Schottland 1973, Teil 8 … Scotland 1973, part 8

Die Deutsche Version findet ihr HIER.

PART 8 Perth-Edinburgh-London-Hamburg

July 23, 1973 (Monday)

When we come out of the youth hostel on Monday, a car stops next to us: “Hello, ladies, do you want to come with me? I have to go all the way to the northern tip and don’t want to drive alone.“ Apparently one of the many business travelers. We heard it several times also from lorry drivers that they like to have company on the long hauls. We want to go to Edinburgh, but we recall that one of the Dutch boys wanted to go north. We tell the man and describe the boy’s appearance and possible location. We stand on the road to Edinburgh ourselves. And of course we paid the warden, that’s for sure! For the first time we are refusing a lift. A young man who wants to take us a few miles. We want to go to Edinburgh, and sometimes it’s stupid when you’re in the middle of nowhere. We are doing right, because only a short while later a car stops that takes us all the way to Edinburgh. The driver has lost a hand and uses a strap-on scoop that he slips over a ball on the steering wheel. So he can drive very safely. I find that very practical.

Forth Bridge
Foto: Wikipedia

To get over the new bridge over the Firth, you have to pay 30 pence. [Actually, it is called Forth bridge, it is the bridge over the Firth of Forth.] Our driver gets upset: “That’s ridiculous. In the past you could cross over for free with the ferry. Now they have built the new bridge with our tax money, and now we have to pay if we want to use it. Ridiculous!“ – Somehow he’s right. But we’re already in Edinburgh by then. He drops us off in the middle of the city center so that we can get to know the city on the march to the youth hostel. We have to walk for about 15 minutes. There is only one boy sitting in front of the hostel. „Because most people don’t know that the hostels in the big cities already open at 2 p.m.“ he says. That is, of course, good for us. We didn’t know that either, but now we’re here. But first we go to a snack bar … [I’ve heard different pronunciations for Edinburgh: Edinborrow, Ed’nbarra with a rolled „R“ and in Edinburgh itself Edinbro.]

I think we stayed here, it fits with the distance to the Princes Street Gardens.
Foto: Tripadviser

Later we meet a guy from Hamburg called Rainer who asks us if he could come with us. I have a bad feeling, Susi probably too, but somehow we feel sorry for him. When we are ready to go, he drags another German along, Wilfried by name. Wilfried gets terribly on my nerves. We go shopping and eating and meet in Princes Street Gardens, below the castle, to sit on the grass. In the evening Susi and Rainer go to the cinema (the ten commandments) and I already see myself burdened with Wilfried in the common room. I say that I want to wash my hair, „Good night then,“ and escape. (Susi later tells me that Rainer had tried to cop off with her, but was totally brushed off instead.) Later on, with ’Androcles and the lion’, I sit down in the common room anyway, with a boy at a table. He is an American and an aspiring writer. He talks a lot about himself and thinks that he can get to know a city in one day. He was in Germany for three months and speaks German pretty well. He’s actually very nice, although I can’t take him too seriously. He smiles and says, “You should have a party here. There are so many young people here who are bored!“ I can’t really see that the people around us are bored, maybe he is. I better remove myself.

Half an hour before midnight, various French girls storm into our room. They continue making noise until long after midnight until I finally remark in French that I would like to sleep. Calm descends on the dormitory.

July 24, 1973 (Tuesday)

The next morning we wait for Rainer. But when he still doesn’t show up at 10 a.m., we leave. Maybe he is mad about the brush off from the night before. Fortunately, Wilfried has left. The sun is shining and we are content. In front of us is a young woman with a child in a pushchair. We hear that she speaks German with the child. All of a sudden she stops and we almost run into her. „Sorry!“ she says. “It is o.k.,” we answer in German. She looks up in surprise. Then she comes after us. „You are from Germany? Do you live here? “ We tell her about us. She, Heide, has lived in Scotland with her husband and children for three years. This year in September they will go back to Germany. When we tell her how little money we have left, she immediately invites us to dinner. A feeling of elation overcomes us. Another nice person in our acquaintance.

We go to the castle, where the grandstands are already being built for the Highland Games. (By the way, one of the most important locations for the Highland Games is Braemar. It is there that they are officially opened by the Queen.)

From the castle you have a great view over Edinburgh. There’s a loan from the Acropolis over on Calton Hill. Or? It actually looks like a sun temple.

View from Calton Hill over to the Castle.
Foto: Wikimedia

The tourist crowds are of course annoying. Some pose on cannons, some standing beside guards who wear such a beautiful uniform: kilt, black jackets, shoes with white gaiters, tartan hats and stockings, and the inevitable sporran. What a beautiful picture must that give: a happily grinning, fat tourist next to a young guard, who looks away in embarassment.

Edinburgh Castle, seen from the Princes Street Gardens.
Foto: Wikipedia

Susi and I slide sideways into a dark alley and take a look at the Grassmarket, where people used to bargain for horses and the like. In order to wet the dry throats of the traders, the most wonderful pubs have been built around the square, unfortunately all of them too expensive for us.

Grassmarket
Foto: geograph.org.uk

A guy is renovating a house. I wouldn’t even have stepped blindfolded up the wooden ladder he uses: not a single rung is unpatched. Our way leads us through a sinister area until we come back to a main street and a bookstore. An exemplary bookstore, a wonder of the world in Great Britain, let’s go inside! The books are not only sorted alphabetically, but also according to subject. In other bookstores, if they exist at all, it is a coincidence that someone finds the books they are looking for. [This has greatly improved during the years after our visit.] But I’ve already bought two books in London and three in Elgin. Now the money is gone.
Then we end up in Princes Street Gardens and listen to the entertainment that is put on there every day. After the Highland dancers, three girls perform what is declared as Scottish folklore: an American song, an Irish song, a Scottish song, an American song. In between, an older man plays the organ. He has an impressive repertoire spanning all types of music genres and eras. Young and old, foreigners and locals meet here.

Princes Street Gardens
Foto: Wikipedia

We also meet Rainer, who is now trying to cop off with me. No, no, no, no, no! When Susi says that she is bored, he says: „If you don’t like it here, why don’t you leave!“ – Susi and I look at each other and have to laugh. What a cheaky jerk! When he hears about our invitation from Heide, he naturally wants to come with us. [Why on earth did we tell him?] He is grating our ears the whole day, even in the evening in the youth hostel, until Susi finally withdraws herself: „I still have to wash my hair!“ – Now I am alone with the plague, but I manage to get rid of him. He is so infinitely taken with himself, it is unbearable. [Funnily enough, both Susi and I meet him again later. Susi in France, not so long after the trip to Scotland. I on a hitchhiking tour with my best friend from Berlin back to Hamburg several years later. He was just as pushy and blabbing as in Scotland. He didn’t recognize me and I didn’t say anything. I didn’t need that. The Berlin tour is also a story in itself… It’s actually amazing that we both meet him again by coincidence and in so different places. The man gets around. But maybe one meets other people again as well, one just doesn’t notice them because they don’t behave in such a dominant way.] The evening at Heide’s is very nice, and we get permission to leave our backpacks with them the next day and an invitation to eat haggis because I raved about it so much. [I never seem to have had contact with Heide and Mike afterwards. I can’t even remember sending a „thank you“ card for all the good deeds. They wanted to go back to Germany in September and we didn’t have the address, but anyway. Somehow atypical for me, I hope.]

July 25, 1973 (Wednesday)

After depositing the backpacks, we are drawn to Thistle Street, where, according to our hosts, a junk auction takes place every Wednesday. We sit down on a staircase until 11.00 a.m. when Heide approaches. She would like to go to the market with us. A mahogany sideboard that no one wants goes for 10 pence, while some idiot gives £ 2.40 for two stupid pots. In any case, you can furnish an apartment there cheaply if you are lucky.

Thistle Street
Foto: Google Streetview

Then Heide invites us to coffee and cake: “Today everything is extremely free of charge. I was just at the bank! “ – Shortly afterwards we take the pilgrimage to the Royal Botanic Gardens. I wanted so much to see them. A wonderful area: well-kept, bright tropical houses, veritable flower hedges, carpet-like lawns, sunshine and few tourists.

Inside one of the greenhouses, Foto: vizts.com
And from the outside, Foto: qmile.com

And, best of all: there is a tearoom! I notice some bizarre shaped trees, apparently conifers, that I have never seen before. Hungry for education as we are, we visit the Modern Art Gallery and then rush into the tearoom and steal pieces of sugar. A huge range of gourmet salads laugh at us next to a shelf full of cakes. Oh, this looks tasty.

