Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Me vs. Scotland - Part #2

Saturday, March 12, 2005 - Stayed in bed for a while upon waking up... just thinking. Had breakfast with the family; scrambled eggs, sausage, tomatoes, toast, etc. Steve's family has four season tickets to Celtic soccer games, which Celtic soccer over here is so huge.

His aunt and uncle took us to a game.

The stadium was really cool, there was people everywhere, wearing the colors (green and white) of the home team. Steve and I got two large Coke sodas and 2 "Rollovers" (long-ass hot dogs on French bread).

Once inside the stadium it's a breathtaking spectacle, all the people (60,000+) and the open field itself. The Celtic team won 6-0 in an awesome performance. Hurried back to the car in attempt to beat traffic, by the time we got back home Steve and I both felt wiped out and took naps. Got up a couple hours later and ordered Chinese for dinner.

I tried chicken curry for the first time, it was a little spicy but tasty, and I had bean sprouts, fried rice, etc. A little later uncle William wanted to take us to one of his favorite places. It was this little pub with a bar and one lone pool table where all eyes were on you. I had a Smirrinof Ice and looked around, this place wasn't Steve's scene, he ended up playing a video gambling game. The atmosphere was all mahogany wood and really old guys sitting around talking about the economy, or whatever. I played the resident pool champ and only sunk one ball in a rather brutal beating. Steve and I walked home around 10:30PM, watched a little TV, and then I got online for a while to catch up on a couple things. I'm writing this now as Steve's on the computer, Kieran (a.k.a. Crazy Frog, Deep Dish, Meat Lover's, Pizza Face) is asleep on the floor, and I'm getting ready to hit the sack after a pretty laid back day.

Sunday, March 13, 2005 - Today was fantastic.

We got up early, had breakfast, then loaded into the car. Steve's aunt and uncle, Kathleen, Steve, and I went out to soak in a little culture.

Our first stop was the Glasgow Transport Museum and we were there when they opened the doors. This place was so cool; it features old cars, trains, bikes, ships, and other forms of transportation.

I really liked the way it was set up, there was a lot of space and so much to see. I was particularly fond of the boat miniature replicas, from Viking ships to navel vessels. Afterward we were headed to Loch Lomond, but decided to head to Stirling. We almost wrecked, some guy pulled a dumb move, and we went off the road and almost hit a sign. Everyone commented how calm I remained, which is just me.

We stopped at this pub named Buchlyvie Inn for lunch and had a good time.

I ordered the prawn cocktail, which was totally different from it's American counterpart, and breaded mushrooms. The food was tasty, and the setting/atmosphere fantastic.

We went to the William Wallace Memorial which was been the trip highlight thus far.

Out front is a monument designed with the likeliness of Wallace portrayed by Mel Gibson in Braveheart.

We went into a little shop where I got some patches and stickers, then took a very tiring uphill walk to the castle/memorial.

After finally making it to the top, Kathleen, Steve and I paid 6.00£ to enter. We had to go up this tiny spiral staircase, each floor with it's individual treasures, the highlight being Wallace's actual broadsword, which was gigantic.

Life changing moment ahead... at the very top of the towering spiral of a castle held some of the most beautiful views I've seen. I've seen L.A., New York, Miami, and so many more, but this was... wow. Standing on the main platform the strong wind nearly knocked you over, and the air... so cold but strangely amazingly comforting. I didn't want to go back down.

Stood up there for quite a while soaking it in. Steve gave me a genuine hug, I know he originally really didn't want to get up early to take in sights, but I could tell he definitely was glad he did. Got home, then left again, as Kathleen, Steve, and I got dropped off at Time Capsule. This place has an ice arena, soccer, etc. but the reason we went was the in-door waterpark. This thing shattered any and all expectations. A wave pool, a variety of slides, waterfalls, Ice Age water exhibit (freezing), hot springs, etc. We let loose and enjoyed ourselves.

Got picked up, and on the way home stopped at a small restaurant where I got my first official order of fish and chips. The taste was fine, but way too greasy overall... although I'm not opposed to trying more elsewhere. Steve left the house for a couple hours and I was on the Internet for a solid chunk of the night, drinking tea and happily reading and writing. It's 3:00AM, we're chilling in a dark room, and we've got to get up for a huge day tomorrow. In the morning, we train to Edinburgh, which I hope to be an unforgettable experience.

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