Scotland was amazing! The landscape, the scenery, the castles, the people: all amazing! From the moment we landed in Glasgow to the moment we boarded the plane for the trip home, everywhere we turned we encountered open, honest, trusting people who made our dream trip perfect.
Well, except for the owner at the first B&B who, when we turned up early to ask for assistance in sending a message to our families to let them know that we had arrived, left us standing outside in the rain, gave us hurried and less than accurate directions to the library in Ft. William, the only place in town with wifi and computers, and a “come back later” before he shut the door in our faces. But he was the exception.
And the guy at the Shell Station in Aberdeen who was familiar with the Holiday Inn but couldn’t tell us how to get there. We bought a map from him and roamed the streets looking for signage that might point us in the right direction only to find that the road we needed was, coincidentally–or not, the road right beside the Shell Station where we had stopped for directions.
The Deep South Comes to Scotland
Okay, so that’s two people who were less than accommodating or kind. Everyone else we encountered couldn’t have been nicer or friendlier or more forthcoming with information and advice for three obviously American tourists. My daughters have very deep southern accents liberally sprinkled with “Yes, ma’ams” and “No, sirs,” so it was a delight to watch the looks of surprise on the faces of the people we encountered as they tried valiantly to translate the twang into a burr. My youngest daughter has a spectacularly funny story about asking a gentleman at the front desk at Airth Castle for a bucket of ice. (I’m sure you get the picture.) She came back red-faced and panting with laughter which ended in sheer hilarity with the delivery of the largest bucket of ice we’d ever seen.
As for the nameless part: no one in Scotland introduced themselves, asked our names, or offered their own. No one. In Glencoe on our second day, our waitress at The Holly Tree asked if we were staying close by. When I mentioned that we were looking for a place to camp, having decided against the deep dark forest of Glencoe Wood, she quickly offered us a free site on her father’s land “just up the road.” We hesitated, thought it over during dinner, and then decided to at least check it out. The young woman seemed shocked when I asked her name and introduced myself and my daughters. With a blush and a smile, she said her name was Romie and quickly launched into detailed directions on how to find her father’s field. The site was brilliant, located on a strip of soft green grass that ran along a rocky beach. Despite it being populated by a herd of curious, excited sheep and bordered a cow pasture, we had a great first night camping. Romie was the only name we came home with despite having met people on trains and buses and waiting for planes.
Oh, and Liz, the wonderful hostess at the Fraser House in Inverness. Liz is from Australia and was kind and chatty and eager to please her guests. Actually, now that I think about it, she didn’t introduce herself at all. After explaining who we were, I asked her if she was Liz as I had hoped to meet the woman with whom I had been communicating by email. I was anxious to meet the person who took our reservation with no deposit or pre-payment required. “Come on over and I’ll save you a room,” she’d said.
Did I mention that the people in Scotland are open and honest and trusting? They are! And I felt quite blessed to be in their company and their country for ten glorious days.
Just for Fun!
One evening, on our way back to our B&B just outside Stirling, my daughter asked us to stop at Brewer’s Fayre so she could run in for “a small snack.” Expecting her to return with a candy bar or a bag of potato chips, we were shocked to see her come out carrying–with two hands–this huge sundae containing several flavors of ice cream, chunks of chocolate eclair, nuts, marshmallows, candy, and chocolate sticks. When presented with the masterpiece, my daughter asked the waiter if he had a to-go container, to which he replied, “No, just bring the cup back when you come in for breakfast.” Between the three of us, we couldn’t finish the “small snack” but we washed out the cup and returned it the next morning–when we returned to the restaurant for breakfast.