The Medieval Bestseller
I read it somewhere on the Internet...
Thursday, March 15, 2007

I am currently sitting in a Cafe Nero in the lovely city of Stirling paying an excessive amount for the use of their wireless. Although I truly do love Scotland, I cannot believe how backwards they are when it comes to wireless availability. Anyway, before I can tell you more about Stirling, I have to catch up where I left off (which is all the way back on Monday...and now my trip's almost over!).

Before I say anything more, I'd like to mention that when I was with Simon at the Kelvingrove Museum, there was a quote on the wall in one of the artist exhibition rooms that I have continually thought about since seeing it. It said something like, "Blessed are they who see something in the midst of the humble where others see nothing." I wish I would have written down the exact words as well as the artist who said it. I think that quote is something that I really aspire to.

Monday morning Dorothy drove all the way down from Troon to meet up with me in Cumnock. (Noah, Tony & Josh were headed up to Inverness for an overnight to see Loch Ness) We hopped into her car and headed south west to the west coast of Scotland to check out Culzean Castle. Now, Americans, before you attempt to pronounce Culzean in your head, note that it actually is prounounced "Kill-ain," fitting in to a long line of not just a few words that have bizarre Scottish pronounciations. Maggs (Simon's friend) was explaining to me that way back the "z" used to be an "ng" sound, so it makes slightly more sense to me.

We arrived at Culzean and walked the grounds but did not visit the castle, as it was not open. But the grounds were open and we had a very nice walk (as an aside, I was told that "quite nice," a term I'd normally use to mean exactly that, actually means less than nice to Scottish people, so I've been quite aware of my use of the phrase and have tried not to use it!).

After strolling around there, we hopped back into the car and continued to drive up the coast. I love coastlines. When pressed between the choice of beach or mountain, I'd select beach any day of the week. The west coast of Scotland was very nice (some people say I should reserve judgement until I see the north of Scotland) and a bit rugged (rocky beaches), which I really like. We'd drive up a bit, stop, look out, maybe take a walk and then get back in the car and continue driving. We stopped for lunch in Troon at this fancy yacht club, which was good and had a fantastic view. Eventually we ended up in Largs (which sounds like "Larx" when a Scot--any Scot--pronounces it) and had a coffee and then headed back down to Cumnock, whereupon I read for the remainder of the evening.

I think I liked Danny's and my walk on the coastline of Portencross the most. While we were walking along this stretch of coast, there was this little dog who followed us for most of our walk (until another person walked by with a dog and then our friendly dog abandoned us).

When I went to bed on Monday night, I thought that I'd stay in the whole day on Tuesday and work on my schoolwork that needs to get completed sometime while I'm here in Scotland. It was a tough decision and all night long I wrestled with responsible and take a break to do some schoolwork while the others were away, or try to take the bus to Ayr or Glasgow to tour around a bit. In the end, I went with responsible.

Which meant, precisely, getting up at 11 a.m. Now I'm not a morning person by far, but 11 a.m. is a bit late for me. I suppose my perfect waking up time would be around 8:30 or 9 a.m., so 11 is a bit extreme. (but it felt lovely!) So, I woke up and went on Josh's computer to look at my email and then returned up to my flat and wrote an entire book report on Children in Crisis for my Pastor as a Person class in less than an hour. These book reports are not complicated by any means, but I am still amazed that I was able to finish it so quickly...I guess this is the benefit of not having internet access when doing a report. I finished so quickly, in fact, that I thought to myself that I could either read this new book about doing pre-marital counseling in the flat, or I could go outside and enjoy the nice day. Since I am not at all dedicated, I chose to go out and to take the bus to Glasgow and walk around a bit, mostly to see & convince myself that I could take the bus to Glasgow (of public transportation options, buses are my least favored because I have a hard time understanding how they work).

Got on the bus and eventually arrived in Glasgow and walked around for a bit. I tried going to the cathedral, but by the time I got there, it was closed, so I went to the museum of religious art next door. By the time I finished with that, I walked around the city centre for a bit and then made my way back to the bus for the ride home. Arrived back in Cumnock around 7 p.m. (round-trip bus trip was longer than I think I actually spent in the city) and was pleased to find that Tony, Noah and Josh were back. At some point on Tuesday afternoon, I had tired of speaking in that I noticed that I just really didn't want to do it anymore because whenever I open my mouth people automatically know that I'm a foreigner, which got really annoying. Plus, I missed actually speaking with people I know, instead of asking where this or that was. So, I was really happy to see them and happy for them (albeit a bit disappointed for me) that they had a great time in the Highlands. Next time I come to Scotland, I think that is the area I will hit next.

We went to the local chippy for dinner where I had - you guessed it - a deep-fried hamburger. It ended up being quite different from this one, but was absolutely DELICIOUS. My version was a hamburger patty that was breaded and deep fried. Then, when placing it upon the chips, they douse it with vinegar and salt. No bun. I got some brown sauce for my chips and then we headed back to Josh's flat to eat. I can't tell you how tasty this thing was (although the chips left a little to be desired). Despite its lack of any sort of nutrition, I can fully understand my friend Aaron having one of these every day of the week when he lived in Edinburgh.

When I talked to the guys later on that night, it was apparent that the rest of their plans for the week were things I had already done, so I decided to veer off from hanging out with them on Thursday/Friday (Wednesday I already had plans to meet up with Simon) and instead do my own thing, which is when I decided to check out Stirling.

Cafe Nero is about to close, so you'll just have to tune in again to hear how Wednesday, Thursday and tomorrow will go!

- Jenny, 3/15/2007 10:09:00 AM

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