Die Deutsche Version findet ihr HIER (zusammen mit Teil 8).
PART 7, Elgin-Lossiemouth-Elgin-Aberdeen-Braemar-Inverey-Braemar
July 18, 1973 (Wednesday)
The next day the weather is bad again, but we don’t let ourselves be dissuaded from our plan to hike to the coast. [5.6 miles one way] For the first time in a long while, we see brown cows that are mooing at us. We moo back. The highland cows are black and have no horns. Further down the coast we even get to see a group of these long-haired ‚King of the Glen‘ cattle. The bull has impressive horns.
We heroically decide not to hitchhike and finally arrive at Lossiemouth, where the sun is shining. There you go! [Hold it, Lossiemouth is there, where the river Lossie flows into the North Sea, so why is it not called “Inverlossie” or “Aberlossie”? Ha, Wikipedia tells us that in Scottish Gaelic it is called: Inver Lossie (Inbhir Losaidh)] I find the town very attractive. A nice little harbour, lots of old houses and, of course, a tearoom.
The most beautiful beach is available, and we get intoxicated by the sea. We sit down on the wall of a park and eat bread rolls. We talk to an elderly lady and her dog before we go on a further expedition and shopping tour (groceries of course). Unfortunately, we cannot get tea in the tearoom because all seats are reserved for lunch. So we switch to a light bite, and then move towards Elgin. „But this time we hitchhike.“ The diary doesn’t mention who of us said that … but we do.
Somebody stops right away, a farmer from Forres (Elgin is about halfway from Lossiemouth to Forres, good for us). A tire bursts on the way. „Sorry ladies,“ he says. As if it’s his fault. After changing tires, I take my seat again in the trunk in the company of yoghurt boxes. We tell the farmer that we were not picked up on the way there, but that we actually didn’t want to hitchhike. „You’re still waiting for a handsome young man,“ he says with a wink. Embarrassed silence. Should we say “Now we’ve found him”? Susi and I are really a little clumsy at times. But then he says: “I’m fishing for a compliment here. Do you know what that is? “ Tense laughter.
After he unloads us, we paint Elgin red. We visit the old cathedral, which some crazy robber chief burned down once upon a time.
Next to it is the city park, with a tennis court, children’s playground, a huge grass area, the ’green’, and a pond for rowing. Susi is very surprised how bad they all play tennis and they mess up the whole court. Alas, I can’t comment on that, I have absolutely no clue about tennis. Susi has been playing for a long time. Puppet theater is played for the little ones. But we see just as many adults as children in front of the tent.
Then it is time to eat. We go to a small restaurant after having ogled the China Palace and the First Class Hotel. I eat haggis, a Scottish national dish made from sheep’s innards and barley grains, while Susi tries her hand at half of the chicken again. The animal is very unruly and almost jumps off her plate. A young man at the next table asks us if would mind him smoking. We say no, but I wonder what he would have done if we had said ’yes’. Afterwards we go to a self-service restaurant and eat ice cream with fruit. Then we prowl around a bakery five times, until we finally hold two pieces of cake in our hands (two each).
Behind the youth hostel we later discover a terrace garden that goes down to the river and where the Warden keeps rabbits. From there we see a fair that we visit in the evening. It consists mostly of slot machines, but there are also three to four carousels and a fishing game. A football game is taking place one lawn further, which we also honour with our presence. Before we go back, we take a look up to the youth hostel, which is enthroned above the river Lossie. I am amazed at how beautifully most of the youth hostels are situated in Scotland. I’m not complaining! It suits me perfectly!
July 19, 1973 (Thursday)
Farewell to Elgin in the rain. Endless waiting at the exit of the village. At least a baker’s car comes by. In the end, someone stops, a business traveler from Lossiemouth. When we tell him how much we like his city, he is immediately friendly to us. He is originally from England but prefers to live in Lossiemouth. I can understand that! We have a very serious conversation about guest workers. He doesn’t like Pakistani. “They sleep with 10 people in one room. When someone comes home from work, they lie down in a bed that someone else has just got out of to go to work. This is their life! “ – He seems to think that Pakistani people like this way of life. However, I don’t want to upset him with my opinion as he wants to take us as far as Aberdeen. I look over to Susi; we are in agreement.
