I've been planning this post for a long time, trying to get the words right inside my mind. I have no idea if I'll succeed in this, but I'll try to get it as perfect as I possibly can.
Firstly, I'll say this. The day after the football, we spent shopping and chilling. Willem was at work, so I did the rest of my laundry and we shopped. Uneventful and peaceful.
Up to this point, we'd seen some amazing places. Amsterdam, Dover, Venice and the beauty of London were awesome. Each of these places made a very special impact on my life, on my impression of what beauty is. I mean, South Africa itself is beautiful. Standing there on Table Mountain with the wind whipping at your hair is really wonderful. We have some amazing scenery here in my homeland and after what I had seen abroad (especially Venice), I didn't think anything could impress me anymore.
And then there was Scotland, as the title says.
But let's start at the beginning, shall we? The next morning, we left early to catch a plane to Inverness, Scotland. My grampa was a Scot, have I ever mentioned that (I tend to prattle on about it)? And he hails from Inverness. So going to Scotland has always been kind of a big deal for me, one of my life dreams, while going to Inverness has always been almost like a holy exodus in my mind. Almost like a personal step into my family tree; finding out where I come from and learning what made me me.
After being let down by Paris, I was scared. I mean, what if Scotland was just another place, just slightly different from Paris in that it constantly rains, but the people are just as unfriendly?
I was wrong. Very, very wrong.
I'll now attempt to describe to you what I felt, driving through Scotland. I'll tell you straight off that it won't be sufficient. Rolling, green grasslands, dotted with white sheep. Heather and coloured moss covered mountains, lined with many, small streams and waterfalls. Wide, flowing Lochs, ever moving with white crested waves. Thick, dark forests with patches of sunlight falling through the foliage. Clear, incredibly blue skies or massive black and white rain clouds, pouring a never ending supply of rain. And the best part is, you'll see all I just described on a single road, at once. Want rainbows? You'll see many on a day in Scotland.
Never in my wildest dreams could I imagine what I would witness and feel in Scotland. I never thought it could be so wonderful, so beautiful and so mind blowing. Willem said once that it was a sensory explosion and I tell you, that is what Scotland is.
It's the most beautiful place on earth, a piece of heaven which God allowed to be part of the planet He'd created, which the angels cry over all the time. Hence the rain. :)
It is magnificent.
So, in Inverness we found a tartan shop and bought two scarves with the Gordon tartan (well, the modern and modern dress), one for my granny and one for me. These first photos are of Inverness City and a charming little church and graveyard we found there.
Please note, I didn't edit any of these. The grass really is that green. :)
Inverness Castle was our next stop after lunch, but it didn't have an old enough feel for us, so we took some pictures outside and went on with our journey.
We went on to Urquhart Castle, which is next to the famous Loch Ness, and a favourite lookout spot to try and find Nessie, the monster. The castle is in ruins, because one of the owners packed the cellars full of explosives and blew the place up when he thought he was going to lose a battle. It's quite sad, but the ruins were really awesome anyway. Notice the heavy and dark clouds on some of the pics and the bright sunshine on us in some of the others? These are all from the same day. Sometimes, the overcast and heavily raining scenery would be to our left, while the clear skies and rainbows could be found to our right. No lies. It was this way during our entire stay in Scotland.
Urquhart Castle also happened to belong to my grandfather's clan, the Gordons. Many castles in Scotland belonged to the Gordons at some point. Epic, eh?
Tomorrow, shots from our visit to Eilean Donan Castle and other incredible scenery.
Stay beautiful and be kind to animals,