There are some sculptures in front of the building. I like this one: The Risen Christ, by an artist whose name is like a Beatles manager’s. [Jacob Epstein] I’m taking a brilliant photo of the black thing. It is  standing in the shadow, so one can only guess that the risen One is there.

The Risen Christ by Jacob Epstein
Foto: National Galleries of Scotland

We roll around for an hour in sunshine and green grass, before we make our way back to Princess Street Gardens.

Foto: blogspot.com

Far in the distance we see the castle. Man, did we walk far!

The blue dots show, where we walked. I am not sure though that we walked in such a straight line 😉 .

The way leads us through quiet little streets to the destination of our wishes: For the third time the tourist program. Sitting on the lawn, we meet a totally crazy Italian: bowlegged, sun glasses, with a chimpanzee face, Reno is his name. He tells us wild stories about how stupid some Italians behave. He himself completely changed during his stay in Germany. He says the Scottish girls don’t really love their friends, they just say, „He’s okay.“ And on the bus, they start kissing total strangers and go to bed with them without having exchanged a single word with them. “They are very hot, the Scottish girls. Twelve year olds ones go with sailors! ”I’m just thinking: oh, man!“. He talks incessantly and then asks: „Do you actually like talking to me?“ – We had not gotten a word in sideways yet! Fortunately, he soon disappears and so do we.

Princes Street Gardens
Foto: Gardenvisit

A groan comes out of my throat, because as a result of the hike through the city, eight thick, water-filled blisters can be seen on my feet, which I prick at Heide and Mike’s. Susi, in her selflessness, lends me her grayed tennis socks so that the shoes don’t pinch so much. I can still hardly walk, and in the evening we are supposed to march to the main train station, because the bus was again not affordable. Heide and Mike have pity and decide to visit a friend who is then supposed to drive them home and us to the train station. That’s what he does. His name is Garry, and he drives an ancient Mini [Morris Minor]. We actually fit in with our cargo.

We don’t have to wait long for the train. It fills up with tourists and other animals (us for example). We storm a compartment in which four other people are already sitting. Susi almost kills a young man with her backpack, which triggers a loud laughing fit in me. The four look at me ’bewildered’. Everyone wants to sleep, except for the young man to the right of Susi, who is still reading. I come to an agreement with my counterpart when it comes to stretching my legs, very sensible man. The train starts. How I would have loved to jump out; tears came up, shit. Calm settles, everybody is half asleep already. Then the ’reader’ begins to loudly prepare his bed or his seat. ’Rattatattatat’, the blind is down; ‚Bang‘, the door is closed. Then a busy digging in various bags. After half an eternity, he is done. He loudly proclaims “Good night”. I wish him a pleasant suffocation. Again it is quiet. I’m almost asleep when ’bump, bump, bump, thump’ ”Tickets please!” – Another suicide candidate.

July 26, 1973 (Thursday)

We arrive in London early in the morning. Squander the last pennies, strap on the backpack and then off to Liverpool Street Station, on foot of course, every step a tortured scream of eight blisters. Susi isn’t exactly in a bright Sunday mood either. Not only did we sleep miserably, but we don’t feel like going back home at all.

London Liverpool Street Station
Foto: accentbritain.com

Liverpool Street Station: Panic, from where is our train to Harwich leaving? Who can tell us? Nobody! After a diligent search, we find the right platform. Real boulders roll off our shoulders. Backpack down, onto the train, Harwich, out of the train, backpack up, into the customs building, out of the customs building, up on the ship, backpack down, into the cafeteria. It was bad weather. The ship rocked a little. In my stupidity, I eat apple and chocolate, mixed with coffee and tea.

The ship casts off. It rocks a little more, oh how funny! But then, but then on the English Channel, my goodness! You can only pour the coffee mug half full if you want to arrive dry at your table. Susi feels bad. I’m trying to get her a pill. The man at the bar asks: „Are you seasick?“ – „No not yet.“ – What is not can still be, I think to myself. Oh yes, an hour later the time has come for the big puke. Shortly afterwards again. I decide to stay in the toilet room, as it is not worth the while to go back to the cafeteria all the time. It is easier to bear lying down, so I lie down on the floor in the toilet room. There are already two other girls lying there. Every half hour I get up and empty the bile from my stomach, because nothing else has been in it for a long time. I expect my stomach to come up at any moment. From 9 p.m. I have peace, fall asleep, unlike many others. So I’m still lucky. Susi brings me my sleeping bag. She feels better now. Somebody gave her a pill after all. Some are also given out by the crew. However, they are suspected of being placebos.

Something like that …
Foto: lifechannel.ch

July 27, 1973 (Friday)

So the next morning I still have some of my precious last two Deutsche Mark, and I’m not exactly hungry either. So the fears I had in Perth were unfounded: not hunger cramps, but vomiting cramps. I never would have believed that seasickness was so awful.

Susi tells me that around midnight the storm was once more extremely terrible. I was already in a seasickness coma by then. She slipped on the floor with her sleeping bag and landed on a guy at the other end of the cafeteria. He just grabbed her by the feet and pushed her back.

We’re going on deck. Gray, cold, rainy morning. We all stand at the railing and pray that we will soon sail into the mouth of the river Elbe. The breakfast café is not very busy.

During the whole crossing, meaning the moments when there was no vomiting, Susi and I are whining: „We will swim back!“

End of the first Scotland saga.

I think I was a bit grumpy and uppity these last two days, everything was getting on my nerves. Maybe because our holidays were about to end, and we really did not want them to, so I lashed out. And then, Edinbro is a beautiful city, but a VERY touristy place.

This was quite an adventure at that time for two 18 years old girls. And, we can’t say that we had any really bad experience with anybody, how lucky we had been! I wish I had kept in contact with Heide and Mike though. But, as my uncle once said to me: You don’t have to pay me back, just help somebody else in need instead, when you get the chance.

Schottland 1973, Teil 7

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.

In this case a queen of the glen, photo: Pinterest

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.

Photo: booking.com

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.

Photo: Wikipedia

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.

Invercauld bridge over the river Dee near Braemar (my own photo)

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.

River Dee (my own photo)

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.

Breamar Youth Hostel, photo: visitscotland

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.

Inverey:
10 houses
1 phone booth
2 mailboxes (why two?)
1 tiny youth hostel with 14 beds
1 camping place
1 bridge
1 bed and breakfast
Lots of fences, trees, sheep and forest
All of this spread over 3 kilometers.

Inverey, photo: Wikipedia

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.]

A photo of Glen Shee only a few days ago: bbc.co.uk
The old military road from Braemar to Grantown-on-Spey, here following Glen Shee.
Photo: loveexploring.com

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.

Fair Maid’s house, Perth
Photo: familypedia.wikia.com

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.

Tay bridge, Perth
Photo: Wikipedia

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.

Below the red dot is the South Inch, and above, the longer green, along the river, is the North Inch.

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!

Photo: Pixabay

Schottland 1973, Teil 6 … Scotland 1973, part 6

Die Deutsche Version findet ihr HIER (zusammen mit Teil 5).

Part 6, Fort William-Alltsaigh (Loch Ness)-Inverness-Elgin

July 15, 1973 (Sunday !!!)

We try to get away from Fort William in glorious sunshine. After a long, patient wait, and after me trying again to stop a police car, two guys from Glasgow take us to Spean Bridge. (I am short-sighted, but vain. That is why I have already tried to stop an ambulance, a garbage truck and other vehicles over the past few days, and Susi has begged me to please put on my glasses.) Their babbling is almost incomprehensible; Glaswegian is really terrible and only distantly related to English.

Spean Bridge seems like a hitchhiker’s paradise. In any case, the four already existing can hardly part with this place. Susi and I shoulder our luggage and move 50 meters further to a parking lot full of cars. But of course we forgot that it is Sunday. Nobody has room for us because everyone has their cars full of worthless junk. [Ahem]

Soldier memorial at Spean Bridge with Ben Nevis in the background.
Photo: visitfortwilliam.co.uk

So we wait for an hour, two hours, three hours (one hitchhiker couple gives up and takes the next bus), four hours. One of the rest of the hitchhikers comes over to us. He is Scottish from Glasgow and has school holidays. We stand with him for the fifth hour. I have a lively conversation with him, but only understand a fraction of what he is saying. He is very nice and kind. After every second word he says ’you know’. He tells us endless stories about some American, but unfortunately I don’t understand what it’s about. Maybe that it is about an American is already misunderstood. We only understand one thing: last night he slept outside, somewhere near a church, and it rained terribly. „I have to talk a terrible slang if you don’t understand me!“ he says sadly. His luggage consists of a fishing rod and a pouch that looks as good as empty after he takes a newspaper from it. „I’m trying to get to Skye to fish, you know!“ We wish him the best of luck. Of course he gets away before us, alone and with the mini-luggage he is carrying.

