Sunday, April 5, 2015

Scotland: From Haddington to Stirling to Glasgow (Alternate Post Title: Braveheart day)

I checked out of my hotel this morning (Easter) and walked across the street to a cemetery/church. At 11am, the bells of the church started ringing and it seemed like the whole of the little town came to church. All the sudden, the roads were full of parked cars and people were passing me (the girl taking pictures of old headstones), wishing me a Happy Easter. 

It was a gorgeous, sunny day and warm. I didn't need a jacket at any point.

Last night, I decided that I wasn't going to drive to Glasgow in the morning, but rather I'd go to a city called Sterling. So, off I went with the National Wallace Monument in mind. On the way, I saw a street sign pointing to the Battle of Bannockburn. It is at this time that you should go watch Braveheart if you haven't seen it, because that's basically what I spent my day learning about. Also, it's a great movie. 

Then it was off to Stirling Castle, which I did not enter but took pictures of the outside. And then finally to the Wallace Monument. There were two awesome things about this monument. Firstly, there were two actors who dressed up and told the story of the Battle of Stirling Bridge. It was a simple story, told in a simple yet entertaining way. No over-the-top bullcrap like you'd get in the states. I feel like I really have a grip on the story of William Wallace, Andrew de Moray and Robert the Bruce, amongst others. The second awesome part was climbing the 246 steps to the top of the monument. 

I will now talk about the stairs - if you bore easily, skip this paragraph. The stairs are in a narrow spiral staircase. You couldn't fit two people shoulder to shoulder and you wouldn't want to because the stair itself is basically shaped like a triangle with the point in the middle. But this narrow passage was the only way up or down, so you would HAVE TO fit two people in there, one going up and one going down. And this is Easter. Every Scotsman and his wife brought their kids to the monument today (and the Battle of Bannockburn and Sterling Castle). Every 50 steps or so was a gallery. You could hop out of the stairwell to catch your breath and learn something new. For instance, William Wallace was studying to be a priest (strange, as he was always getting in trouble for his quick and violent temper) when the English burned his house down with his wife inside it. He fought the English residing throughout the country, in the hopes of having a Free (independent) Scotland. He became the "Guardian of Scotland". I'll refrain from more history lessons, but I had a great time today.

I enjoyed Scotland WAY more than I thought I would, and I really did think I'd enjoy it quite a bit. Two thumbs up to Scotland!

I've filled the car with fuel, re-packed my bags and am all settled in the Ramada (Glasgow Airport). I fly to Paris (through London) tomorrow morning at 6:55am. Looking forward to more adventures.

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