Near the Old Man of Storr, Scotland I took this in 2004

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Isle of Skye

Howdy, day 2 of back to blogging. Happy Friday the 13th to you, wherever you roam! The picture above is my little Scottish(couldn't you tell?) guide:)

The weather we've been having lately has put me in mind of the misty hills of Scotland. So that is where our journey will take us today.

I've travelled to Scotland twice, the second time I travelled around the highlands and ended up on the beautiful and perfectly remote Isle of Skye.

Before leaving I actually decided to splurge and plan, a bit. Something I am normally totally opposed to. I prefer to wing it. Though, I figured a guide book about hostels all over the U.K: indispensable genius! Yes well, it may have been had I not forgotten here, at home. However, I digress. While perusing through, I started getting excited about the places I'd love to visit and laughing at all the funny place names. Then I came upon a page devoted to the Isle of Skye, and it sounded incredible; wild, and remote were the words used to describe it.

So, there I am, I had just arrived in Scotland, not a guide book in sight, no plans, just moi. So, I decided to put myself on a tour, a jump-on-jump-off, and found myself in Inverness, and the next stop was this elusive Isle; Skye.

When I heard the name mentioned it didn't ring even the slightest of bells for me, nothing at all. 2 boys I met who were from Nova Scotia said they were heading to Skye, and they wanted to know if I was planning on heading. "An island?", I thought. Wow! A remote, highland island. Sure, I was game.

The only caveat I placed on anything was that I planned to stay no more than 2 days so as I could keep moving along.

Mhhm, 2 days came and went as did an additional 12 and I was still quite happily mired in the drama that was my home-away-from-home, aka: the hostel!

I couldn't believe it, 2 weeks after the fact I was only then thinking, "maybe I need to keep going" cuz really apart from drinking like , like, ? well like backpackers , and, gathering in the lounge every evening to drink, after a night of being at the pub and drinking, we'd all settle in and read a stupid dictionary, yes that's right, a dictionary of Scottish/English in the lounge every night, around the warm glow of the fire...ahhh, travelling.

The strangest part was the day I arrived. The driver of the bus I was on from my "tour", was ready to kick me off the bus cuz after he told us a vaguely political story about the
British anthem, I couldn't get it out of my head, so I started humming it, he got very serious, and said, " Look, I'm not anti English, I'm just pro Scottish." Followed by, did I want to walk?
Ok. Also, he was a larger man, in a kilt. And he had a few issues.
There was no reason for me to piss him off.
So apart from my humming, the other point of contention for him was good ole prince charlie, and all things English.Though, for the life of me I couldn't figure out why he was talking about The Prince for. "Weird", I thought.

He drove us over to where we would take the local transportation into town to the island. I got on and all the locals were buzzing about was The Prince. Pretty strange.

I reached my hostel, finally, and the moment I saw it, I felt like I was home.
It was such a powerful feeling, I knew this place was gonna be something amazing.

Even from the get-go it was good. I got to stay, cuz I asked, in their caravan, alone and it was much cheaper, and so damn for the busted window. Thankfully I'd watched enough episodes of Macgyver..and felt as intrepid as he. I found a thin yoga-mat style foam and some string and managed to tightly secure the window so cozily well that I was actually a little too warm in there:)

So, I got my self organized, and made my way into the kitchen to prepare my lunch. I took out my beet roots, that travel surprisingly well. They are sold, whole, peeled and cooked, in shrink wrap plastic, juice in tact.

In the kitchen, I began chopping up my beet roots, when a person who was working at the hostel came in to the kitchen and finding I was the only guest about,( there were also very few people there, period. Another reason to love the place) ,she asked if I wanted to meet the prince of Wales. "What? Was she kidding?", I wondered.

"No", she said, she wasn't kidding. He had come to visit a boat builder next door to our hostel. I figured, "why not", and promptly headed outside.
When I got outside, looked down and realized, my hands were covered in beet root juice..great, first impression I'd make, but where, prey, was this "Prince"?

It was starting to rain, which, was obviously less than not a big deal, it was Scotland for Pete's sake. However, I was getting wet, and thought, " If this guy does show up, I might at least get a picture." I went to get my raincoat and camera and returned to the very small crowd of people, some islanders, others hostlers, the rest MI5. "Hold on, MI5?" , I thought. This was turning out to be a fairly big deal. The security were as covert as possible on an island village of 500. There was a helicopter flying overhead, nuff security in the carpark behind us and the ones among us who were not hard to distinguish. I amazingly managed to get one picture of Charlie, the amazing part was that it was my last picture on the roll..and I had had no idea.

Check it out!
Ok, below is charlie, if you're able to enlarge, it'll be best, and the second is the view from the Skye Bridge..pretty magical:)

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