Day 6 - August 4, 2011, Thursday
Today was probably the most frustrating day of this vacation so far.
All the other days have been ok. The fact that we can't complete a whole itinerary has been driving me crazy. But we have been able to get things done and enjoy it.
Today, however, the day that I described to my husband as the one day nothing could go wrong or else everything would go wrong, simply went all wrong.
To start with we left half an hour late and it was raining. I programmed the GPS to take us to Alamo, instead of to the Airport, and that was my first mistake. The GPS took us downtown Edimburgh on a rainy weekday and there was no sign of Alamo. So we forgot about the fact that we wanted to get a new car and simply found parking.
Then we walked to the place where we were supposed to get the passes to get into the castle. basically they made us wait about an hour just to tell us that Edinburgh Castle and Urquhart Caslte were no longer part of it, but they'd be giving us an extra 3 days to our pass. Ok, great! So now we not only have to pay to get into the Edinburgh Castle, but we also have to get into a gigantic line.
No, we gave up on that one, since that would mean we'd see nothing else for the rest of the day.
We went and saw St. Giles Church, where J. Knox used to preach and is buried. We saw his burial place, in parking lot number 23. We had a delicious lunch (smoked salmon meals) at this place called Deacon's House and headed out of Edinburgh to visit 2 castles and and admire 3 other ones from the outside. It took us about 1 hour to be able to leave Edinburgh in the rainy traffic jam.
By the time we hit the road there would be time for only one castle visit. That castle should have been Glamis. But Castle Fraser had ties to Dean's family, so I would not be the one to say "Fraser is too far and we might not make it, let's do Glamis," as much as Glamis was important to me. I had to let him choose. And he chose to skip Glamis and go straight to Fraser.
Bad idea. First of all we had to stop at ASDA to get an aux cable so Dean would not be falling asleep behind the wheel. Then 45 minutes behind a Mack truck. Just what we needed to be there 5 minutes too late.
At that point, I knew exactly what had happened - the whole day of castle visiting was done, and we had visited exactly ZERO castles. Every choice we made on this day was the wrong one. Everything that could have gone wrong went wrong, on a day that nothing could have gone wrong.
I was done. Done with delays, done with plans followed only halfway through, done with my own incompetence to just stick to the perfect plan i had spent I year working on. A year of hard work and dream ended here - on nothing.
That's what was going through my mind when I fell apart and started crying. Frustration. The kind of frustration that comes from knowing you had planned everything so perfectly and failed miserably in its execution. And the knowledge that this was your one shot at it. This day, the chance to visit those castles will never come again. That was it. And I had to drag my husband along with me, in my perfectly flawed vacation.
that's what was going through my head when I stood there and cried like a baby.
NO. I did not want to. I did not want to cry in front of my husband and make him feel like somehow it was his fault. But when all those things go through your mind as in an instant flood, along with all the little failures to follow the plan from all the previous days, the tears just come . And it's silly to think you'll be able to hold them back.
We went to 2 more castles. And we took pictures and you'll see me smiling in them. Just on the outside. And just because I refuse to ruin my pictures. Inside I was destroyed. But I would not let anyone who ever sees our pictures see that.
We arrived at our B&B in Nairn. All the buildings here and in most of the Scotland we have seen are made of stone. Some sort of yellowish stone. Huge pieces of stone.
We had a nice dinner ( I had salmon risotto, but Dean went for some different thing in the menu) and I had a WDK blue, which I was introduced to at that place in Liverpool. It's a yummy drink.
It was nice arriving at such a warm place as this one we're staying. It makes me hope that tomorrow things start to get better.
Day 7 - August 5, 2011, Friday
We left home a week ago. It's hard to imagine. It's also hard to imagine how yesterday was such a crappy day and today pretty much everything went so well. We drove along the Loch Ness and visited the Urquhart Castle. We were not going to get in, but ended up doing so. It's not a full working castle. Just the ruins of what used to be one.
We tried to spot Nessie. Then we drove to the place where Monarch of the Glen was filmed. We walked 3 miles there and back just so Dean could have a glimpse of the castle, since we could not get in (people actually live there, so we didn't even get really close, in order not to bother them.).
Well, 6 miles totals about 2.5 hours, so my plan of still taking a chance at Glamis went out the window.
We did drive through the highlands, and no, no sheep herds crossed the roads in front of us, but the beauty of the place was breath-taking. I wanted to simply bow down and worship the Lord for such an amazing creation.
We stopped at Glasgow and got a new car! We got a Fiesta diesel.
We stopped for dinner at the same place we'd slept the night we drove up from Liverpool. It was quite a coincidence. Dean Mentioned the kid that served him yesterday morning was surprised to see us back. NO wonder. It is a rest spot! How often do you see the people driving by?
Then we drove into England and the place we're sleeping tonight (a Day's Inn) has internet. Again, it's just a bit too late for me to be able to enjoy it.
Tomorrow we drive down to Shakespeare's hometown.