Day 2: Scottish Western Highlands

Babe, there's something tragic about you
Something so magic about you
Don't you agree?
Babe, there's something lonesome about you
Something so wholesome about you
Get closer to me

From Eden - Hozier

I have tweeted some verse of the song above before. I just love it so much because I think (narcissistically) that this songs kinda describes me well. I chose this song today because today someone asked me how the trip was. Then she proceeded with saying that it must be boring because I was alone. I can only sigh as I am sighing now. Here's what went in my head after that small conversation. I am perhaps the unlucky one to not be living surrounded by loved ones or to not have many loved ones and friends whom I can take on trip like this, but trips like this have shown me what a fallacy it is to call me unlucky. Though I don't think I have travelled to that many parts of the world, I have been very very fortunate to see and experience many wondrous things. So much more than perhaps many people have. I stand by my argument that I can be all sad and lonely not having people to do things with me or I just can go and do the things that I want to do even though I am alone in doing it. Yes, there were times when the loneliness and the fact that again over and over I couldn't get anyone or ask anyone to do these trips with me bothered me because it's like a big jeer from the universe that I don't have any friends, but I think for the most parts, it has been a nice experience simply due to the fact that I was alone. This year's trip for example, despite of the anxiety pre-trip, I think I have truly enjoyed the alone time. The time when I was not in charge of anyone, not having to answer to anyone or assist anyone, and I just have to take care of me. It's all been so nice. I really had wanted to be away from people.

You know how you shouldn't care what people think. I think the fact that I wrote a whole paragraph based on a short conversation showed that what people think do bother me. Yeah I can't deny that. Sometime I think I am even making things up in my head as I wont to do. One thing that sometime pop into my head is if people think I have no friend, like why is she always alone, why she never goes out, why does she always eat alone, why does she always do things alone? I hate the pathetic feeling that they may have of me. However when I think of it, it's not like they're doing anything to remedy the situation if they think that way. So it's like yeah I shouldn't bother about people's opinion if those people don't care about me. I don't know why I am writing all this out actually. I guess to just put it out there that yes I don't have any friend and yes I am so alone. I wonder if there's a survey carried out on the whole population of the world, what is the percentage of people who think they're so alone. I actually think it might be close between the people who feel that way and don't. We can't change the cards we're dealt with. If it's a lousy solitude, it shouldn't stop us from entertaining ourselves. Okay end of rant.

So day 2 in Edinburgh was the day that I took a day tour through Scottish Western Highlands. I only took 4 day tours in my trip this time, 2 from Edinburgh and 2 from London. This one had the best size I think. Not many people, enough to just hide myself. So first order of business in the morning was to find where the meeting place was. The topography of Edinburgh old town where my hotel and this meeting place are located is very interesting. The meeting place is like on the street behind my hotel but that street is like 2-storey higher than the street my hotel is located. Following google map, I took the staircases that would lead me to that street. I got confused at one part and almost got panic. The stupid me tend to backtrack when I think something is not correct, luckily this time I didn't. I persevered and didn't get lost and found the meeting place easy enough :) First stop was actually to Glasgow to pick up some other tourists. Glasgow seems to be more city like than Edinburgh. We passed a square which reminded me of Union Square in San Francisco. Anyway, after that we're off on our way.

First stop was this village called Luss where it's just a short walk to see Loch Lomond. It's very big and by the shore there were many ducks. I thought it was very pretty and peaceful. There weren't many people. By the way Loch is Scottish for lake and Scotland has many lakes. I have passed a few in this trip that sometime I don't even know what their names are.

Then it was a stop to St. Conan's Kirk. Kirk is Scottish for church. It was an old church, not very big, and it's still being used. The inside was quite interesting and on the outside you have quite a nice view of a lake. From the trip last year to the US, now I know that this thing shown in the picture below is called a cloister :)

Then it was a stop to Oban, which is a seaside town. It was much bigger and crowded than I expected so I actually didn't like it much. I have read that some people make a hike to McCaig's Tower and I thought I would do the same rather than explore the crowded shops and restaurants. First stop was of course lunch, I needed to eat if I was going to go up some tower. I chose to eat at a fish and chip place called Nories which I have read to be good. It was a simple place with a few tables. I was hungry but I know portion will big in this western world so I settled with a normal size haddock and indeed it was big. I finished it all, but couldn't finish the potatoes. By the way, I thought I would be eating a lot of fish and chip in this trip, but I ended up only eating 2. This one and one time in London. Though I wouldn't call Nories' fish and chip to be out of this world, it was definitely much nicer than what I had in London. So anyway, lunch done, I made my way up to the tower which I heard take 20 mins or so. Dear God, it wasn't easy. It reminded me of a walk up to Yoros Castle in Turkey. Luckily unlike Yoros Castle which was definitely so much more demanding to the body and mind, this walk up to McCaig's Tower was much shorter. It was still tough though. I was breathing heavily and felt embarrassed when a somewhat elderly man greeted me "afternoon" on his way back. The walk up high ended exactly at a time when I thought I may need to stop a while to catch my breath. I came out in this open area and for a split second I was quite confused because I couldn't see the tower anymore, but luckily I turned around and saw it's just behind me. The horror it would have been if I had kept on walking to the wrong direction :P The tower is high but not super high. Enclosed in its wall is a garden.

From the tower you get a really nice view of Oban and see what surrounds this town. It was really a rewarding view. Unfortunately I couldn't stay long because I didn't have much time.

The walk down the tower was of course much nicer and now I could stop to take some pictures, like these knitted poles below. I have read about these crafty people who would just knit objects in public just for fun, but this was my first time actually seeing it. It was pretty cool and I wonder if the people doing this had to do it guerrilla style.

After Oban, we made some other stops, like this stop to see Kilchurn Castle from afar. Kilchurn Castle is actually a ruin and though we did not go any closer, it was still nice to get out and walk around a bit.

Then it was a stop in Inveraray which is a small town located by Loch Fyne. The loch had quite a beautiful reflection on its surface. I was feeling lazy to explore the town and its shops so I just walked the path by the loch and sat at one of the bench. I remember thinking how okay I was feeling that day. It was a Monday and Monday is always a dread, so by comparison that Monday I was feeling great. I think of all the anxiety I had before that trip and thought that all those fear and doubts and perhaps people's perception of how sad that you are so alone, all those are really worth fighting your way out of because you get rewarded with moments like this. Moment where you find yourself so far from what your daily existence is and you get a nice view with a feeling of peace and calm.

With experiences like this, I guess it really is silly to consider succumbing to fear. I know I have to remind myself of all the wonderful things I had experienced when my anxiety strike and it's easier to be all positive when things are going well but really things like this are worth drilling into the head so that you can rise above your fear and not let it drown you. Anyway the last stop before we went back was the Rest and Be Thankful stop. It was quite magnificent to see this green expanse of mountains, hills, and valleys.

. So that's it for day 2 in Scotland. For some reason which I think can only be attributed to my stupidity, I didn't take many good pictures during this trip :( I need to try harder. I seem to keep telling myself that, but never actually do it. Anyways, for pictures from this day, please go here.

:) eKa @ 5:24:00 PM •

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