April 18, 2009

Trains and Tubes: Part 2

After the manic rush of London - the crushing morning commute, the disorienting High Street, hoards of tourists - I found a sanctuary 5 hours north where the hills slow everyone down and it's OK for men to wear skirts.

You might not think it, but Edinburgh is 26km closer to Adelaide than Caen. I could tell because it reminded me of Australia a bit, the purpose-built New Town and Adelaide's grid pattern streets had more in common than I realised. The quirky little shops around Grassmarket were a bit like Melbourne and the people were relaxed, friendly. It's not surprising that so many Aussies call this place home now.

The sun came out again and so did the walking shoes. Wandering around Edinburgh, visiting some uni friends in Glasgow, taking a bus through the Highlands to Loch Ness - three days turned into five and my camera could barely keep up with me. The problem was trying to take it all in without seeing every scene in a 4 x 6 inch frame. 

I missed my chance with Guinness World Record Holder Elaine Davidson, who officially has over 3,950 piercings including 500 in her genetalia. Requiring a donation for photos, I was more than happy to oblige but out of coins. Thinking I'd catch her on my way back up the Royal Mile I left, but once I was gone, so too was she. Note to self: ALWAYS keep extra money in my camera bag.

The one that got away (Photo Source: Wikipedia)

I even met Sir Ian McKellan in the street. He was barely recognisable, in town to play the role of a homeless man and befitting the part outstandingly. However, my miniature copy of Macbeth, purchased in Stratford-upon-Avon and so fortunately on my person at the time, is now signed by a man who one played the lead role. Not a bad effort even if it did require a little stalking and waiting in the cold.

There were of course countless other opportunites and I did get a few favourites. Hamish, below, was quite the pop star and outshone perhaps even the breath-taking Highlands themselves. Entertaining the crowds in Glasgow, these men not only looked fantastic but they made a heck of a sound too - all drums and bagpipes and yelling.

A glass and a half of character - just wish I'd bought the CD

Hamish, a 16 year old Highland Coo with matching Emo fringe/grumpy face

So many wonderful clichés and so little time to enjoy them all. But off I went, back on the train, back on the Underground, the overground, a ferry and a $100 taxi ride... back to Caen and back to school on Monday.

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