Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Journey to England Part VIII

Sterling Castle!!

When you think of castles, you probably think of dark and dusty dungeons, catacombs, battlements, towers, elaborate stone walkways etc. Well at one point in history, all that did of course exist. But nowadays, those types of things can be "dangerous". So a lot of things are closed off. Also, all the cool stuff is now encased in glass, refurbished, etc. So basically, you think of seeing things like this:


Which you can still find in some castles, but in bigger tourist attraction castles, what you mostly get is this:

What is this bullshit?

Seeing wax sculptures of dudes getting their skulls bayoneted by other screaming dudes is wicked awesome and all, but I felt it detracted from the mystique of the castle. Everything authentically old and filled with history had been reinforced, mounted, and added to. I expect to see that kind of thing at a museum, but when I go to a castle, I want to feel like I've stepped back through time. I want to actually catch the black plague. Carefully renovated and arranged exhibits, and wax soldiers going "RARR!" made the whole experience somewhat underwhelming. It was still pretty cool, just not what I expected. 

So afterwards, we checked out the courtyard and graveyard. Look at this fucking awesome picture:

A dove on each grave. What's interesting is these two graves belong to husband and wife. These birds are apparently always showing up here, and legend has it that the two lovers have been reincarnated as these birds, and they are drawn to these two graves to relive past memories, destined to always be together. Amazing huh?

Haha! I just made ALL of that up. It could be true I guess, but probably not. I don't know if the people in those two graves were even related. Pretty cool tombstones though huh?

Nothing makes me think of pizza quite like death.

So, since like most castles, this one was at the top of a giant hill, we had a perfect vantage point to scope for a place to camp that night. We saw a place a couple of miles away that looked sufficiently far from any roads or houses. But first, we planned to walk back down through town to check out what it had to offer. It turns out this town offered curry fries and beer. Delicious. After exploring a bit, we realized we had wandered in the opposite direction from where we had planned to camp, so we said "ah fuck it, let's go this way and see what happens". Off we went to the outskirts of town! We saw some decent sized fields, but the thing was, there was no place to hide. Every decent place to pitch a tent was in full view of a house. Since it's not exactly legal to just pitch a tent on somebody else's lawn we realized we'd have to either ask permission, possibly get denied and be fucked, or keep looking for a place out of view, maybe not find one, and be fucked. It reminds me of that old saying "He that travels far is fucked." 

WELL HOT DAMN. At the end of the road we were on, there was a small hill by a river that completely shielded us from the road and the closest house. Tent pitched! And I don't mean in my pants. Although having a place to sleep that night was pretty sexy. 

Scotland: the only country with rivers.

So geese are violent. Here's a story about Mike and I finding that out the hard way. When we were exploring this little riverbed, we spotted a couple geese swimming nearby. We thought something probably along the lines of "oh look, geese!" and then forgot about them because who hasn't seen geese before? Fuck em. 

Well as we wandered down the shore the geese got a bit more vocal. At this point we thought something probably along the lines of "oh listen, geese!" and then forgot about them again because who hasn't heard geese honk before? Then splishy splash, they got all panicked and started swimming towards us quickly. I actually remember seeing their feet coming above the water they were paddling so furiously. We were drunk, so it's only at this point we realized "ohh, they must have eggs or baby geese nearby." So we backed off a little bit. They however, didn't.  

I get it, if your young are being threatened, you go into attack mode. But we're way fucking bigger than them, and yet somehow they had adapted to show no fear in the face of adversity. They didn't just flap around and honk. Oh no, one of those motherfuckers put its head down and charged. With its body all contorted like that, I actually found myself a little bit afraid. Was this strictly geese territory? Were they going to call their friends and massacre us? Were we going to have to find a new place to camp? No, Mike just had to almost kick one in the face, and they eventually backed off. One of my biggest regrets of this trip is not getting a picture of that. 

We finished drinking beer by a river, and went to sleep.

The next morning we walked back into town to the train station. It was only about 7 pounds for a train to Edinburgh which made us happy, because we were prepared to spend pretty much anything to not have to hitchhike. This however was cheap, so woohoo. We got the traditional Scottish breakfast in the station's little diner. 

"Hey Dave what should we put in this?" "I DUNNO, EGGS AND ALL THE BROWN SHIT YOU CAN FIND."

It was similar to the English breakfast with a notable difference. Black pudding. The main ingredients of which aren't nearly as horrifying as haggis, but still pretty gross. It's basically blood and fat mixed with filler like oats and spices, boiled in a sausage casing and cooled. Then you eat it. You put that shit in your mouth. Yup, kinda gross, but again, we had to try it. All things considered it wasn't too bad. It tasted pretty metallic, which was weird, but I got past that by thinking "nope I'm just tasting the fork, not the blood." 

So after our little vampire experiment we boarded the train to Edinburgh. Later we would get drunk and climb mountains. But more on that later...


  1. Lol when i started reading that bit about the doves i just thought i had awful memory. So glad you just made that up haha. I have video somewhere of our drunken mountain climbing. Just wish I had our american/scottish accents on camera haha

  2. An excellent segment of the epic Journey to England! Laughed out loud often and was totally duped by the dove story. Faker.