Alrighty, it has just been over a week since I began my trip. And i’ve had some great experiences already!
Glasgow was rainy as hell, on arrival. Coming from Vancouver, however, that didn’t phase me too much. My biggest task for the day was getting to my couchsurfing hosts couch, which was 2 or 3 miles from the main station in the city. I looked up the best route on my tablet, wrote basic directions down on a piece of paper, and away I went.
On my way, I was invited into a church by an older guy, for tea and toast. It was absolutely pouring, and you don’t make memories by denying these kinds of things, now do you? The people inside were very welcoming, and it was nice to be under cover. After a bit of talking, and being invited back sunday (wasn’t going to be around, though!), I went on my way. Oh yea, I was given a bible, as a “present from Glasgow.” Oh well, i’ll probably read it, just for the hell of it (see what I did there?)
My couchsurfing host had left keys for me behind his flat, hidden in a dvd case, in a box beside the back door of the complex. It was easy to find, and soon enough I was dry…ing. Being that I was jet-lagged, I had no energy to go out again that day, even if it was only 1pm. My host, Krishna, worked late, so I didn’t even see him till the next evening.
The next day I did what I usually do in a new city. Walk aimlessly, visit some museums or places I think look cool, wander some more, sit in a park for a rest, wander, and eventually head back to wherever it is i’m staying. With the addition of good music, I find it’s a great way to spend the day. If i’m in the countryside, I do the same, except it’s hiking trails and ruins, as opposed to the concrete jungle.
Meeting him was interesting. Really mellow. And, right off the bat, he gave me a tour of his whiskey stash, and invited me out with his friends for “A” pint. That ended up being a few drinks at one pub, a whiskey at one of his friends’ houses, and more beer at another, hidden away pub… the type tourists don’t find out about. At the peak of the night there were 6 doctors (some already were, some about to be), and me, hobo Steve. We drank till sun-up, basically. I couldn’t have asked for a better time. Great people.
The next day I headed for the cousins’ house, in Glenrothes. £10 for a two hour bus ride there. I decided that due to how urban the area was, I wasn’t going to bother hitching just yet (if you have seen UK roads, you would know what hitching can be a pain a lot of the time).
After meandering through little villages, and gazing at the delicious Scottish landscapes, I arrived at the edge of town. Being the smart guy I am, I forgot to write down the cousins phone numbers… I remember telling myself to, but oh well… The best and/or most memorable experiences come from suffering. So walking it was! I looked at my compass. I knew they lived on the west edge of town. So west I walked.
The first person I came across, James was his name, I asked him if he knew the road they lived on… He didn’t, but he had a gps… that he has never used before. Luckily for me, this man decided that he would walk with me to their place… The Scottish truly are nice people (understatement). Away we walked.
I found out he was a whiskey cask maker, a native of Glenrothes, and more or less your average working Joe. A simple man with a heart of gold, I would say. We spent about an hour and a bit walking up roads I would have definitely gotten lost on, and after sweating most water out of my body, we arrived. I thanked him as much as I could for how he helped me, and off he went home. “I walk everywhere anyways,” he says. I’ll more than likely never see him ever again, but he’s rolling in the karma, and I wish him the best!
The cousins literally had dinner (Tea as they call it) ready, and it was almost as if two years hadn’t gone by at all… Maybe two days. It felt like I was just returning home. We shared our stories from the past two years, and as the days went by I saw other family members once again, and a few new ones. It helped ease me into being halfway across the globe from my own immediate family.
My first adventure at the cousins was a trip to Shell Bay/Kincraig Point, some 45 some-odd minutes from Glenrothes. I was to climb along the nearby cliffs, along chains. To keep this post from being a novel, it was a LOT of fun. No one else was on this part of the Fife Coastal Path, whether that’s because it was basically invisible for anyone NOT looking for it, or because they just wanted to walk a path as opposed to climbing up wet, vertical rock walls… Either way, I loved the solitude.
Once completed, I took a 16 or so kilometre walk along the coast to Leven, where I was to meet my cousin for a ride back to the house. Quiet (save for the wind), tranquil, and complete with random bunkers, pillboxes, and coastal gun positions from WW2, I had an absolute blast. I even found an excellent walking stick, and a little plastic duck; the duck being my travel partner from here on out.
And now I sit here, pondering my next move. I believe I will head north, to the Highlands. Then west to the Western Isles, and then south to Ireland…. But I like to go with the flow… Whatever happens, happens.
I’m mellow, happy, worry-free, and ready for whatever comes next.
PS: These posts will get shorter and more concise (at least, i’ll try) as I go. I know most people wont read all of this!