Here we are, licking the grease from our fingers after eating some very mediocre fish and chips for dinner. Most of our things are safely tucked away in our suitcases, ready for travel. Interestingly enough, we are coming home with one more bag then we came with. The souvenir shops saw us coming.
Today we slept in, blessedly. For whatever reason, the exhaustion has caught up with us on our final day here. I suppose that could be because everything in this town is uphill…. No, really. It is, and we aren’t even in the Highlands….
The zoo was loads of fun, even though we scaled a mountain several times just to see all the animals. Some of the animals were being rather shy, and we didn’t see any poop-flinging among the monkeys, so that was a bit disappointing. The antics of the penguins more than made up for it, though. How can anyone be sad around a penguin? Things got even better when a young boy turned toward us and shouted, “Daddy, a polar bear!” (Who was behind us.) Daddy sheepishly shrugged as he ran by, and said, “It’s his first polar bear.”
Despite crawling uphill all the way, it really was a gorgeous and perfect day to be out walking and talking with the animals. The sun made a brief appearance, but the good Scottish wind and mild temperatures stuck around. It was great to watch the zebras run around, and highly interesting to learn that such a thing as a Scottish wildcat exists. The thing isn’t any bigger than a housecat, yet it’s considered highly dangerous. Go figure!
Too tired to do any more walking, we hopped in a cab and zipped on down to the National Museum of Scotland. If you’re interested in the chronology of the tartan and kilt, then you’ve got to make sure you hit this place up before you die. Actually, it was fascinating to learn about, especially the presentation three of the museum curators gave on the Jacobites and the Highland resistance to the installation of William III and Mary II. It was also neat to see examples of Pictish culture and writing, much of which still remains a mystery to historians.
Perhaps most involving was all of the pieces explaining the differences between England and Scotland. Though the two nations are governed by the same head of state, a distinct sense of national pride exists among the Scottish. They see themselves as a people entirely separate – and superior – to the English. It won’t surprise me if the talk of independence in the Scottish Parliament turns truly serious in the not so distant future.
The best part of the day, however, was when we found a Police Public Call Box on the same street corner where two bagpipers where blasting away. For those of you who are Doctor Who fans, you know that it just doesn’t get any better than that!
We popped around the souvenir shop near the castle one last time, and had no choice but to purchase the Red Hot Chili Pipers. How could we not, when it’s three bagpipers doing covers of Queen songs and other classic rock bands? Chris toyed with the idea of getting a kilt, but just couldn’t go through with it. I can’t blame him; men just aren’t used to chilly drafts in unsuspecting areas!
Now it’s time for a little dessert and some snuggling under a nice, thick wool blanket. 3 a.m. is going to come awfully early, and I’m not looking forward to a 10-hour plane ride. It’s a bittersweet sort of evening, to be looking forward to the comforts of home, yet sad to leave this land I love so much behind.
For all posts in this series, go here.