Last day in Scotland. I slept in this morning until a leisurely 8:45am. Maybe that will help me get back on the right clock. Tomorrow, my flight leaves at 11:50am UK-time, so I need to tell myself it’s 5:50am at take-off. It will be a long day of travel, but do-able. I took my time getting ready this morning and even started packing. Lora and I had discussed leaving around 10am, so when I realized it was 9:45 and I hadn’t gone downstairs yet, I thought I should check in. I know she’s a late-to-bed-late-to-rise person, but she’s been up before me every morning so far. This morning when I walked down, and she was still in her pajamas, I knew I was okay. We decided to wake up to the news before eating. Lora’s go-to? Fox News. We watched Bill O’Reilly and then saw a quick run-down of UK news on the BBC.
This morning’s breakfast: porridge. Since I’m such a huge oatmeal fan, it was a winner with me. I added some blueberries (I think I’ve eaten a pint of blueberries during my stay since I’ve added it to cereal every morning!), and it was delicious. We discussed the day’s plans, which included an hour and a half drive to Glencoe Lochan where we’ll walk the trails and take pictures of some unique scenery. While Lora got ready, I made us some sandwiches to take along the trail. For my last dinner in Scotland, we’re going to eat at Lora’s and Graham’s favorite Indian restaurant in Methven. We figured a light lunch would leave plenty of room for a hearty dinner.
We left around 12pm, picked up some sunglasses for Lora at a local outfitters, and settled in for a long, scenic drive. Now, if I haven’t mentioned it yet, besides driving on the “wrong” side of the car on the “wrong side of the road,” driving here is SO much different than in the States. There are few stoplights because of the round-a-bouts. I think I may be close to figuring out this system of driving, but definitely would not feel comfortable navigating a vehicle by myself at this point. In the towns, the government has put in place a number of “traffic calming devices.” These range from random median blocks in the road that force drivers on either side to slow down to avoid messing up their tires, all the way to purposefully offering fewer parking lots so that drivers have to park on the narrow streets (hence leaving not enough room on the streets for two cars to get by and therefore causing cars to slow down and take turns). One of the most notable differences is the size of the lanes. Well, not necessarily the size of the lanes (though they do seem smaller) but rather the size of the shoulders – if they exist, that is. Most of the driving we did today was very wind-y – lots of twists and turns, going around curves and under bridges where you can hardly tell if anyone is coming in the opposite direction. In fact, one of the funniest signs we commented on essentially said “Beware of oncoming vehicles driving in the middle of the road.” Basically, some of the bridge crossings are so very narrow that vehicles have to merge to the center to get by, making it impossible to pass. It really is quite different over here. And to be honest, Lora drives a little on the edge for me. I was gripping my seat pretty tightly a few times today!
As we neared our destination, we stopped off to take a picture at Glencoe Mountain. It is home base for serious hikers/walkers and in the winter, skiers. There is a little white house that is dwarfed by the huge mountain range that is a picture point (In fact, Graham took a gorgeous picture of the house and range, and it is featured at Charleston Steading – all of his great photographs are blown up and mounted on the walls like a gallery; http://www.ghgraham.co.uk/). Then, we snaked our way further until we reached the city of Glencoe. After scarfing down our sandwiches and grabbing some quick directions, we arrived at Glenchoe Lochan Trails. It was one of the most gorgeous walks I have ever been on. We took a trail that ultimately led us around the loch, and it was so picturesque I doubt any of my pictures captured it properly. It wasn’t a long walk, but the scenery we saw on the drive to and from Glencoe was part of the journey. After finding our way back to the car, we headed out with Indian food on our minds (and stomachs).
Around 7pm, we made it to Lora’s recommended Indian restaurant in Methven: Chatni. Oh. My. Goodness. Indian food coma. I was intent on ordering Chicken Tikka – my favorite. However, I was encouraged to try Chicken Shiraslik, which is basically Chicken Tikka with peppers, tomatoes, and onions. Ok, I thought, I’ll try a spin of a favorite…as long as I get a nice big piece of naan bread with it! Let me tell you – I was STUFFED. I cleaned the plate, and the serving was generous. I even ordered an extra side of naan to go (so I could eat it when I got home and started packing). So full. What a great meal!
So now, I’m back at Charleston Steading with the task of packing and preparing for tomorrow in front of me. I have devoured the last bit of naan (and I’m hoping I can move well enough to pack!), checked in for my flights tomorrow, and all I need to do is stuff everything in my suitcases and head to bed. Easy enough, right?
Lora gave me a brief run-down of all the counties/shires I have visited during my stay:
Kingdom of Fife
I’ve made quite a trek, haven’t I? We’ve got a running list of things for me to do with them next time I come. I’m already looking forward to it!
Cheerio, Scotland! Until next time…