Monday, September 5, 2011

Travelogue One : Catching up

Today I had a bit of revelation.
I've been bouncing around for some time now, trying to figure out what this blog should be.  Because if you haven't noticed, I've been all over the place, figuratively and literally.

I've now decided to host an as-often-as-possible feature: The Travelogue.

I love traveling.  I love getting lost.  And I love taking photos of all the places I've been.  And so, to bring you up to speed with my time in Scotland, below is the first entry in what will hopefully be many travel-related topics.  I'll still blog about writing and circus and everything else, but I like to think that showcasing these little sidetrips will help set this blog apart from the thousands of other blogs that do a much better job at being literary than I ever will.  Full photos are at the end of the post.

First trip: Horse Show and Largs

My first full day in Scotland, my friend Adam invited me down to the countryside to watch his sister take part in the horse show.  I quickly went from spectator to helper, whether it was trying to get the horse-truck unstuck from the mud to fastening shin-guards to the horses' calves.  (I don't know horse-speak, so forgive me as I butcher the terminology)  The afternoon was cool and cloudy, the grass irresistibly green and the landscape so perfectly Scottish that I grinned like an idiot the entire time.  And for the record, Adam's sister won the cross-country portion.

We then proceeded down to Largs, his hometown.  We met with some of his friends, grabbed chippy food, and walked the neon-lit promenade.  The Viking Festival was celebrating its final night.  We paused along the pebbly beach to eat our food and stack rocks on one another, because we are, if nothing else, mature.  Then we trekked to see the fireworks which were, quite unexpectedly, good.  The night ended with a quick train ride back to Glasgow, surrounded by drunken football fans, and a long bus to the city centre--traffic was at a standstill.  Actually, that's a lie.  The night truly ended with tea and video games, but that's another story.

Today's Trip: The West Highland Way

People often ask me why I chose Glasgow.  It's dodgy, dirty, and a bit dangerous if you don't know where to avoid.  But I love the place for all its hidden gems.  For every rough area there's a parallel street of gorgeous tenement flats.  For every crowded store-front street there's a garden and hidden walkways.  And best of all, everything is at your fingertips: for less than 5pounds you can take a train for half an hour and be surrounded by nature; if the deal is right, you can spend the same amount for an afternoon plane ride to Paris; and let's not forget, the city is home to the richest collection of art, nightlife, and culture in all of Scotland.  There's a reason it's called the fashion capitol.  Think London High Street, on a slightly smaller scale.

So today, after the flat I was meant to view was suddenly taken off the market, I decided to jump on a train and begin the West Highland Way, a ~96 mile hike up Scotland's west coast, all the way up to the highlands. Obviously, it takes about a week to complete, but I figured a small hike would be fantastic.  So, 3pounds for a ticket and 2 for a latte later, I found myself in the nearby town Milngavie (pronounced Mull-guy), the start of the Walk.

Freshly caffeinated and eager for fresh air, I trekked what I assume is about 6 miles out, through winding forest paths, over moorland, by lochs, and even through a ~1300 era castle.  Every step made me feel even more alive, more excited to just... exist.  When I finally turned around and hiked back, all the fears of being here were gone.  Not because anything big happened, but because I took the time to breathe and settle.  Then I returned to the flat I'm graciously being allowed to stay at, and made dinner.  And cookies.  And watched Doctor Who and Torchwood whilst drinking tea.  I said before that the truly important things in life aren't the great changes, but the space in between.  I fully stand by it.

There are wonders waiting right outside our doorsteps, magic in places just within our reach.  The world is a beautiful place should you choose to explore it. 

I truly hope you do.


Annie said...

Thank you for generously sharing your travels with us. Your photos are...lovely. I love The Travelogue and am so very glad you're traveling before classes start. All I want to know is...when do we all move in to the castle? Oh, and will there be cookies? ;)

Post a Comment