…if you can even call it that..
I honestly slept a lot more than I wanted to. The view was so gorgeous the whole way up, but I was so exhausted that if Daniel was not telling us a story, I was sleeping against my own will…
Our first stop was to visit a real-life celebrity named Hamish. You haven’t heard of him? Oh my goodness, he is wild and sexy. Yes, Hamish is one of Scotland’s famous Hairy Coos! (Or hairy cows for those of you who choose to butcher the Scottish language ;)
But, all jokes aside, Hamish was freaking adorable. He has been in various films, although I have already forgotten which ones.. He had a wife and a brand new baby! I loved them all very, very much and am very excited we got to meet him.
After meeting Hamish we made our way up The Highlands to Glen Coe. Wow. What to even say about Glen Coe. Glen Coe was absolutely breathtaking. The place was massive, it reminded me of how small we all are. I completely loved it. I could have stayed there in awe for hours. However, we only had around a half hour. We took pictures of the enormous beauty of course.
Our next stop was in Fort Augustine for our cruise on Loch Ness. Luckily, we got seats outside so we could have a good seat to look for the Loch Ness monster. However, she was shy that day, no luck for us :/
After the cruse, we were free to wander around Fort Augustine. A few of us spent a lot of that time watching this thing called a Lock in action.
Apparently it functions to get boats from one part of the water to the other. The boats all sit in an enclosed area of water and it slowly fills up to the next level and so on and so forth until they finally reach their destination. We only watched them move up one level because it took a freaking long time to fill up completely.
On our way back to the bus we saw a bunch of people from our group at a little ice cream place so we wanted to get some as well! I got a double cone for the first time…I’m gonna have to get another one at some point so I can see what other people think the cone has a resemblance to…..
We were only a little late to the bus, and we began the long drive back home. We made a few stops on the way, one of them including The Seven Heads Well. Now, I can’t remember all all all all the details on this one, but I think the basic idea was that there were some elders that were beginning to get big heads (pun intended), so some dudes came and cut off their heads and threw them down the well. Then I guess some guy found them in there and was all, “oh shit! There’s heads in here.” Something like that…
But seriously, this place was really really cool, and I’d have more info on it if one of two things had happened. 1: if I had written it down somewhere as Daniel was telling us about it, and 2: if the monument about it was written in English. I believe it was written in Gaelic, and that does not help me. The well itself was actually extremely terrifying.
We had to go down these tiny unstable-looking steps down by the water, and then we had to go inside a tiny cave that just continued to get smaller and smaller the more we went in. I actually couldn’t even go all the way to the well because it was too scary. I was expecting the well to be like, Snow White status…it wasn't even close to that!
When we got back into Edninburgh, we had pizza at PizzaExpress and I must say that pizza in Europe is THE BEST! I had a wonderful pizza with Merlot Rosé Venito, Italy. It was pretty.
As we ate, we finalized plans to go out to the pubs in Scotland that night. I was extremely tired, but I hadn’t gone out once while we had been in Scotland, and it was our last night. So after dinner we all got ready to go!
The first pub we went to (and my first in Scotland ever) was a gay bar! We didn’t realize it was a gay bar when we went inside, but we did realize that it looked like a fun place to be…we also noticed the 1 pound green apple shots.. I went up to the bar to order 11 shots for the group of us and the bartender ended up giving me 12 so I got an extra since I went up to get them. It was a tasty way to begin our evening.
After that we started walking to the Grassmarket were all of the popular pubs in Edinburgh are located. It was a fun place to be! We had some friends that were already at a pub called The White Heart so we were trying to find but clearly had no idea where we were going. Jill and I decided to go and ask some guys if they knew where it was and it turned out they were in the Royal Marines. They told us that they were having trouble getting into any pubs because apparently they won’t let a big group of them in the pub at once, we offered to help them out and we all finally made it to The White Heart with the rest of our friends. Jill and I took turns buying each other’s drinks. We hung out at the pub and talked with all of the people in there. We met people from all over the place. It was really fun. Last call was around midnight, but some of us didn’t want the night to end. This began the first separation from the group. Some people headed home and some of us went looking for dancing clubs. We mostly wandered for the good part of an hour, going from club to club trying to find one that wouldn’t cost all the money. Eventually we gave up and just went to the one that the Royal Marines were suggesting we should all go to. The place was called Sin, and it was all full of loud techno-ish music. The extreme down-side was that we had to pay 10 pounds to get in..but we just wanted to dance. It wasn't exactly what I had in mind, but we still ended up having a good time. We all got some drinks and then began dancing. We all started out in a circle and everybody showed off their moves, it was so much fun! We talked to so many different people that night, and SO many drinks were bought for us--too many actually..
Overall, I definitely had a great time with all of my new friends on this trip. I got closer to all of them because we got to bond over the various things.
Sin closed at about 3am and then we began the walk back to The Carin Hotel (home). We got there and some of us wanted to use the wi-fi, but the manager or whoever he was wouldn’t let us in. We were determined, so we just sat outside of the door and used it. We met two Northern Irish guys and talked to them for awhile. One of them told us that apparently the manager had called the police, so we thought that was a good time to leave. As we were walking back to our room we noticed that the sun was rising and we wanted to go watch it! Jill, Allison, the Irish guys and I started walking towards the sunrise looking for a tall place to climb, but we found nothing. We did find a man in a kilt though, so we got a picture with him!
Well, you can't tell he's wearing a kilt, but he is, trust me!
Then we FINALLY got home.
After that night, I decided to definitely not drink that much in one night again for lots of reasons. Lessons learned!

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