We have to put up with some gleeful looks and silly remarks from motorists who stop at Spean Bridge to eat, facing a soldier memorial. The very active make a pilgrimage the 50 meters from the parking lot to the memorial and let themselves be photographed there. One should also have a good view of Ben Nevis from there, but we can’t find out which of the many mountains it is. None of the people we ask, seem to  know it.

We can see many, many tourist buses. Let us take a closer loot at two of them. In one of them the explanations are given in English and German. That catches our attention. And there they come, the tourists with their empty stare that they attach to two poor, desperate hitchhikers and only allow themselves to be distracted by the presence of the monument.

Then another bus, full of Scots: An elderly man explains to us that today is a bad day for hitchhiking, because it is Sunday, but that someone will pick us up and „good luck“. A young man with speech impairments stands next to me. He points to every newly arriving car, certain that it will stop and pick us up, bitterly disappointed that it isn’t happening.

In the end, an English couple takes us to Invergarry. On the road we see our angler from Glasgow, who is sticking his thumb out again.

Invergarry Hotel, looks cosy, does it not? I’m not getting paid!!!
Photo: invergarryhotel.co.uk
The Invergloy viaduct on the old road between Fort Augustus and Invergarry. Does it not invite for a walk along Loch Ness?
Photo: Classic Traction (??)

In Invergarry we meet a real horde of hitchhikers, a French guy; 3 girls who have been here for 7 hours already; a couple and another boy. We flee the scene once again. We meet another couple on the country road. The girl’s name is Linda and she comes from Glasgow. Linda predicts a bus that will actually come. I can observe, why the Scottish matches are so powerfully built: you have to scratch them on the asphalt, not on the box! The weather is more beautiful than ever. But in spite of all that, we take the bus. Now it is enough with kicking our heals. For the first time we enjoy Scotland from the bus. We pass Fort Augustus, which looks very nice, and end up in the youth hostel in Invermoriston, which consists of a church, a shop, a hotel, a gas station that also functions as a post office and then the youth hostel called Alltsaigh. The latter is very nicely located, right on Loch Ness with a pebble beach. The water washes ashore close to the house. Unfortunately it is a ’simple’ class hostel, which means that there isn’t any hot water for showering.

Loch Ness with Castle Urquhart
Photo: kateandtoms.com
The Youth Hostel Alltsaigh does not exist anymore. In Google Streetview I think I could depict the house that was the hostel, but nothing shows on map view.

But even worse: 75% of the hikers are Germans, and what kind of them! One huge group, five boys, 3 girls and a group leader couple. (That’s a really large group for a small youth hostel.) The group mum requisitions all the cookers with her potato pancakes, which get cold afterwards because nobody comes to eat them. She snatches cutlery from an Englishman with the words “everything private, everything private”.

Then there is a married couple with a child who is really naughty and impertinent and who irritates the other people. Next to us are two German boys, who do nothing but complain about anything and everything. Gosh, I’m shirty. [Who is complaining???] I withdraw to the Loch. There are another three Germans sitting there, a forever smooching couple and the girl’s friend. I am taking to the bushes. You can walk along the gravel strip along the Loch to the bridge. Later Susi and I lay down on the gravel in the sun and dream. In the evening the people from Bonn who we have already met in London arrive, and two more girls who have been to the Orkneys.

July 16, 1973 (Monday)

On Monday Susi and I hike to Invermoriston to go shopping again. On the way we meet an old man whom we saw the day before. He seems to be hiking through Scotland, only with a small bag as luggage. We first buy apple jelly and rolls, then take a look at the Royal Church of Scotland and then go to the hotel for tea. We order two sandwich packages (= 4 triangles) each. „You must be very hungry,“ comments the waitress. After this extensive meal, we decide to move a little. The first stop is on a bridge. And I don’t have my camera with me, what a bummer! A little further there is a cottage settlement for tourists. Let’s get away! Susi would like to visit the old Invermoriston cemetery. At the petrol station we ask for a path through the forest, because it is a very beautiful forest: two meters of steep rock above the road, spruce forest above. The gas station attendant speaks German, but there is no path. It’s a shame, because without a path, even a tiny one, I don’t know, it’s too easy to get lost in Scotland. [You don’t say …]

The wee shoppe,
Photo: britainexpress.com


From the cottage settlement I see houses on the mountain. What a life: a lot of forest, a lot of mountains, a house, but no paths! Give me such a life!

On the way back we walk around the bushes on the right, then up the mountain to the left. We are sitting two meters above the street, and we get a little dizzy. I have the opportunity to observe that the Scottish flies are just as slow as the Swedish ones; that must be due to the humidity.

The German invasion awaits us again in the hostel. Susi and I are both a little melancholic. We decide to take the bus to Inverness the next day so that we can arrive early enough to drop off our luggage. At eleven o’clock two German girls come into our room, one from Berlin and one from Dortmund. The one from Berlin is really getting on my nerves, especially when she starts to explain to us how one hitchhikes. Good night! – Then comes the bug panic: I have two small black dots on my upper body that turn out to be solid, hard-armored insects (ticks). I probably caught them on the lumberjack meadow (right in the bushes) because they sit on my stomach (I’m not wearing an undershirt) and on my leg, exactly in the spot where my pants are torn.

July 17, 1973 (Tuesday)

The road to Inverness is beautiful. One meets many strange looking Scottish names, like for example Drumnadrochit. Inverness welcomes us with a gray haze and drizzle. My first impression is: old and tight and romantic; and that it is. Only the bridges over the river are new. Flower pots hang on every lamp post and at the gas stations. On the main road, traffic police fight with cars and swarms of pedestrians. The Castle looks relatively new. From there I shoot a nice picture onto some old houses. [Strangely enough, the sun must have shone at that moment, although I can’t remember it.] At the youth hostel we put our luggage in a storage room and try to discover Inverness. Unfortunately it is covered with tourists, we cannot find it. We go to the museum, where I see books with Gaelic ghost stories for the first time. Later I try to get the books in paperback, but outside the museum not even the author (Sorche Nic Leodhas) is known.

Inverness, where the river Ness flows into the Moray Firth
Photo: adventuresaroundscotland.com
Inverness youth hostel
Photo: northcoast500.com

When we get back to the youth hostel at two o’clock, we catch our breath. The entire forecourt is overcrowded with young people, like at an open-air festival. Once again we flee the scene and decide to hitchhike on to Elgin, the next stop on our journey. Well, this gives us the opportunity to get to know Inverness in more detail and with the backpacks on our backs. At the first roundabout outside the city, at a gas station, we set ourselves up and, as a precaution, we go to the Ladies‘ again. I stand waiting at the exit, Susi is not back yet when a dark blue station wagon stops to pick us up. The best part: that philanthropist lives in Elgin!

We get into his adventure car, which is mainly loaded with newspapers and empty and full lemonade bottles. The driver turns out to be an expert in hitchhiking! When he was still young, he hitchhiked all over Europe and Australia, with no luggage except what he was carrying on his body and a small bag for soap and food. This seems to be a specifically Scottish way of traveling. He is the third of this kind we’ve met, first the Glasgow angler, then the old wanderer, and now he. He recommends that we eat only once a day, because that is better for the stomach. And then we have way too much luggage with us in his opinion: “You carry too much stuff around with you. You spoil your vacation. You’re killing yourselves! “ – He is very concerned about us and gives us other good advice: „Buy cheap and then THROW it away!“ – We also learn that as a girl you shouldn’t hitchhike in Italy, France and Australia, while it is safe everywhere else, especially in Scotland. „In Scotland it’s perfectly safe even for one girl alone.“ – He describes the area around London as dubious. „Too many tourists.“ – For him, however, the English are also tourists, at least on Scottish soil. “And I don’t pick up long-haired boys. The long-haired ones are drunkards! “ – We can’t convince him that there are decent long-haired guys too. When we drive into Elgin he shows us his house that he had built himself and then he even drives us to the youth hostel.

