Day 4

Aberdeen, Mossat, Inverness

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or, so few people, so many castles

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img0008.jpg (136693 bytes)img0010.jpg (87892 bytes)When I woke up in the forest where I camped it was clear, or at least you could see the sun smiling from between the clouds. I immediately used this unexpected scene for a spontaneous shower under a tree. Later I visited a few castles -- including some genuine ruins from "Braveheart" times. While heading more towards the North, I noticed at numerous occasions the difference between Scots and mainland Europeans: Scots are without restrictions friendly to foreigners -- several times people were even waving at me as they saw my car with the steering wheel at the other side. You can address anyone at random and you will be politely answered, given you can understand what they say; in contrast, I was told to have a strong American accent -- strange, when in California, nobody said so. When I once pointed out to the gas station keeper that all sponges are missing from the buckets I was told to wash the windshield with the paper towels provided -- they can not be as quickly stolen by tourists. I also noticed that I was about the only mainland European with his lights partially covered as not to blind the oncoming traffic, while all UK visitors do the same when on the mainland. Maybe we just take visiting this foreign place for granted and couldn't care less, while the British are visitors and behave as such? Just a thought.

img0009.jpg (110115 bytes)However, good news from London: when the subway drivers have agreed with the employers on a 35hr week and 30,000 annual salary, the scheduled strikes have been called off. Now I think that I may be in the wrong business after all... Also, an American artist whose name I already forgot was apparently insured by Lloyd's against abduction by aliens. ID4 pure? They should take Bill Gates, if you ask me.

Gummibear lovers, listen here: while it may be unclear who invented the gummibears -- the Germans or the English -- for me it is clear who makes the best ones: the English Wine Gums, when made well, beat any gummibear, even a Haribo Goldbear (hear, hear!). While I never found any genuine good Wine Gums outside of the UK, during this my second visit to the island my stomach is suffering very badly. My brain already repeatedly got emails from the stomach pleading to stop the steady flow, but so far they have been disregarded :-)

img0011.jpg (111843 bytes)Now camping north of Inverness, I hope for tomorrow that the weather will stay as it is, and that the traffic will lighten up. So far people's predictions of "empty roads" and such have not been met; maybe I was expecting something like the US-50 through Nevada, and got an average Czech road instead. The radio selection still includes the mysterious 90.0FM station: since I entered Scotland, it always appears on the station scan. However, it is always quiet -- in stereo, nonetheless. Would sure give an interesting new CD...

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