046.November 16

Stirling, UK

I took a shower quite early, it was in the room, with only curtains keeping it separate from the other lodgers. The I changed in the toilet, brushed my teeth in the dark, and was off. I walked for a while, then went to the Rock Cafe, named for the big volcanic rock that the castle and town were built upon. I had scrambled eggs on toast with tomato and mushrooms. Tea, of course, also.

Then I went to the castle for a tour. I watched the video in the tourist information center, about the history of the area. I got my 7 pound ticket and wandered for hours. there was so much information and things to look at, sounds to hear. I loved the place, though it did start to rain. I stuck around for the 12:45 live performance by a member of the Black Watch, a Scottish highland clan group of soldiers that had to join the British military to keep their weapons and wear there kilts. Interesting stuff was revealed about drafting soldiers. If you held a British coin, you were considered enlisted. Recruiters would put the coin in someones pint. When they fished out the foreign object, they were drafted. I learned how to gather and tie a traditional kilt. I learned how to use highland weapons.

I stopped back at The Settle Inn near the castle for one pint. They had only hard cider, I had finished off their Ossian last night. Then I went into City Center for some Indian vittles at a Tandoori House, completed by a Kingfisher. I had lamb byrani. It came with a quantity of curry sauce, and I ordered a garlic naan as big as my chest. I left a pound tip for the server. I haven't given any tips yet here. But this was the first sit down dinner that wasn't a pub.

I bought a Gunn Clan scarf, and then headed to the hostel to make my phone calls to Kate and my internet checks. I arranged everything happily, but then took my belongings from the hostel to a Bed and Breakfast for 25 pounds. It came with a shower in the room a TV, a sink, a larger springy bed, and breakfast. I missed all the rest of the sites in town and wandered more.

I went up to the churchyards and cemeteries, and trapped with the castle shire. There was a bagpiper at the castle gate. Everyone was well dressed and in their highland best. I listened, video'd a bit, then climbed back down to the cemetery and the church of the holy rude. I saw the Egyptian-like pyramid, though it was very modern, and a bible was sealed inside in a time capsule. I took picture of an almshouse for guild members who could not afford new housing. It was quite dark now, I headed back to the hotel by way of the train station again, one last look at other options for the morning. I bought fish and chips and went back to eat them on my bed, watching telly until after midnight. Some good stuff, some utter crap, but it was great fun.

Sunday morning, I woke to alarm at 6:45, slept until 7:37, dressed and showered, flyswatter tie, and a brown suit, planning to go to mass at 10:00, at the Holy Rude, but that wasn't to happen.

I had a full English breakfast of sausage, ham, eggs and toast. Then I brought my luggage to the Station, but all the lockers were taken at the station, luckily because that is when I noticed the announcement that there had been a landslide along the tracks, and the time to get to Glasgow would be later. I decided to hop the 09:38 train, and arrived in Glasgow at 10:44. I would have missed my train at 12:44 if I had done that some thing at 11:38, so I was happy. I could have spent loner in Stirling, but there is always tomorrow to make dreams come true. I arrived in Glasgow, thought of eating, found the St. E's mall and bought black shoes, lunch, and black thread.

Subject: Stirling Castle in the Rain

Date: Sat, 16 Nov 2002 15:27:32 +0000

I'm currently at Stirling Youth Hostel, where I spent the final hour of my night and well into this morning. I arrived in Stirling from Glasgow

last night, a short train ride away. After I settled in, I walked around the lit castle walls, then wandered along the city wall until I came to the Settle Inn, the oldest pub here, built in 15XX, and drank three pints of Occiam Ale while I wrote.

Then, at the next pub, I sang a large number of Karaoke songs until it got late and my voice got horse, so I packed it up and headed back to the hostel. This morning, I found breakfast somewhere, eggs on toast, and made my way to the castle here, The Royal Castle of Scotland, and toured that for about two hours, perhaps more. There was a highland soldier who gave a demonstration of how to put on a kilt, I won't go into details. The castle grounds were wonderful, I think I'll stop back with my camera before evening and do some photos. I've also got tickets to the richest mans house in 16XX, so I'll go check that out before 4:30. Now I'm heading down to a B&B near the train station. I think I need a night on my own of sleep. Tomorrow I'm heading off to London to go out with Kate and Malcolm, and I want to look my best.

I'll be staying at Kate's during this week. I have a play to go to on Wednesday, and hopefully many more things to come. Have a great time where you are.