On the road he bought us a coffee, and when I asked him if he didn’t mind loading two wet hitchhikers with two wet rucksacks into his beautiful car, he said: „It’s not my car!“ – Apparently in Scotland people rarely drive their own cars …
In Aberdeen the first way leads to the post office and then on to the inevitable ’Light Bite’, where I can finally relieve my bladder, which has nearly been bursting for four hours. Then the endless, now often tried and tested march to the outskirts of a city begins, because there is no money for the bus (food is more important). We don’t stand for long when a yellow sports car rushes up and stops. „Hi“, red-haired, red-bearded. „Hi“, short-haired, lincolnbecapped [wearing a Lincoln cap] They want to go to Braemar, we actually to Ballater. Definitely a really good lift! After a short while we decide to go to Braemar too. On the one hand we are fed up with the ’simple’ hostels with their cold water, and on the other hand, the two seem to be very good company. „Are you Scottish?“ – „No, we are Germans!“ – „Oh, you look Scottish!“ – “We are definitely Germans! Are you Scots! “ (the car has a Glasgow license plate). „No, I’m a German from Dortmund,“ says Mr. Redbeard (in German). – „Don’t believe him, he’s a lyer!“ it comes from Mr. Cap. I’m getting a little unsure because Mr. Redbeard speaks excellent German. Of course, Susi has immediately caught at the first ’Hi’ that the two are Americans „And the accent, really, Birgit!“ – In my ignorance, I have almost created a ’scandalo’ again … [To my excuse it might be said, that I had never met Americans by then, and we didn’t watch American television at home either.] So we find out that Mr. Redbeard’s name is Quinn and he is from Boston, while Mr. Cap’s name is Wesley, aka “Scotty” and he is from Chicago. Wesley learned German at the Goethe Institute in Dortmund. That means, of course, that we can’t talk about things that they shouldn’t understand. Unfortunately, they both understand French as well.
They stop at a gas station. „Do you want to drink something?“ They ask us. „What have they got?“ – „Orange, lemon, black currant.“ – „I would like orange!“ – „Cherry for me!“ – „They don’t have that.“ – Then lemon, no, rather black currant. “ – „And you?“ – „I am fine.“ The latter was probably me, because I still remembered my bladder problems from Aberdeen. In the end, there is orange for three. While Wes is walking around outside, Quinn leans back with relish and sips his juice. ’Wamm’, Wes slams the door where Quinn’s arm is halfway out and the juice pours over all his stuff. „Come on now“! calls Wes. Ah, the tires still need air. „You sit in the car and I do all the work!“ he complains. – „What do we have you for?“ asks Quinn. But in the end we get to Braemar.
In the evening Wes and Quinn come up with the good idea to go to the pub and order ’a pint of bitter’ for all of us. Tastes good. Since I’m not a beer drinker, I don’t know what to compare it with. With Guinness maybe? It’s very dark beer. You can play darts (an arrow throwing game) in any decent, self-respecting pub. Susi and the boys have fun with it. I sit it out because of my shortsightedness. But we’re hungry again and order two pies and sausage rolls. I have a very serious discussion with Wes about languages, our respective homes, prejudices against peoples and finally about the meaning of discussions. Then I can’t take it anymore; I have to get out in the air. (Too much cigarette smoke, my eyes are watering.) Since we are a bit tipsy, we jump down the wall instead of taking the path.
We stare down at the dee. Susi and Rob Roy, as Quinn calls himself, start to throw stones. Rob hops around like the cripple from the ’Dance of the Vampires’ making „Hng, hng“ noises, and throwing stones around. I almost pee my pants with laughter and somehow have to think of the ’creepy splasher’ from the Pichelsteiners. [A German comic about prehistorical humans, but there are also mammoths and dinosaurs … 😉 ] Four little boys look over to us fearfully. „He’s a little daft,“ Scottie calls over to them, which they acknowledge with a tense smile and then they quickly run away. Scottie has a penchant for the Scottish accent, which he is constantly imitating, and is amazed that I understand everything. [It is not Glaswegian … ] And another compliment: „You are not a real German!“ Meaning that I do not correspond to the general prejudice one has of Germans. Above all, I can’t take beer. We cross the street to stare at the river from the other side, while Wesley talks to a woman we had greeted, unsuspecting that we would never get rid of her again.
We’re going back to the youth hostel because it’s already late. We play cards and the conversation is in three languages. Then the female Warden comes, grabs Scottie by the shoulders and says: „You cheated enough for today!“ No more, that’s it, good night, to bed. Up the stairs, look sadly at Scottie, give him ’five’ and off to the bunk.
July 20, 1973 (Friday)
Sad Friday morning. Goodbye Scottie, goodbye Rob Roy. Farewell photo under the tourist information sign. We don’t exchange addresses, don’t expect to see each other ever again. Scottie rubs his eyes jokingly. I laugh even though I don’t feel like it.
Susi and I make our way to Inverey [4.8 miles] along the beautiful Deeside in bright sunshine. The hills are covered with heather. A purple sea punctuated by light green spots. The river meanders through the valley, and the higher we get, the more we can see at a glance. In the direction where Inverey must be, we can only see forest. Before we reach it, we are surprised by three rain showers.
We pass a magnificent white bridge that belongs to a luxury hotel that is probably hidden somewhere back in the forest.
1 phone booth
2 mailboxes (why two?)
1 tiny youth hostel with 14 beds
1 camping place
1 bed and breakfast
Lots of fences, trees, sheep and forest
All of this spread over 3 kilometers.
But we finally meet a young, well-built Scot in a kilt (so far it was only older, fat ones). We have a meal in the forest. It’s relatively dry there. But we feel drawn back to Braemar and are off to the Italian cafeteria. Then back to the youth hostel, write postcards, go to bed, close your eyes, good night. (Somebody has enormous gas. It sounds like machine gun fire!)
