Project#2, Snapshot#4: Scotland is Built-In Whims

Scottish countryside, from my train window seat

This also delayed blog post describes one of my many I’ll-do-this-on-a-whim moments. In fact, Scotland was built of a

whole whim constructed of many other whims in my mind. The first whim was that I would momentarily say Cheerio to J.K. Rowling, see a castle or two, and move on to good old England and London Town.

After the delays I described last post, I found myself exhausted on a train finally in Scotland, on my way to Glasgow, from which I anticipated connecting to Edinburgh (pronounced EdinberUH, as I was corrected when first setting foot on Scottish soil). On the train, I had one of those moments fellow solo travelers will be familiar with: utter, plain, despondent loneliness. When all of a sudden, someone further along the train laughs a big laugh, and stands to go to the bathroom. I look, and my jaw almost literally hits the floor. My only thought was God, he’s gorgeous!!! On an intermediary connection, I surreptitiously made sure I remained in the same car as this beautiful ox and his companion. As I watched them (not so subtly, because I’m sure I was noticed), I could tell they weren’t speaking English, but I was a bit dazzled and couldn’t tell much else.

When we arrived in Glasgow, I tried to let them get ahead of me in the station because I’d heard them say in English that they were connecting to Edinburgh, too. I must have looked positively helpless, though, because the beautiful German, as he turned out to be, approached me immediately, asking if I was going to Edinburgh too and would I like to find the train with them? I felt shocked and alive with excitement at my glorious good fortune.

My new temporary companions were German young men, named Toby (the beautiful laugher from before) and Stephen. They were positively amicable and lovely people, and interesting, too. Toby was only a year or two older than me, Stephen two more than him. Stephen studied photography, I think in Berlin. He was clearly the artist of the two, sporting the fancy camera and scruffy unkemptness. Toby was working as a tech repairmen, having finished school already. He had a passion for architecture, though, that just made me swoon, and an energy like an overexcited puppy.

Me! In front of the Glasgow Cathedral

There were two trains for Edinburgh left that night, as it was already fairly late. Toby wanted to try to find the Glasgow cathedral, since we had an hour or so, and so we struck out with a local who pointed us in vaguely the right direction and advised us to walk fast.

It was much further than we expected, and Stephen and I worried that we would miss our train, though Toby was haphazardly optimistic. We did miss our train, by the way, but we got some excellent photos. Running back with minutes to departure, we just missed it. There was one more, in another 40 minutes, and Stephen and I refused Toby’s pleas to keep exploring. We were not missing this train. So Stephen and I chatted and got to know each other and I explained some English grammar at his request while Toby had some whiskey at a pub with a local across the street.

Toby and Stephen, as we walked quickly in Glasgow.

We all made the train on time, sat down at a table, and I couldn’t believe that three hours before I had been wallowing in lonely self-pity, because here were two high quality traveling companions.

As none of us had hostels booked, they invited me to join them in their sightseeing plans: drink the case of Heineken they were lugging around with them while running around the sleeping city taking pictures. I took approximately half a second’s thought. This was not exactly the most advisable course of action in the young-woman-traveling-alone handbook, but I had already decided that these were two people I would trust for life. And if I ever run into them again, somewhere in this world or the next, it’ll be like no time passed, I can tell you that for sure.

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