Elgin youth hostel
Photo: getaroom.co.uk

The Warden almost gets a heart attack when we say we want to stay two nights. „Nobody stays in Elgin more than one night!“ – Yes, we do. We have decided to go to the coast for one day because Susi longs for the sea. We’ll do that the next day, but first we get a shock. My tote bag is gone, and with it Susi’s camera and my new shoes from Inverness. Left in the car, that’s how it was. „Lucky the Mac showed us his house.“ – So we make our way to our benefactor and get the opportunity to look at New Elgin. We pass a horde of young construction workers who immediately start yelling: „Hello, girls, give me a smile, just a smile!“ – „Come here, I’m a very nice boy!“ – They still call when they can no longer see us.

Unfortunately, nobody is home when we arrive, although all doors are open. So we sit on the garden wall and wait patiently. After ten minutes he is already driving up with his son. „The Warden must know me, he showed you the way.“ – But not really; he showed us his house himself. The warden never saw him. But we don’t tell him that, why should we?

Then we go back, a bag richer and, out of relief, eat an apple first. „Birgit, if we pass there again now and all of a sudden have a bag!“ And right, loud laughter from the construction site. „You must be very hungry!“ – Somehow we always give the impression to Scots of being very hungry.

When we get back to the youth hostel, we first get something to eat. The Warden crouches in his glass cubby hole from morning to evening, playing his guitar. Four girls from some religious community and two others from a large family are also sleeping in our room. When they see us washing ourselves „scantily clad“, they have gabbing material for half the night. The other half is filled with conversations about boys. Obviously, they haven’t noticed that we understand English. They wash themselves in turtlenecks and change under their maxi nightgowns. Well, everyone in their own way.

Photo: one of mine, and not taken in Scotland

Schottland 1973, Teil 5 … Scotland 1973, part 5

Die Deutsche Version findet ihr HIER (zusammen mit Teil 6, ich habe daraus wieder zwei Teile gemacht).

PART 5, Kinlochard-Aberfoyle-Trossachs-Loch Achrey- Loch Venachar-Callander-Fort William

July 12, 1973 (Thursday)

The next day everything develops very quickly. A Scot takes us to Aberfoyle. On the way we overtake the two young Scots from the youth hostel (the shy ones) who had left earlier than us [walking].

The road that leads from there to the Trossachs, a national park and our next destination, is once again very steep, of course upwards. The sign telling us that we are entering the Queen’s private property gives us no relief. Just as we finally get to the top of the hill, an English couple stops to take us with them. Various rearrangements are necessary. Puppy sits on the lap and off we go. The man had been stationed in the Orkney Islands for six years during the war. He had vowed never to return to Scotland. Now he’s here after all and regrets not having returned sooner.

Trossachs National Park, photo: Pixabay

They drop us off at 9.30 a.m. at the Trossachs Youth Hostel. There we meet two Englishmen from Loch Ard who are just amazed at how quickly we got over from there. „You broke the record!“ says one. Since we are so well on time, we decide to walk to Loch Katrine [pronounced: Katreen with stress on the second syllable]. I have romantic expectations, think of ’The Lady of the Lake’ and the like. But strange things await us there: First a huge parking lot, littered with cars; Susi and I look at each other: What’s going on here? Folk festival? But then we understand: a tourist attraction. Loch Kathrine is now the water supply for Glasgow, so the whole once beautiful Lake has been neatly fenced in and surrounded by an asphalt road.* On it, the tourist hords amble to the stone that announces that Princess Margaret has done something meritorious, remain in holy silence for a moment and then go back to either eat in the restaurant or to buy souvenirs.

[This is the stone that people pilgrimaged to …]

I’m completely upset, and then there are so many Germans here. We didn’t come to Scotland to meet Germans!
[*This is actually not true, we were just so unlucky to get to this tourist arrangement, which is only a tiny, tiny part of Loch Katrine. Look here for more about that beautiful lake.]

[Here a photo of Ben Aan and beautiful Loch Katrine. I certainly did not know what I was talking about. We had just been unlucky, I guess, that we came to that particular parking place, and we left quite hurriedly again without investigating any further.]
Photo: Pixabay

Susi and I flee from the scene and walk to one lake further on, Loch Achray, the name is difficult to pronounce, but it’s beautiful here. It is only a very small Loch, and of course there is no tourist to be seen far and wide apart from us. We sit on a bench in front of an old church and enjoy the surroundings.

[The Scottish Highlands are so beautiful and wild … here Loch Achray.]
Photo: Colin Smith, CC BY-SA 2.0 (Wikipedia)

 After a while we continue along the lake and finally end up in a place called Brig o’Turk. There we sit down in the tearoom because it is starting to rain. First we modestly order tea and sandwiches. But after writing five postcards, it is still raining. So we also order a high tea and indulge in victuals: first something warm with eggs and french fries and then cakes and more sandwiches, the little triangular ones. All in all a nice, peaceful day. You can’t say that about tomorrow, but tomorrow is Friday the thirteenth.

[It looks like the tearoom is still the same building, they have just given it some new paint and made it look nicer.]

July 13, 1973 (Friday)

The next morning we walk on the country road, singing along. Loch Venachar is beautiful and so is the weather. A Frenchman takes us to Callander, not very far, but better than walking. After all, we have to walk for a while until we discover an ideal new hitch-hiking spot, a parking lot. Strangely enough, there are two Scots dressed in kilts and with bagpipes, playing ’Amazing Grace’ all alone in the landscape. We say „good morning“ politely and stand a few meters away from them. But oh shock in the morning hour: three buses are approaching, stopping across from the parking lot, and three busloads of excited Englishmen pour their way onto the street with their cameras drawn and block the traffic, which doesn’t seem to bother them. We are surrounded in no time. But of course the real interest is in the two Scots. We grab our luggage and flee to the other corner of the parking lot. When the horde turns back to the buses, Susi and I get some curious looks: Two real hitchhikers in the wild! Then the spook, which only lasted about three minutes, is over.

Scottish piper, photo: Pixabay

Then two Scots pick us up. At first they seem a little suspicious to us, but they turn out to be very nice. We tell them about the incident with the buses. Their comment: „They’re crazy, the English!“ And they inform us in a contemptuous tone that the bagpipers were beggars. They take us to Strathyre, from where we can drive with an old camper to the Killin-Crianlarich intersection. He’s trying hard to get us to come to Killin where it is so beautiful! But we have a schedule and we cannot afford too many detours or delays. From the intersection we come with two more Scots to Crianlarich and from there again with a Scot all the way to the Oban-Fort William intersection. After a long wait, an English photographer finally takes us to Fort William. There we are immediately surrounded by the wild throng of civilization. But first of all we need sandwiches! We then have to walk almost two miles to the youth hostel. That is a piece of cake for us now, but it’s raining pretty disgustingly. The youth hostel is located in the middle of a gorge, surrounded by impressive mountains. The clouds are almost hanging on the ground and it is accordingly extra humid. It’s nice there, but unusually noisy. It’s a big hostel. The crowd is getting on my nerves a bit after a week of country life.

[Fort William, which I remember with a lot more people on the streets.]
Photo: https://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/fortwilliam/fortwilliam/

The clientele is very international, Switzerland, Finland, France, Italy, Japan, Denmark and a very strong German delegation. The rain forces some campers into the youth hostel. We meet two guys from Hamburg, who suddenly found themselves with their tent in the middle of a mountain creek. The water rose so quickly that not even everyone could save their tents. While we are having dinner we hear a helicopter. We also meet old acquaintances again. On the one hand the German Englishman from Loch Ard, the one with the terrible accent, and a couple we already met in the Trossachs. She is Scottish and he is Danish. The two met in Vienna and speak Austrian German with their respective accents. That sounds very charming. The Dane tries to flirt up with us. He seems tired of his Scottish girlfriend. It’s a shame, because she’s really nice, and, of course, we don’t respond to it. Stupid guy. The two from Hamburg also notice it and look surprised.

July 14, 1973 (Saturday)

The next morning we hear that an accident has happened in Glen Nevis, hence the helicopter. Someone didn’t get off as lightly as the two guys from Hamburg.

We spend the day in Fort William and the surrounding area. Fort William itself is very touristy. Souvenir shops, tartan shops and tearooms alternate. Of course, everyone wants to look into the shop windows, which annoys some locals, because here is left hand traffic, obviously also for pedestrians (a lady to her husband: did we switch to right?). I don’t remember what we actually did there. We probably ate sandwiches 😉 … In any case, we didn’t go to the mountains, the highest peak of which is Ben Nevis, the highest not only in Scotland but also in Great Britain. I guess the experience on Ben Lomond was enough for years to come. [We also got some snarky remarks about our footwear everywhwere we went. Real mountaineers have real hiking boots, blah, blah, blah … 😉 😀 … „I would leave everything else at home, but bring my boots“ nyanyanyanyanya … „The Scottish hills are treacherous“, you get the picture.]

