We're on the back end of our Scotland vacation, so I'm going to combine activities from Thursday (May 25th) and Friday (May 26th). This is mostly because, at least for me, things are dialing down a bit. No big tours, and no tight schedules. I am good with this, by the way. While I have thoroughly enjoyed what we've done so far, I'm starting to feel as if my vacation insights cup is almost full. This is less of a writing thing and more of a mental/physically tired kind of thing.
Homesick? Not really. It's probably more of a function of my incredibly short attention span. I've seen wonderful things here, and I've learned a thing or two. And not just about Scotland. Big things like this...and traveling to a different country is a big thing...create a tremendous opportunity for growth, I think if we're open to it. As I'm looking at one full day left, I'm still trying to sort out some of what I've learned. This is a wonderful thing by the way, namely, the fact that, at age 59, I readily confess to learning new things about myself and the world.
Something I will note is that the night before we flew out here, I had something of an incredibly troubling dream. I wouldn't use the word nightmare, but one of those sleeping cerebral movies that just sticks in your head like old gum on the bottom of a movie theater seat. The kind of thing where the emotion of it all makes you think there must be some deeper meaning to it all, even though there probably isn't. Flying out here that quickly evaporated. Indeed, there was no deeper meaning. It was just a dream. This is, however, one of the examples of how travel can impact us: It takes us outside of our own heads for a period of time. The sheer difference of it all reminds us that there is much more to the world than what we think (or dream) or see in front of us every "normal" day.
In the end, seeing the "bigness" of the world is both humbling and incredibly insightful.
I wish there was some way to expose younger folks of all economic conditions to overseas travel. I think the world would be a far, far better place. As it stands, this kind of travel is an example of a kind of privilege in action, which, growing on the lower socio-economic side of status, I fully appreciate as an adult. I also appreciate the fact that Ms. Rivers is far more keen to undertake these kinds of things than I naturally am. Granted that I do enjoy this kind of travel, but left to my own druthers, I'm not sure I would do it.
As for the last two days' worth of travels, well, as I noted above, it was a bit less scheduled. On Thursday, we did an hour-long tour of some of the vaults that are found under the King's Mile (in Edinburgh). It was interesting, and the guide did a good job of conjuring up some spooky mojo with her stories, in addition to talking about the real hardship of living at a time when 1) There wasn't enough housing for everyone, and 2) Actually being homeless was a criminal offense.
The vaults we visited were off of Cow Gate, which just so happens to have the backside of a cow displayed in one of the nearby buildings.
One of the vaults was used by a local religious group for many, many years. After their leader passed away, the group broke up, up but allowed the owner of the vault they used to be maintained, provided that no one could enter. By the way, the vaults in this area are owned by different folks and are used for everything from nothing to storage to a bar.
You can read more about the Edinburgh vaults HERE.
After the vaults, we had a rather uneventful dinner at what we think was a chain restaurant of sorts. Ms. Rivers tried the beet sauce. I didn't.
Today (Friday) we did some more walking (surprising!) and found the beginning of a canal, complete with canal boats.
We also found a very neglected cemetery in of all places, Coffin Lane. We would have gone down the explore, but the encampment of folks who looked like they may be been using some illegal substances was there already. Discretion was the better part of valor.
Ms. Rivers and I went for a walk further down King's Mile later in the day. A few things caught my eye:
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