My final few days in Europe, in case you’ve been sitting on the edge of your seat for the past month waiting to find out, were fantastic. I stayed at Sara’s house in Forfar with Hannah and Miriam, who came to meet me at the train station in some fantastic get-ups that looked like several circus clowns had held them at rubber chicken-point and switched wardrobes with them. We spent the afternoon at Glamis Castle, where we had the most fun taking silly photos out in the gardens. (Although the tourguide inside the castle did tell a story which I hypothesize J. K. Rowling might have used as inspiration in her books—about a woman who was killed by the castle’s owner and whose ghost is known as the Grey Lady.) The next day we went up into the glens for a hike along a waterfall, which was like something out of a fairytale. All in all, a wonderful weekend.
Another bit of drama I never did mention (preferring to let my parents hear it first from my mouth rather than my website) were my two excursions into the land of hitchhiking, which I would never have risked except in small villages in Scotland, and with great deals of caution. The first and more stereotypical instance occurred when we were trying to catch our bus to Crianlarich to catch the train to Mallaig to get a ferry to Armadale to get a bus via Portree to our hostel in Uig, on what you can see was a day of rather tight travel, and all busses out of Stirling had been Cncelled by the G8 riots. After Kate and I stood at various bus stops in Callander and had a number of passers by warn us that no busses were coming and suggest we consider hitching, we decided to try it, so I ran across the street for a black marker and Kate drew up a sign reading CRIANLARICH. After some clever comments from more passers by (“I’m just walking” and “You’ve got it spelled wrong!”) we were given a lift by a bicycler on his way to catch the very same train we were aiming for.Fortunately, we just made the train.
The second time was on our way back from viewing Loch Ness from the recommended vantage point of Urquhart castle, when I misread the timetable, had us waiting for a late bus back to Inverness which actually only ran on Sundays, and we ended up stranded in the parking lot with no more busses and no other way home. Luckily, there were a few cars parked in the lot, so we approached one of the couples taking a moment to take in the loch and asked if they were heading to Inverness. After some initial dubious hesitation, they turned out to be really sweet people from Minnesota who seemed quite thrilled to help us out, and who were, in fact, on their way to Inverness. So luckily, both instances turned out for the best.
And now, I’m back for another few weeks to see friends, spend time with family, spend ten days at Running Camp, and read loads of plays in preparation for Senior Theatre Festival next year. I’m also hoping to put together a Harry Potter book 6 discussion group sometime this summer—I attended a midnight release party with my little sister, which was great fun, and finished the book by the following midnight. (If you’ve also read it and are interested in discussing the book via e-mail or, if you’re in the area, attending the discussion group, feel free to shoot me an e-mail.)
And as a concluding post for my European Adventure, I include my list of British words and phrases for your perusal, which can be located either below or at Britishisms. Enjoy, and thanks for joining me on my journey!