To Falkirk

Trip Start Aug 16, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Saturday, August 20, 2005

It feels like it's been forever since I've been at a computer, so it's definitely time for an update! As you can see, I'm in Falkirk, Scotland now, but more on that in a minute...

Ok, yesterday. I set my alarm for 7:30 with very good intentions. However, my body had something else in mind entirely and I slept till 10 after resetting my alarm several times. I had really bad allergies the day before, and I think my body needed more time to regenerate its defenses. No worries though, I've been doctoring myself with homeopathy (thanks, Susan!!!), echinacea, zinc and vitamins and I'm now doing quite well.

I missed breakfast at the hostel as they stop serving at 9am, so I resorted to eating a Twix and an orange-mango smoothie. Not the healthiest of options I'll admit, but it did the trick! I packed up my things at the hostel and put my stuff in storage for the day, and then headed out with a mission. First stop: York Minster. Of course, you know from my last entry that I got sidetracked on the way and stopped at the internet cafe, so I guess all this so far is old news. After the cafe I got sidetracked again at a cool little Peter Rabbit shop where I had to buy a present for Madison. Then it was straight to the Minster, which is amazing! It's huge, massive, beautiful, amazing, ornate, old, historical, just plain wow. I wandered around there for a bit, listened in at a couple of points along the guided tour, bought a present for Merry (ohhhhh, the suspense!), gazed agasp at the wonders, and then headed on my way again.

From the Minster I had one more place I really wanted to go, the local art gallery. They have free entrance which is always good. I had seen the gallery while waiting for the city walls tour, and knew they were having a forest exhibit which I was keen to see (he he, I said keen...). The gallery turned out to be quite small and only took me about 15 minutes to go through. There was one series that was quite spellbounding, but the rest was, well, it didn't capture my attention too much. The series was 4 huge photographs in black and white of a girl in a forest. The lighting made it look dreamlike, which was the intention. The artist had actually dreamed the scenes while in the hospital. They were representative of her journey from unconsciousness to the waking world. In the first the girl looks very alone, sad, almost in despair. The second was the one that I really enjoyed, the girl had this look on her face that was absolutely captivating, I can't really describe it, but even though she was only maybe 10 or 12, she had a depth of wisdom in her eyes. The next two went on to show her finding her way out of the dark, and into the light of life. The whole series was gorgeous.

After the gallery I still had plenty of time until 2:15, the arranged meeting time with my Scottish friends. I decided to go to Betty's, a very popular little tea and sandwich shop which had been highly recommended by Jillian. There was a queue (line) to get in, and I figured I had enough time so joined in. Unfortunately, the line wasn't really moving and I finally gave up and headed for another sandwich shop that had caught my eye on my second day there. They have a great deal on a 'picnic lunch' which includes sandwich, fruit, and water for take-away (take-out). I got a chicken sandwich, banana, my water and headed for the riverside (the shop was on the edge of a bridge.) I sat near the top of a long flight of stairs by the waterside, amongst the geese and ducks. It was fun watching them and the people around as I enjoyed my waterside picnic.

Fully sated I headed back to the hostel to meet my friends. They were there and waiting for me in the hostel's cafe. I gathered up my things and we headed onward. After a quick stop and the Disney Shop for the kiddos, we were on our way to a local indoor water park. We spent quite a while there swimming, playing in the wave pool, and riding the 'flumes' (water slides.) We had such a blast! When it was time to go, we all got in this giant 'human dryer' which heats up and blows air to dry you off. Quite the unique experience indeed.

We were all hungry from playing all day, so we stopped at a cafe to get some dinner/lunch before starting our road trip. I had one of their lunch plates consisting of beef lasagna, roasted potatoes, broccoli and orange juice. It hit the spot. Everyone full we loaded into the car and took off for their hometown, Falkirk, Scotland. It was about a 4-5 hour drive that was mostly uneventful. The highlights were an absolutely gorgeous sunset that seemed to go on for days, and a beautiful, bright full moon lighting our way after dark. It's weird, they have many more daylight hours here than we do back home. The sun sets really late and rises really early.

We stopped for refueling (us, not the car) in Berwick, just outside the Scottish border. Right off the highway was a McDonald's, it was quick and easy and kid-friendly so we stopped there for a bite. Had a quarter pounder with cheese and some apple juice, then it was back on the road. We got to Brian's somewhere around midnight and all went to bed.

We were back up this morning about 7, and out the door at 9. Brian had a football (soccer) game this morning and he brought me along to watch. I sat on the sidelines, alternating between watching the game and reading (Daodejhing- sp?). The weather was perfect and I had a really good time. They were a fun group to watch.

After the game Brian took me to his work to have a look around, and get on the internet (whoo-hoo! free internet!) which is where I sit now.


The plan from here? Brian will drive me to Edinburgh (only about 30 minutes away) later this afternoon to meet up with my couchsurfing host. She has invited me to a bbq, and then we might go to a Fringe Fest show. I'll stay with her for 2 nights, then another couchsurfer for one night. Brian is going to the horse races in Perth, and he thinks they are on Tues/Wed. If so, then he will pick me up on Tues and take me there, we'll stay till Wed and then he'll bring me back to Edinburgh on Wed. I have tickets to see the Dresden Dolls on Wed night (yeah! I love this band!), and then on Thurs a whole new adventure starts (details to come).

Ok, I think we are about to leave so I better bring this to a close. Oh, I think from here we are going to a local pub to watch a local soccer game. Should be quite entertaining!


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