The most beautiful photo of Ben Nevis with Fort William at the bank of Loch Eil, I found on the website of a Spanish travel agent: https://viajarporescocia.com/guia-de-escocia/ben-nevis/
I wonder why the Scots call them „hills“, I mean Ben Nevis is over 3900 feet high. In Denmark we call something that is 50 feet high a mountain … 😉 😀
Will I ever be able to show all this beauty to my husband?

Maybe just a short word explanation:
Loch = Lake, but also a fiord (Loch Linnhe) or even a bay (Campbelltown Loch) can be named „Loch“
Ben = mountain/summit of a mountain
Glen = Valley or gorge
Aber and Inver = water mouth (e.g. Aberdeen, where the river Dee flows into the North Sea; Inverness, where the river Ness flows into the Beauly Firth. I don’t know how it is with Aberfoyle (Aberfoil in old times), I have not discovered a river Foyle or Foil flowing into the river Forth.)

Ganz zum Schluss noch zwei Karten, damit ihr sehen könnt, wo das Ganze vor sich ging:

[Above in the middle is Loch Katrine. The arrows show, where Susi and I might have been. I am not sure.]
[We „made“ over 90 miles that day, not bad for hitchhikers in the „Scottish Hielands“.]

Schottland 1973, Teil 4 …Scotland, part 4

 Die Deutsche Version findet ihr HIER (zusammen mit Teil 3, ich habe daraus wieder zwei Teile gemacht, weil ich den alten Text zu lang fand).

Part 4 : Rowardennon – Kinlochard – Aberfoyle

July 10, 1973

On Tuesday, the Dutch guys leave at five in the morning. Susi and I have decided to walk 12 kilometers to Kinlochard. Climb a little. Margaret McNeill and her two daughters Heather and Janet are coming with us. We became friends. Heather is a little Celtic beauty with black long hair, fair skin and huge dark blue eyes. Janet is the older one, has reddish hair, but is also pretty and at 10 years old already interested in boys, much to the sorrow of her mother.

So, then five molly-coddled tourists set off, two of them loaded with insane weights. When we get to the place where we were with Albert the day before, Susi and I have our tongues hanging out of our mouths already. After an hour the suggestion of a path stops and we are moving on a pebble slide. And it’s going up, up, up. Twice we encounter a blue mark that is supposed to show us the direction. Margaret had received the information the day before that at the so-called half-way-well, i.e. halfway to the summit of Ben Lomond, we should „turn right“. But there are so many small becks on the way up … When we get into the low-lying clouds, it gets wet. The children are freezing in their shorts and put on long trousers. A strap on Janet’s sandal is torn, and the white knee socks are already looking quite worn. Margaret walks on wooden slippers, only held in front by a strap. How does she do it with the prevailing upward direction?

We’re passing another mark. „Is it blue?“ Susi asks, „it seems more like pure rust to me!“ Well then, we march on and rest in the wettest place we can find. There is a typical Scottish signpost there: three signs and all broken off. [I am not kidding!!!] Only the first letter is left; that is basically enough. There is all kinds of stuff in the direction of Loch Ard, but no path. Mainly I see moss. I probe the terrain and find various rusty tin cans: „Somebody went up here!“ I exclaim happily. „The only question is when that was and whether the people survived!“ So Susi’s remark. A local who, according to Susi, ’happens to be passing by’ (on Ben Lomond, in the middle of a thick cloud, it is quite common that people are passing by by chance) confirms that we have to go in that direction. “You have to try to walk straight or you will come to the steep side, it is dangerous there. Then walk down past the new forest and the river. It will then lead you to Loch Ard. ” Crystal clear!

The red line shows, where we should have gone, the blue line, where we did go (I guess, roundabout …)

So we are on our way again. We might as well have waded through a stream, it’s that wet. The sheep that hobble around are bleating at us. We refresh ourselves at a spring. I have never drunk such wonderful water! We drag ourselves over two hills more, when we see the river. Deep down below us. We got to the steep side with determination. There is no coming down. It is so slippery that we lie on our butts after every second step. Heather starts crying; Margaret is losing her nerve; Janet is tough. And we? We just keep moving because we can’t stay here. We crawl along the top of the ridge until we come to a shallower point. We are only separated from the river by a two meter high wire fence and the new forest behind it.

So we climb over. First Margaret, then the children, Susi, the luggage and then me. Our path leads us directly through the newly planted trees. [Good that nobody saw us!!!] Well, there is no path, we are just moving towards the river. Our marching rhythm is: one step, one leap; one step, one leap; every jump goes over a drainage ditch. And all this with this insane backpack! In the end we no longer feel the them and only move forward mechanically, thoughts switched off. I don’t care at all anymore, I would love to drop myself into the swamp to sleep. We rest on a large rock. Margaret sighs: „We are lost, totally lost!“ At that moment, Susi’s eagle eyes see a wide path! We rush there as fast as we can and come across a true wonder of the world: a real signpost with all the signs still intact. Further down we also see real forest. We de-mud us in a mountain stream. I get in with my shoes on and actually can’t tell the difference to the outside.

We have already been on the road for eight hours and about three hours are still ahead of us, but Margaret’s friend Eddy comes towards us in a car. First he takes the children and the luggage, then he fetches the three of us. Gosh, we are grateful! Eddy drives like a madman saying, „It’s not my car!“

Photo: Wikipedia – Loch Ard

In Loch Ard our first act is a long hot shower, then a good dinner and finally a deep sleep.

July 11, 1973

The next day, Susi and I take the heroic decision to have a good rest. We have breakfast with Margaret and her daughters, and we also study types. [I visited Margaret and her family and Eddy on my second trip to Glasgow. After that we still corresponded for a while, but that also ebbed out.] Two South Europeans have coffee and cigarettes for breakfast. Two Scots are sitting at the next table, apparently nice but incredibly shy. A boy is standing in front of the window making sandwiches. He belongs to two English people, but his pronunciation is German. Obviously he wants to be taken for an Englishman and yells around in his terrible accent. The volume is probably supposed to compensate for the quality. But the most wonderful thing is the extended family from the backwoods: dad, mommy, son and daughter, who looks like son no. 2, and grandpa. Grandpa is polishing all day, first the table, then the dishes, then the table again. Later you can see him swinging the duster and polishing the banister. He whistles and sings all the time; so I find him extremely likeable. The children are bursting with energy and release it in the form of volume. Dad reminds of  a Canadian lumberjack. Mommy creates an impenetrable mist in the shower room with the comment: „This is my first shower in ten years!“ [They lived somewhere in the mountains without running hot water.]

Susi and I decide to hike to Aberfoyle (5.2 miles, one way) [didn’t we want to rest ???]. As far as I remember, Rob Roy [an outlaw to the English, a hero to the Scottish, who seems to have fought in all the Jacobite risings there were] was „active“ there among other places. We also have to go shopping, we have almost nothing to eat. So we are on our way. The road is bordered with a stone wall on the lake side. There is a wonderful view of Loch Ard and the opposite bank. In Aberfoyle, civilization invades us in the form of souvenir shops and English coffee grannies [Coffee? Not tea?]. We go into a shop and ask for tea towels. „An ordinary tea towel?“ we are asked.
– „Yes, please!“ I say. We get astonished looks, because most tourists buy those with a bagpiper on it or ’Bonny old Scotland’. They then cost four times as much.

Photo: Booking.com – Aberfoyle

We feast on coffee and sandwiches in the town’s huge cafeteria. Warm food is only available from noon. We tuck the box with the groceries we bought under our arms and take a look at Aberfoyle. But there isn’t much to see, so we sit down on the municipal playground. I decide to sleep and lie down on the grass. We get plenty of amused looks. An hour later we are headed towards the cafeteria again to have lunch.

Then we think it is the correct thing to do, to hike back to be at the youth hostel in time for afternoon coffee. I photograph a beautiful old country house. The various construction workers whom we are now meeting for the third time have a disruptive effect. They make quite a noise and express the urgent wish to be photographed for posterity. My comment that I would like to take pictures of the house and not the gentlemen triggers a real cacophony of remarks. Fortunately, we don’t understand anything because they’re all roaring at the same time. We prefer to remove ourselves. The rest of the way back is quite harmonious. We come to the deep insight that cardboard boxes are very impractical for transporting food, especially over long distances.