July 21, 1973 (Saturday)
We get up extra early and go to the road extra early because six other girls want to hitchhike to Perth or Edinburgh. The success: during the first 45 minutes no car at all passes by. Then one every half hour, but full of coffee aunts (weekend !!!). The result: standing from 9 am to 11:45 am; Lunch in the Italian cafeteria; standing from 12.30 pm to 1.45 pm; inquiring about a bus. Huh, there’s only one in the direction of Aberdeen. „We can still try to hitchhike until the bus arrives,“ says Susi. And lo and behold, two Scots stop: „We’re going to Perrithth!“ – Oh, man, what’s that? Susi gets it faster again: „Yes, that’s where we want to go!“ – „Are you sure?“ I ask her. We get in the car: Beautiful Glenshee! Unfortunately indescribable, go there yourself, please! Along one of the very picturesque Old Military Roads. [There are several old military roads; this one leads from Braemar to Grantown-on-Spey.]
Perth is a really lovely little city, very clean, very friendly. We want to stay here for two days because in our immense wisdom we are trying to avoid hitchhiking again on a Sunday. In our immense stupidity, however, we forgot to exchange more money. Now we are out of British money, what to do? „We can tell the warden that we will go and change money Monday morning and then pay.“ Susi must have said that, it sounds so sensible. The plan is approved. First of all we have to wait because the hostel is not open yet. In front of the door there is a horde of Dutch people who seem to think themselves very witty. We decide to explore Perth a little bit more. For some inexplicable reason we expect a bank to be open somewhere, until we remember it’s Saturday. The insight comes with a drumbeat; we can’t do anything. Man, we are daft.
But the Warden is a kind soul. I haven’t even explained the entire problem to him, when he comes up with the proposal that we want to make him. In addition, he puts 5 pounds into our hands! So everything is fine. But we still have to budget, because we wasted an unnecessarily large amount of money at the feeding orgy in Elgin. I realize that I would only have 2 DM left on the ferry home and I am already seeing myself writhing in hunger cramps. (I can’t know what’s going to happen on the ferry. But everything in good time!) We then go for a walk near the youth hostel and I select what I want to photograph the next day. I can’t get enough of the front gardens. They are very individually designed. There are roses in almost everyone, just different in color and quantity. One garden overflows with roses in the most wonderful colors, many of which I have never seen; the other shows a spartan lawn with a gravel border. Still others look like the grave sites in Ohlsdorf [a large cemetary in Hamburg). The Greek statues and pots on marble plinths, framed by wild hedge, are particularly tasteful. The residents seem to let off steam in their free time in the gardens, which obviously reflect something of the nature of their owners. There is also a single totally asphalted ’front garden’.
July 22, 1973 (Sunday)
On Sunday we go on a discovery tour. Perth is really very pretty. The door and window frames in Scotland are often painted in bright colors, and apparently also with self-mixed colors, which gives an extremely individual picture. So now I see a fenced lawn in Perth, and the fence is painted olive green, you can hardly see it against the grass. I’ve never seen this color anywhere in Scotland, where we’ve been, of course.
We try to find some places of interest that are in the guidebook, e.g. the ’Fair maiden’ house, but then we are quite disappointed. The houses that are not in the polyglot are much nicer; the Royal Bank of Scotland or the police station for example. [These are modern buildings now, so nowadays the Fair Maid’s house certainly is the prettiest of them.] We move to the northern park, where I take a beautiful photo of the Tay and the opposite bank.
An unemployed man with his dog comes to us and talks to us. The dog’s name is Nehru, called Nehru-Zero, and immediately becomes trusting. “You have a good character. A dog notices that immediately! “ – The man is originally from Poland and tells us all kinds of stories where and against whom he has already fought. I can’t understand everything, because after all he speaks Scottish English with a Polish accent, but one thing I do understand: he never fought against Germans. He doesn’t like Scotland, “no work”. He doesn’t want to go back to Poland because of the communists. He also reports that there are many mulatto children in Perth whose fathers have left in a hurry, and that the bridge over the Tay dates from the Middle Ages by the Romans … [Information: The Romans did not come to Scotland at all, but have entrenched themselves behind the Hadrian’s Wall in northern England. The said bridge was finalized in 1771 only. No need to comment on the Middle Ages …] Later comes his friend Jim, a Scot from Fife, also unemployed. He smells terrible, but is so touchingly happy that he can talk to us.
We visit the park called „North Inch“. It mainly consists of a huge lawn and a huge golf course. There is also a tennis hall and children’s playground on the edge. The inevitable monument at the entrance to the park looks a bit lost in front of these large areas. Then we move towards „South Inch“, also a park. The Pole told us a joke about it: which town is the smallest in Scotland? Perth, it fits between two inches. There’s more going on here. A band is playing and the youngsters frolic in rowing boats on the pond.
We sit on a bench and watch two boys playing some kind of adventure. In the end they include us in their game. We seem to be enemy Indians or something similar. Finally, we stroll along the front gardens again. Cheerio Perth, I hope to see you again!