We discovered that our bus passes would allow us to visit the Isle of Skye, since there’s a bridge that connects it to the mainland of Scotland. The trip up there was a breathtaking ride through the Scottish highlands.
Our destination was the harbour town of Portree. Here you can see the bay.
That dark mound on the right of the sketch is where they host the annual highland games.
We camped a mile outside town in the hills with the sheep. Sheep are omnipresent here. When we get home and don’t hear sheep bleating pitifully at all hours of the night, it will feel like something is wrong and we’ll stay awake fretting in the haunting silence.
To pass the time on trains, buses, and in the campgrounds we’ve been reading a lot a lot. So far I’ve read Joyce’s “Portrait of the Artist…” (while in Ireland, of course), Ian Fleming’s “Thunderball” (corresponding to the second best Bond movie, behind Goldfinger), Jo Walton’s “Among Others,” the first half of Wuthering Heights until it got too cheerful, Edmund Crispin’s hilarious crime caper “The Moving Toyshop,” one sentence of “Finnegans Wake,” more than one sentence of “Ulysses” (I was on a Joyce kick for a while), and am currently in the middle of Umberto Eco’s “The Name of the Rose,” Neal Stephenson’s “Reamde,” and, just for some fun light reading, Longfellow’s translation of Dante’s “Inferno.” Karen’s read or is reading: “The Seamstress,” “The Stone of Terror,” all of “Wuthering Heights,” and “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.” If these selections seem random, it’s because they were the best we could find at campground book trades and charity shops. We also play a lot of Golf (the card game), which was our favorite card game at Base Camp for one whole day until Molly taught us a new one called Garbage (the twins prefer to call it Recycle).
We spent a couple days walking and hiking around Portree. Have I made a point of mentioning how much we just walk around the places we visit? That’s the best way to get to know a place, according to Werner Herzog, and according to us. We don’t really feel at home in a town until we can get around without using a map and/or until we know the locations of the free toilets and/or free WiFi.
Perched on the rocks on the coast was some kind of black bird darting its head here and there to spot fish. It had a long orange beak that looked like a carrot glued to its face and we laughed at it, which was probably cruel because it was unaware.
After we had successfully navigated Portree without a map and had visited the free toilets, we took a bus down to Eilean Donan Castle, which we have documented in both the photographic medium and the pen and ink.
Next post is a big one, Harry Potter fans! Can you guess where we’re going?