Shortly after our tour bus crossed from England into Scotland, the driver pulled over to the side of a narrow road and the Tour Leader began filling thimble-small plastic vessels with Scotch Whiskey. He wished us to understand the difference between excellent Scotch and lousy Scotch. With a palate that can barely tell the difference between peanuts and cashews, I hadn’t a clue which Scotch was which. They tasted exactly the same.
But it seemed right to enter Scotland and enjoy everything it had to offer, which turned out to be a lot.
At first, the landscape in Scotland looked identical to the English landscape. Grass. Sheep. The occasional cow or horse. Then we came to Hadrian’s Wall. Wow! stretching for many miles, portions of the wall were victims of the locals who stole the stones to build homes for themselves.
If you read (or watch on HBO) George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones, you’ll recognize the high wall of ice that, in his books, was based on the Roman wall that still exists centuries, in bits and pieces, until now.
But so much for warriors and their and their achievements and failures.
Let’s go back to the Scotch Whiskey. And while we sip, I’ll tell you the story of a faithful dog, still immortalized in Edinburgh: Greyfriar’s Bobby.
Bobby was a Skye Terrier. In the 19th Century he became the model of a dog’s devotion to his owner. When John Gray, his owner died and was buried in the nearby Greyfriars’ graveyard, Bobby sat on the grave for the rest of his own life, which ended in 1872. Some consider this a myth, and others are unsurprised by the pooch’s dedication.
By this time in my September England/Scotland adventure, I could honestly claim that I had already been to nearly every place on the itinerary, often more than once.
What of it? I was never bored. I love to travel. The flights are a bummer, to be sure, but the destinations give me sooo much pleasure. And at my back, I hear Time’s winged chariot hurrying near, Clearly, I need to indulge myself before I’m too old to explore new places and new things.
Next on my agenda? Maybe Israel. After that? Greek Islands and Turkish coastline. I can hardly wait!