Our next stop was Scotland. Early in the morning we left from Derry to Glasgow. We left our suitcases in the hostel, which was one really nice thing we found out along the way: since check-in times are usually later than most people arrive, they have locked rooms for suitcases and backpacks until check-in time.
We wandered around the city and came across the art museum. So we perused the art a while.
We didn't really eat all day, but we did stop into a pub at one point to grab some dinner. I ate some really weird tasting fish. It was kind of like freezer-burn in a way. So really I just went back to the hostel and ate a can of spaghetti-o's out of the can. Now THIS hostel was the number one worst hostel we stayed in for the two weeks. I didn't feel clean the entire time. There were water stains and other unknown stains everywhere. I didn't dare touch anything if unnecessary. The only positive to the place was getting a TV (and the TV being in English). It'd been ages since I'd just had the TV on in the background for some white noise, and it was greatly appreciated. Quiet hostels get creepy after a while.
The next day we went on a day-long tour of the highlands. We started with Loch Lomond. Our bus driver was pretty entertaining. But the drive? The drive was gorgeous.
The picture above was really funny because Alec and I were enjoying the lake when a couple came up and the guy asked if we wanted our photo taken. While we were standing next to a trash can and some bramble. We politely declined, but he insisted. Then while he was trying to figure out how to use my camera, his wife was yelling instructions (and I do mean literally shouting) and telling him not to cut off our feet, as if it was the most important part of the picture. Feet made it in! Lake, however, did not.
The next lake was a staple for a Scotland trip: the Loch Ness!
I think the Loch Ness was another one of those places where you just have an image in your mind of what it's supposed to look like, or be like, and it's not bad that it doesn't fit, but it certainly doesn't fit. I guess when you're told about Ness you think about the monster, of course, which seems rather gloomy. But it was such a normal, beautiful lake and such a sunshiny day. The cruise was enjoyable, as any cruise is, and the ruins on the lakeside were my favorite (surprise surprise).
Our last "stop" on the tour was 1000000% my favorite. The highlands. Talk about natural beauty. I could just picture myself in a little house there cozied up with a hot drink, 3 blankets, a sweater, and the rain against the window. But then I'd get hungry and not want to drive into the nearest town for groceries, so that wouldn't last. On our way back to Glasgow, we stopped in a small town for lunch and a tiny bit of exploring on our own. It was about then that I started to really feel not quite right, but not quite sick.
After our all-day tour, we grabbed more of a snack than an actual dinner, and just kind of hung around after that until we had to go. So around 10 or 11 at night, Alec and I said good-bye to Xin Yun, who wanted to go see Edinburgh, and started our hike to the night bus. The city was actually really pretty at night. It was funny to me that Forever 21 was inescapable, no matter what country I was in. I also fell in love with "Fat Face", which had an amazing name and actually really nice clothing too. The uphill battle was real, and finding our bus station was pretty difficult (especially with no one around to ask), but we finally made it with plenty of time to spare.
We didn't really know what to expect from a "sleeper bus". We'd taken several day busses, but never one between countries. It was really, really strange. But effective, I suppose. Everyone got their own teeny tiny little bed, bunk style, but in hammocks instead of mattresses. Claustrophobia was not my friend that night, trust me. We each got a tiny little water bottle and a tiny little snack. In the morning, they even gave us a tiny little breakfast muffin. I still wasn't feeling well though, so it wasn't too appealing. Next, it was on to London!