I’ve been lazy.
When I was staying on an isolated farm in Iceland, I found myself not writing as often because I lacked any kind of inspiration. I was bored, to put it bluntly, as hard as that may be to believe considering I was in a foreign country. Now, I once again find myself lacking inspiration to write, but for an entirely different reason. I’m perhaps more aware of the difference in culture and society here than I was in Iceland, and yet, I feel completely at home. I suppose I could say that I don’t feel surprised by anything, though still constantly delighted. When I saw the beautiful architecture in Edinburgh, there was a feeling sort of like, “Yes, of course, why would there not be stunning brick buildings and adorable pubs outside my window?” Day to day life in Brora (a rather small town on the East coast) is comfortable and relaxed and completely enjoyable, and while I still giggle at colloquial phrases, I feel as though I am not traveling, but simply living a peaceful, everyday life. It’s quite nice, actually.
When I began talking with my host about departure dates and planning out sightseeing tours of the country, I rebelled a bit inside. After a week straight of driving and hiking Iceland and then exploring Edinburgh, I just wanted to curl up in front of the fire with a cuppa and a good book. Alas, one has a responsibility to see the country one has decided to visit. The greatest perk of being a Workaway volunteer is getting these times to relax in between exploring the world (yes, I consider working part time for someone to be relaxing compared to being a tourist).
A change in the near future has driven me forward in planning – I have been hired by Carnival Cruise Lines as a floor technician in their entertainment department and been given a six-month contract aboard one of their ships (details as to which ship and date of departure are still being worked out). Needless to say, I’m thrilled, and not just because my finances are running dry. I’ve wanted to work on cruise lines for years now – the long hours, constant traveling, and six-months-on-two-months-off schedule appeal to my current way of life. With the promise of an actual salary in my future, organizing two weeks of travel through Scotland was just a little easier.
Enough about the future though; let’s talk about now. Scotland rocks. Pretty much everything about it rocks. Returning to an English-speaking country was the first gasping relief for me, especially after two months of only hearing my own language in a few sentences a day. Entering a world of affordable and fabulously delicious food was the next stand-out reason for doing a little happy dance (don’t worry, I waited until no one was looking). My first three days in Edinburgh involved a lot of pubs and cafés, a vast number of beers and ciders, and the best carrot soup I’ve ever eaten. Third in my list of “Why Scotland Rocks” is the architecture – another area in which Iceland is majorly lacking. I adore cities and buildings, both old and new, so I have about 2,000 pictures mainly featuring brick on my phone now.
Edinburgh in particular is an amazing place. The city is perfectly blended: old crumbling brick buildings right next to (or under) steel and glass modern architecture; streets packed with both tourists and locals going about their business with varying levels of enthusiasm; nature in the form of many, many gardens packed right amongst the city hub. Then of course, there’s the castle on a hill overlooking the whole thing for a little extra “wow” factor. Everything you could possibly want is right there. I despised myself for being a tourist every time I stopped to take a picture because I would so much rather be a local.
I’ve been asked a couple of times what I’m doing in Brora, it being a rather sleepy little town without an abundance of tourist offerings, but I’m just as thrilled to be here. My host and I are getting on great, she’s a fabulous cook, her shop is a wonderland for a former costume designer (I get to model the vintage gowns!), and when I feel like taking a walk, there’s a cute village, a beautiful beach, and herds of skittish sheep to see.
So while there is plenty to tell about the wonders of Edinburgh, both in sights and cuisine, you must excuse me if my posts are rather few for the next couple of weeks. I’m simply too busy relaxing to be bothered by… well, by anything! Have a few pictures instead.