Back at Loch Ard we meet a couple of hobby painters. We talk to the woman for a while. Her daughter has a German pen pal. She tells us that anyone can paint, you just have to try.

Some new overnight guests have arrived at the youth hostel. There is a German with a daughter, who lives in England, and a strange woman who tiptoes through the shower room and looks through open doors. She tells us a lengthy story about a hanky that she didn’t have in an emergency situation, but that’s the only thing we understand of the whole story. Finally, Susi asks: „I beg your pardon?“ And we get the whole thing served again. Not that we understand more the second time around.

I found this old photo of Loch Ard Youth Hostel, taken in the seventies, on this website: https://www.geograph.org.uk/article/Former-youth-hostels-of-Great-Britain/6#syha–scotland

Schottland 1973, Teil 3 … Scotland 1973, part 3

Die Deutsche Version findet ihr HIER (zusammen mit Teil 4, ich habe daraus wieder zwei Teile gemacht, weil ich den alten Text zu lang fand).

Die Bilder in diesem Abschnitt sind ziemlich schlecht, zum Einen, weil es sich im Laufe des Tages sehr bewölkte, zum Anderen, weil die Bilder von Papierfotos abfotografiert sind. Aber ich dachte besser als gar keine.

… The photos in this part are not very good, on the one hand because it started to get very overclouded, and on the other hand because they were originally paper photos that I photographed them from there. But I thought better than none.

Part 3, Glasgow – Rowardennon (Loch Lomond)

July 8, 1973

We get up early on Sunday because we want to go to Loch Lomond. We walk a short distance through town to the Great Western Road. There we ask an elderly gentleman if, when and from where a bus leaves the city. Bus number 20 does the same and that also on Sundays. „But you may have to wait half an hour.“ – It’s better to wait half an hour than to walk. If I know us well, we will have enough opportunity to do so. The bus arrives after 10 minutes and takes us to the next roundabout. We hardly stand five minutes when a young man rushes up in a red sports car with a picture of Snoopy on the side door. He is a passionate Charlie Brown fan and takes us to the next place called Dumbarton, where he shows us the right road to Loch Lomond. From there a pastor takes us to the next place, which is called Bonhill. He tells us that he travels a lot. He likes Greece best as a travel destination.

Two girls are already standing in Bonhill trying to hitchhike. We therefore continue around the next bend. Just bad luck that there is so little traffic! After a while we see an old man waving to us. But we don’t understand what he wants and so we go to meet him. “You have to go up the hill. You have a better position there! “ We thank him and follow his advice. He is right. Just before the hill, a side street joins ’ours’, and a lot of cars come from there. The man went a long way just to tell us that!

We don’t have to wait long at the top of the hill, when a young man takes us to the next place, Drymen. It’s such a tiny place I’m convinced we’ll have to walk the rest of the way to the youth hostel on Loch Lomond. But no, a man with a child has mercy on us. He actually only wants to go to the next town, Balmaha, but brings us to the end of the road, very close the youth hostel. So we’ve made pretty good progress. It’s only noon and we’re already in Rowardennan on beautiful Loch Lomond. I am just surprised, because Sunday is usually a bad day for hitchhikers. Sunday is the family day out and most cars are packed with weekend luggage, children, dogs and other family members. In theory, we should have stranded somewhere along the way. In any case, it explains today’s short lifts. People just go to the next village to visit.

We get rid of the backpacks and sit down on the meadow in front of the youth hostel. A few meters away there are three boys, one of whom looks Indonesian. After listening for a long time, we find out that they are Dutch. A somewhat younger boy turns out to be a Scot. His name is Ricky. He describes himself as ’tricky Ricky’. Ricky speaks many languages superficially and can count and say ’Shut up’ in German and French. For our entertainment he performs a Gaelic tongue twister, which mainly consists of sounds like ’bacharach’ and the like. The three Dutchmen are very nice. Coe is Dutch of Indonesian descent, Albert speaks a funny mixture of German and Dutch, Leivi unfortunately speaks neither English nor German. There are four hours left before the youth hostel opens, which we spend in lively conversation. The Dutch are in Rowardennon with 15 boys. Currently, however, the majority of the group is paddling. That’s lucky because, for the most part, they turn out to be pretty primitive types. Boys of the same age are not as mature as we girls are. [Hear! Hear!] We have a lot of trouble with one of them, called ’Tiny’, especially when he is drunk. Unfortunately, he seems to have a preference for me, for pretty obvious reasons by the way, it’s not flattering! In addition, he is begrudging Albert, who is an outsider in the group anyway, that we get along so well with him. The boys cannot imagine that the three of us are simply together as comrades.

July 9, 1973

The next day is Albert’s birthday. After breakfast, the three of us walk a little towards Ben Lomond (about half an hour, no dice for more). Then we lie in the sun, get sick on sweets and dance both the tango and the Viennese waltz. Finally Albert invites us to have tea in the pub. The pub in Rowardennan looks pretty shabby from the outside, and on the inside this impression is confirmed: A large room, crammed with chairs, tiny tables and a small, rickety stage. Despite this uncomfortable appearance, the atmosphere is incredibly good. It’s because of the people.

In the afternoon, Susi and Albert come up with the crazy idea of swimming in Loch Lomond. I prefer to sit on a rock and watch. In the evening we are having a mental break-down. We all stand on a large stone and try to push each other down.


Of course, it doesn’t end without casualties. Of the stones that Susi and Albert ditch into the water with growing enthusiasm, Loch Lomond’s water level is guaranteed to have risen by a meter [3 feet].

Then we decide to play drunk so the other boys should think that we’ve had an orgy. We give our best. It must be an uplifting sight, especially when I do javelin with a picket for a washing line, and Susi and Albert stumble out of the forest, hugging each other.

Albert’s acquaintance is also very useful for our language skills. So we learn such valuable idioms as ’Chottverdomme’. [God damn, in case you should be in doubt.]


And here two photos of Loch Lomond without Albert:


There are several small islands in (on?) Loch Lomond

[I was in contact with Albert for a long time after the trip. I even visited him and his partner in Holland once with two other friends. But this is another story. After that, the contact somehow died down.]

Schottland 1973, Teil 2 … Scotland 1973, Part 2

Die Deutsche Version findet ihr HIER (zusammen mit Teil 1, ich habe daraus zwei Teile gemacht, weil ich den alten Text zu lang fand).

Part 2 – London-Leeds-Barnard Castle-Glasgow

6 July 1973

We take the train from London via Doncaster to Leeds. Remember, we have the Interrail tickets! Leeds isn’t particularly pretty, an industrial city, but it’s not far to Scotland from there. We get out and meander through the crowd with our scary backpacks (also here). We are following some signpost, in the wrong direction of course!

Leeds stadium, built in 1897, photo: http://www.visitleeds.co.uk

At a bus station I ask a man about the A66. He doesn’t know. Just ask in the office. Fine, I’ll ask in the office. „I have no idea, just ask the busguard, he should know.“ I ask the busguard (and disturb him directing the buses). Unfortunately he doesn’t know the streets, I should tell him a place. School English fails here. He uses the word „place“ and not „town“. I do not understand what he means.

We walk on for now. Oh, bliss, we’re spotting a traffic cop! We ask him about the A66 and tell him we want to go to Glasgow. ”Glasgow? I’m from there! “ He smiles at us with his two teeth that are left to him. Unfortunately, we don’t understand much of what he says, because he really is from Glasgow [A side stab to the Glaswegian dialect, which is indeed not very easy to understand]. But we learn from him that we are going south. Of course we have to go north. Well. We turn around. „When we pass the bus station again, they’ll laugh themselves dead!“ says Susi. Soon we are back where we started and continue walking in the opposite direction. Oh, wonder, two traffic cops again, and women! They know the way so well that we can’t remember everything, but somehow we come to a motorway. Just bad luck that it leads to London.

We ask a group of construction workers. A lively discussion immediately develops between the four. A fifth gets out of the car. „You have to go back,“ says one. Another points in the opposite direction. “Go down there. The big road leads to the A1 to the north.“ „Better let them take the A65 to York, they are not allowed to hitchhike on the motorway,“ advises a third. We take a look at the map (yes, we have a map, just not city maps …) and see that York is completely out of the way. We want to go to Glasgow after all. The men argue for a while. One of us suggests that we sleep here on the lawn. It must be said that in the meantime it has started to rain, and quite heavily. We start moving again. Our goal still is the A1 to Scotland.

