. He hasn't finished his school yet but his goal is to get a job working with animals. Kirrel loves boating, fishing, hiking, surfing...pretty much anything outdoors. He has worked at a zoo and has great pictures of animals. He has great pictures in general. His picture taking moto is similiar to mine: don't think too much about the picture, just take it of something you think looks cool and want to remember. When we got to the house, we were greeted by two French girls and a horse!...Ok not really a horse, but just about. Kirrel has a dog that is a mastiff-cross-black lab called Jah. Huge dog, his head was about the same size as mine and he just about looked me in the eyes when he stood up on his back legs. Jah was so friendly (good thing), and he listens very well to hand signals. As for the two French girls, they were fellow couch surfers staying at Kirrel's house too. Louise and Clem were their names, and they had originally planned to move on from Stirling before we got there (that's why Kirrel accepted our couch surf request) but they were unable to find accomodations in the other places they were going, so Kirrel let them stay longer at his place. We are so glad they stayed. They were a lot of fun to hang out with and they love to play cards! They would constantly be sending zingers back and forth to each other in a way that Kirrel likes to refer to as "playful banter." Louise would be quick with a few witty insults, then Clem would come back with a few, but if she couldn't think of any, she would just give Louise a clip on the back of the head. Friendly banter indeed.
Stirling is a cool place. Many old buildings still in pretty good condition. It is complete with a graveyard on a hill, many old churches, a jail, a wall fortification, and a castle
. Kirrel and Jah took us around the old town to show us the sites. When we went to see the jail, we found some performers just hanging out, waiting for the next crowd of kids to go by. There was a woman on stilts, a guy who could do it all, but was currently juggling on a tall unicycle, and an older gentlemen with a crank organ. We started talking to them and they were bored so they started performing for us. The woman started spinning a plate on a stick, the guy started balancing bowling pins on his foot, then juggling them on his unicycle, and the old man was dancing away while turning his crank organ. Kirrel and Jess went over to get a lesson on how the crank organ works, while Jah and I sat fascinated with the juggler. The day before, Jess and I walked to a nearby hill with a huge tower on it. The William Wallace memorial tower! It was here that the Scottish army gathered to take a stand against the English and start their war of independence. The Scottish were outnumbered and they had no calvery. But, they had William Wallace, and they used the landscape to their advantage. The English heavy horses got stuck in the marshes and they were divided because of a river and a small narrow bridge. Scotland won the battle of Stirling bridge and Wallace was later declared the Gaurdian of Scotland. What we didn't know was that three days before we got there, it was the anniversary of Wallace's death! To celebrate, there was a skit going on twice a day, everyday, for the whole week for free! Two guys performed a three part skit about Wallace's life. They did a very good job! We really enjoyed that.
It was also someone's birthday on the 25th...Louise's...Oh and Jess'!! We had two birthdays to celebrate. Clem and I made the birthday lasagna and Jess got to pick out her dessert candies of choice. We all continued to celebrate with international card games and some ten pin bowling. Great night! Tomorrow, we get back on the bus to head to our most northernly stop of the whole trip, Fort William! Peace out, til then.
Well, we made it to Scotland. Lovely little sail across the sea we had. Great way to spend an anniversary! On the 24th of August, Jess and I have been married for four years!! So priveledged to be sharing all these adventures with my dear wife! No Titanic moments though! No icebergs anywhere to be seen, but we did just about hit a jellyfish. It was bright orange and it was floating close to the ship as we pulled into port. Hey, it's better than seeing nothing. Our ship pulled into Cairnryan Port and then we hopped on the bus to Glasgow. Beautiful bus ride, but we miss our train days. Our final destination, Stirling. We have couch surfing in Stirling for three nights. Our first couch of the UK! Our host's name was Kirrel, a 24 year old gentleman born in Russia, but has lived in Scotland for 8 years and now sounds exactly like a Scotsman. Kirrel met us at the bus station and took us on a short walk to his house. The back of Kirrel's yard is actually part of Stirling's old city wall! Kirrel loves animals and has taken some classes to become a marine biologist