Yet again it has been awhile, so here is a quick update of my life since you last heard from me.
I have finished all my coursework and am officially done with my sophomore year of college! Well, I get about a month off until I start summer courses, so all the more reason to enjoy it while I can! Speaking of college, my brother has recently graduated from UNI and I couldn’t be prouder! There are not many people who can finish college in four years now a days, and even fewer who can do it while playing a college sport! Congrats Braden! I also have to send another shout out to my beautiful baby sitter who went to her first prom a week ago, and of course my amazing mother who made her one of a kind dress! (P.S. Happy Mother’s Day) I am sad that I was not there to witness these milestones in there life, but thank goodness for Facebook and Skype for making me feel as though I was:)
In other news, I have less than 2 days left on this beautiful island known as the United Kingdom and I was so happy to be able to spend 4 days of my last week in the Isle of Skye. The island itself is quite small and has been described to me in a way that makes me see it as the Florida of Scotland; where all the older people go to retire. Yet unlike Florida, the towns were all of small size, with few stoplights and a feeling of being secluded from the real world. Cell reception and WiFi definitely weren’t priorities. It was nice to take a step back and enjoy being amongst some of the most beautiful Scottish landscapes I have seen yet.
Wednesday was an early morning with 6 hours of travel and 3 hours of a lay over waiting for a bus to take us over the bridge to Skye. Once we reached our hostel in Broadford we explored the town, mainly the co-op store, where we bought food and snacks to save a little money. Thursday was our blessed day of sunshine and we took the opportunity to head to Portree and hike up to the Old Man of Storr. I expected the town to be larger, and it was compared to Broadford, but it was still much smaller in comparison to Stirling. We got a quick lunch and a taxi to take us the 6 miles to the base of the rock formation and had ourself a picnic in the sun, overlooking the water. We were unable to get to the top of the rock formation, but close enough to easily see the Old Man’s sad face. I truly wished I could have cheered him up… Then we were left to explore Portree for a couple of hours. We walked down by the harbor and probably visited all of the tourist shops once, some even twice! Once back in our temporary homestead of Broadford, we spent the night cooking supper and had the most random yet somehow cohesive conversations ranging from relationships, to weddings (we are all single by the way), to axe murders and psychopaths. We like to keep it diverse.
Sadly, Scotland weather caught up to us on Friday and the rain had returned. We had plans of taking a boat tour around the Cuillin Mountains but the bus never showed. We weren’t amused. We rallied back at the hostel and decided to make our trip to the Eileen Donan castle in Dornie instead. We decided to grab a ‘quick’ lunch 30 minutes before the bus was supposed to arrive and ended up having to immediately ask for to-go boxes and we may have stolen the forks…
This bus was perfectly on time and we made it to the castle in our expected time frame. Unfortunately the rain ceased to cease and the castle was under construction like every major monument we visit, but we were lucky enough to be inside the majority of the time. We were excited to find out that we were visiting on the anniversary of the castle being attacked by the English over 200 years ago. The castle laid in ruins for those years until the 1930’s when the descendants of the family who lived there bought and rebuilt it. While inside, I even got to see a lock of Prince Charles Edward Stuart’s hair…weird, but still kinda cool.
That night, due to the rain and all over dreary atmosphere, was spent in doors. We over took the lounge area and stuffed our faces with Dorritos, Sour Patch Kids, Cadbury Chocolate, Bagettes and Pizza while watching a total of 3 (almost 4) movies! Although the word of the weekend was Majestic, the overall experience could be described as relaxing (possibly even lazy) and full of useless carbo-loading
Since our plans had changed and we were no longer visiting the castle on Saturday, we wanted to get home on an earlier train. Sadly we could not get on the 12:00 train but the desk worker said she could convince the train workers to let us on the 2:00. That meant we have 4 hours to kill in Kyle of Lochalsh, a town where we had visited every store and the one restaurant a couple of days before. We revisited the cafe and not only ordered breakfast, but also waited there to order lunch. We sat and read or entertained ourselves with more unique conversations. Finally we decided we may have been sitting there too long after 3 hours and headed to the train station to watch Midnight in Paris on Amy’s ipod. Luckily our train was early and we were able to board half an hour sooner than we expected. The train was supposed to take 2 hours, but with the endless amount of request stops, the ride took 2 hours and 45 minutes! When we finally arrived in Inverness, we decided to take a risk. It decided our fate. We could either sit around for another 3 hours until our 8:00 train or sneak on the 5:30 train and hope we didn’t get kicked off. We chose the latter. When the man came around to check our tickets, Amy and I got through it easy as cake, but Shannon gave him the seat reservation ticket with the time of the train we were supposed to be on, and luckily he didn’t notice, or chose to ignore, and we were homebound!
My last trip in Scotland may have been slow of pace and an over indulgence in food, but it was also full of majestic scenery and friends. It’s crazy to sit here and attempt to absorb the fact I only have one day left in Scotland after today before heading back home to Iowa. There is no doubt that there is always a time when we have to say goodbye, and no matter if I was leaving now or in a month it will always be hard, but I will be leaving a piece of my heart in Scotland, amongst this beautiful country and, most importantly, with my new friends. Yet I left a part of my heart at home as well, amongst the always familiar corn and cows, and also most importantly, my family and long time friends. Sadly, these two pieces can not be recovered together, and although it hurts to leave what feels a part of me behind, I know there is another waiting for me at back home.