We pass a bus station again. (No, not the same one from before!) We eat first. After all, two and a half hours have passed since we got off the train! We drink tea in a cafeteria. I forget to stir at the bar (I add sugar to the tea and milk, yes!). Fortunately, I usually have a teaspoon in my jacket pocket. So I take it, stir my tea, lick the spoon and put it back in my pocket. An older man across the table laughs his head off. I smile at him and take the opportunity to ask for directions again. He looks thoughtfully at the intersection: “Yes, if only I knew. I always take the bus! „

In our desperation we finally choose the road that does not lead to York. There is the A65 and the A67. The A66 is nowhere to be seen. The street we’re walking on now definitely looks like it is leading out of town. We ask again at a gas station. “Go on here. Between a pub and a cinema, go up to the right and you will come to the A1! ” So we are already on the right track, very reassuring. After about one and a half kilometers we come to the pub and cinema. The hill we have to go up leaves me speechless. One man says: ”The A1? That is still a long way, over one and a half kilometers! “ I am slowly coming to terms with having to spend the night in a bus shelter. What an uplifting feeling, when, however, we see a green signpost in the distance that reads ’A1, The North’! Relieved, we sit down on a bench to first eat something. (***)

I have a whole egg in my mouth when a truck stops. We haven’t even had our thumbs out yet. Susi jumps up as if stung by a tarantula and leaves me with the egg box and an open bottle. I also jump up, lose the lid from the bottle, bend down to pick it up, straighten up and ’zack’, the cookware that I have attached to the back of the backpack in a very ingenious way slams on my head. I run after Susi, screaming, with a bottle and an egg box in my arms: “Put my cookware down again! Put my … etc. “  [I could not do it myself, because I had both hands full, so while I was running, the cookware kept hammering on my head.

Such a one, do you remember these? Photo: Sportsman’s Guide]

The driver is very considerate. He packs our backpacks under a tarpaulin so that they don’t get wet. We climb in, via the front wheel, due to the lack of a foot board. We talk to the driver and he shows us a picture of his girlfriend. He apparently wants to reassure us about his intentions. I think that’s really nice. After a few, not too many kilometers, he drops us off again. He tries to stop a trustworthy truck for us, but he is out of luck.

So we put ourselves back in position. Not long after that a car stops with a very nice young man in it. He wants to go to Edinburgh. Shortly before Scotch Corner (a large roundabout), however, I get the glorious idea of saying that we have to be in a youth hostel by 6 p.m. „In which?“ – „In any one!“ At Scotch Corner we look at the map. The closest youth hostel is at Barnard Castle, 5 miles from here. Our driver, this angel, drives us right to the front door. Relieved, we rush in, carefully close the door, take a close look at a shelf with dirty shoes on and walk past it. A slim, black-haired man in his late twenties rushes towards us and almost faints. “Would you please take off your shoes, would you? There is a shelf behind the door. And would you please close the door! Only Germans come so stomp, stomp in somewhere! “ Well, that starts well. I turn around. Indeed, the door is wide open. It takes a while before I can close it properly. It has such a strange knob that you have to hold in a certain position until it ’clicks’, otherwise you can start over.

Wet, but satisfied, we go to the kitchen after we have put down our luggage and settled down. The Warden runs back and forth and makes jokes; we can’t stop laughing. He only meant that about the Germans as a joke, at least he says so. His favorite saying is „Just a joke, you know!“ A gas flame is completely smeared, all hell breaks loose! „That was a nice, clean kitchen before these two ladies came in here!“ And later: “Do you want to go to Scotland? A terrible country with terrible people. Here, this young man, Peter, comes from there! “ We ask him if we can order milk. „How many gallons?“ Susi and I look at each other uncertainly. How much is that in liters? „One liter,“ we try. ”A litter? Yes, it’s terrible how people throw their filth around, ” we get as answer. This went on all evening.

At 10:00 p.m. Alan the Warden invites us to a whiskey. We have a very serious conversation about our problems, present and future, and especially the difficulty of being a Warden. Alan owns a whole zoo: two very nice dogs, a cat, goldfish and a bird.

The weather is now really lousy. Alan says, “Everyone complains about the rain. I don’t understand that at all. First these poor cyclists and now you. What do you have against rain? “ We learn that a bad storm hit Leeds two hours ago! We had been so lucky!

7th July 1973

Barnard Castle Butter Market – photo: Wikipedia

The next morning the weather is kind to us. Barnard Castle is a very nice little town and saying goodbye is not easy. Alan gives us cake as a snack for the road. I’ll take another picture of him, then we’ll move on. The backpack starts hurting pretty quickly. The castle catches our eye. We pull out the cameras. Then we drag ourselves up a hill. From there we overlook the situation: A nice, small road, downhill, uphill, like in Denmark on the fjords. There is not much traffic here, however, and so we bravely step onto the sea of hills to walk the eight kilometers to the main road. On the way, however, we keep sticking out our thumbs hopefully and lo and behold, a car full of workers stops. They grin at us with their gaps between their teeth, and we feel a little queasy. We get on anyway. “You have to sit in the hold. It’s not very convenient. “ – „Oh, that doesn’t matter at all!“ (After all, we save an eight kilometers‘ walk …) Susi sits down on a paint bucket and I on two small cartons with plaster that are stacked on top of each other and turn out to be rather wobbly.

The four workers come from Newcastle (say: Nookassel, with the emphasis on the second syllable). There they have their own race, their own language, and everything is best in Nookassel, even the whiskey. They also tell us that Glasgow is pretty ruff and that we are sure to have our throats cut there. They drop us off in Brough (’Bruff’ in Noocastlerish). They show us a propeller from an airplane that crashed in World War II. I think it was a Russian. [I tried to check this, but can’t find anything. I will have to go there again and see if there is a plaque there. In retrospect, it seems a little unlikely that it was a Russian plane. What was it doing over England?]

From there a young man takes us to Penrith. He wants to go fishing in the Lake District. In his opinion, the Lake District is the most beautiful landscape in the world. He tries to persuade us to go there with him. „My trailer is there.“ Since we’re not very enthusiastic, he says, „There are a lot of hostels in the Lake District.“ Despite all that, we want to go to Scotland.

A truck stops next to us in Penrith. The driver said several times “I’m going to Friess”. Finally I look at the map, where is Friess? Then a light dawns on me: Dumfries! The driver is Scot (hence the pronunciation [nearly mute „Dum“ and heavy stress on „Fries“]) and lives there. He looks rather unkempt with a week old stubble, but is very nice, if monosyllabic. He’s probably been on the road for a long time.

An elderly Englishman picks us up in Dumfries. „I don’t usually pick anyone up, but you don’t look dangerous,“ he says. He is incredibly nice and takes us to the door of the youth hostel in Glasgow after an extensive sightseeing tour. „I don’t want you to get lost in the city at night!“

The fine building of the youth hostel at Park Terrace, photo: booking.com

George is in the process of learning German and gives us his address to exchange letters. [With George, as he was called, I had regular mail contact and I also visited him often. He lived on the east coast, near Durham. He got well over 90 years old.] The weather is unique in contrast to the day before. Bright sun, deep blue sky. Still, we don’t really feel like looking at the city. On the one hand we are, of course, prejudiced after all the warnings about how dangerous it is in Glasgow, on the other hand we both seem to have a brooding day.

We go to a trustworthy looking Italian restaurant to eat. It’s very expensive, but at least it doesn’t taste good. [Not a translation error, but irony!!!] Only the tea is fabulous. My half chicken is so unruly that I soon lose my appetite and throw the cutlery in the ring. My plate looks like a battlefield. I admire Susi, who masterfully conquers her half.

(To be continued, Part 3: Glasgow – Rowardennon (Loch Lomond)-Loch Ard-Aberfoyle-Brig o’Turk)

(***)

[I was trying to reconstruct, where we walked in Leeds, but I find it impossible. The numbers of the roads have changed, and I don’t think that we really walked up to one of the motorways. We must have walked to roads leading to the motorways (M1 to London respectively A1 to Scotland). We walked a lot that day, but not 7.5 miles to the A1, no way (but then again, when I read the following parts, we did indeed walk a lot). The first map shows where the main bus station is now, and to the east the A1, and a bit further south the connection to the M1 to London. The second map shows where I think we waited for our first lift.

]

Schottland 1973, Teil 1 … Scotland 1973, Part 1

Die Deutsche Version findet ihr HIER (da ist Teil 1 länger, ich habe den hier in zwei geteilt, weil ich ihn zu lang fand).

I found a few, not so great, paper photos of that trip. The majority of the images exist in form of slides that were partially exposed to water damage. So I will use mainly photos from other people. The ones from London are from our 2018 trip.

Remarks that I cannot refrain from here and now, are in square brackets. Otherwise I have not revised the language of the text from then.

Preface

I went to Scotland for the first time in 1973 at the age of 18 together with my classmate Susi who, funnily enough, was born on the same day as I. Why Scotland? I can’t quite reconstruct it anymore, but I was taken with the Scottish legends and the landscape that I saw in pictures. I had read „The Highland Clearances“ and other books on Scottish history in novel form.

We were students (last year of Gymnasium [grammar school??] and had to keep our expenses to a minimum. A deck crossing on the ’Prince Hamlet’ was very cheap back then. You just slept somewhere on deck. Then there were the Interrail tickets for young people. We wanted to keep the option of taking the train now and then open, because we had no experience with hitchhiking. We approached the whole matter very naively. Maybe that was what made people feel protective, because most of them were really, really helpful. Maybe that’s just the Scots‘ nature. But that’s not entirely fair, because other nationalities were just as accommodating towards us. But the fact is, that the Scots were generally very helpful and hospitable. And at that time the North Sea oil had not yet been discovered …

All in all, the trip was a complete success, despite the criticism that an 18-year-old has to utter. We met a lot of nice people. We had contact with some of them for a long time after the trip. In any case, I went there again in 1974 with my best friend and for twice as long. I loved the gypsy life. In principle, I still do that, but now I want it to be a little bit more comfortable.

In October 2012, my husband and I were in Scotland for a quarter of an hour when we drove to Northumberland National Park, from the Scottish side. I really would like to show him all the places I have been back then. Some things will have changed a lot, others not at all.

But now to the diary of the first trip:

PART 1, Hamburg-London

3rd July 1973

The „Prince Hamlet“ is about to cast off. Mom and the little brother wave, moved. There is monkey heat on the deck, sultry under the roof and there are quite a few idiots on the ship. [Remember, I was 18!] The Elbe and later the English Channel are as smooth and shiny as a mirror. The sun is shining and it is lovely to stare at the water and look forward to Scotland.

This image is from a postcard, and I found it on this website: http://www.simplonpc.co.uk/Prins_Hamlet_1973.html

In the evening Susi and I retreat to the cafeteria to secure sleeping places for the night. We get some friendly offers from crew members, asking if we don’t want a cabin, etc. We make do without and lie down on the benches. In the middle of the night a poor madman rattles on the jukebox. There is a draft from every corner, but finally tiredness wins and we fall asleep.

The next morning, July 4th, 1973, we arrive in Harwich. From there one can take the train to London. We save the 10 pence for the bus and walk the five minutes to the train station, with the result that we get there before everyone else and can still choose our seats. Storing the backpacks gives us difficulties until we finally put one of them on the table.

The train departs. It’s low tide. Boats lie scattered on the mudflats of the bay. Then we got in at low tide, how does that work? Or isn’t the tide out at all and the bay always looks like this?

We drive through a landscape that reminds me of Schleswig-Holstein. There are old, ornate wooden benches at the train stations, and the most beautiful roses are entwined around the fences on the platforms.

Little by little we see more houses and Susi informs me that we are already in London.

Liverpool Street Station: a terrible crowd. We squeeze through the crowd and manage to get into a bank where we want to exchange money. We were advised to do this in England, because we would get a better exchange course.

Then we fight our way back to the train station and go to Hyde Park. The march along the totally overcrowded Oxford Street is a nightmare. I run blindly after Susi, who clears the path. [If you have a rucksack on your back, you can quickly create space by simply spinning around a few times …] At that time, all I see of Hyde Park is a huge lawn and a few trees far back on the horizon. We lay down on the first stretch of lawn we meet, tired and hungry as we are, to eat something. We are actually on the way to the youth hostel, but we know that it is not open yet.

St. Paul’s Cathedral

A little later we are on our way again. The youth hostel is close to St. Paul’s Cathedral. [A summer hostel, the same that my best friend and I stayed at the following year.] A swarm of international youth is already blocking the sidewalk and the street. Entry will be soon. We groan up the stairs, of course we have to go all the way up. Besides us, there are two very nice Italian girls in our room. I manage to annoy one of them by asking if they were Spaniards. [That wasn’t on purpose! Scout’s honor! It’s all Latin in the end!] She reports the terrible insult of the “Tedesca” to her friend, and I hear something like “scandalo” and have to laugh because I think that’s a bit exaggerated. Now they think we understand Italian. In revenge, they then ask us if we were English, which we vehemently protest against. [She had called me Tedesca, so she already knew I was German … haha] 

5th July 1973

The next day we wander through the city for seven hours (breaks not counted). We start at Victoria Embankment, where I take some nice photos, which unfortunately all turn black. Only that one stupid picture of me on a bench turns out good. Big Ben** is a paragon of hideousness in my opinion (my honest opinion). I think Westminster Abbey is more beautiful [This I do not understand, as far as I can see, the style is quite similar]. Many interesting people are buried there, among others Darwin. Then we feel drawn to Regent’s Park, which we finally find with great effort. We lie down on the lawn, pretty much the only visitors at this point, and fall asleep. We wake up at 1 p.m. and are suddenly surrounded by English people. Lunch break?

Not Regent Park, but still …

Somehow, in mysterious ways, we get to Soho, where we come across a market in a small side street, where a one-man band is playing music (with a foot drum and the whole shebang). The boyo is a good guitarist. Soho has the most beautiful pubs with wooden facades and golden letters over the doors. Suddenly, I don’t know how (you’ve probably guessed by now that we don’t have a city map with us …), we’re in Piccadilly Circus, surrounded by crowds of tourists. It is similar on Carnaby Street; you hear almost only German.

The Italian restaurant disappoints me a little. I have never seen several Italians in a group together without either discussing with big arm movements or joking and laughing. But here only serious faces and unfriendly service. Has the English’s reserve rubbed off or is one not welcome here as a German?

What I like about London is that you can look how you want and do what you want without being stared at. But the hustle and bustle makes me nervous. You can’t stop anywhere without someone running into you.

(To be continued: Part 2, London – Leeds – Barnard Castle – Glasgow)

[**Wikipedia corrected me here: Big Ben is what is called the biggest bell in Westminster Palace in London. The name is often used incorrectly about the entire bell tower, which is located at the northeast end of the building and was called St. Stephen’s Tower, before it was renamed Elizabeth Tower in 2012. The bell tower is more than 96 meters high, with 334 steps up to the clock and 399 steps if you want to reach the top.]

Wie geht es weiter mit den Sonnabenden … What will happen with the Saturdays

Fragezeichen

Nun, da das Buch meines Mannes zuende ist, habe ich etwas gegrübelt, was ich jetzt an den Sonnabenden machen soll (also hier im Blog 😉 ).

… As my husband’s book has reached its end, I have been thinking, what I should do on Saturdays now (here on the blog that is 😉 ).

Unmittelbar sehe ich zwei Möglichkeiten: 1) Meine Schottland-Tagebücher ins Englische zu übersetzen und 2) Alle meine Beiträge von vor 2018 langsam und allmählich ins Englische zu übersetzen.

… As immediate possibilities I see two: 1) To translate my Scotland diaries into English and 2) To translate all my posts from before 2018 by and by into English.

Zu den Schottland-Tagebüchern sei gesagt, dass ich zwei aufeinanderfolgende Jahre mit jeweils einer Freundin durch Schottland getrampt bin, das erste Mal drei Wochen und, weil’s so schön war, das zweite Mal sechs Wochen (das war die letzte Chance für so lange Ferien, danach ging der Ernst des Lebens sprich: Arbeit los). Ich habe neulich mal reingelesen und fand es eigentlich recht amüsant zu sehen, wie ich als Achtzehn/Neunzehnjährige so gedacht und gesprochen habe.

… As far as the Scotland diaries are concerned, I have during two consecutive years hitch-hiked through Scotland with a friend; the first time three weeks and, because it was so great, the second time six weeks (that was the last chance for long holidays, as afterwards the serious side of life would begin: work). I have reread some of it and found it quite amusing to see, how I have thought and talked as 18/19 year old.

Nächsten Sonnabend beginnt also etwas Neues … höchstwahrscheinlich Schottland.

… So, next Saturday something new will start … most probably Scotland.

Ausflug nach Hamburg … Excursion to Hamburg

Wir waren Anfang Juni zwei Tage in Hamburg bei einer sehr lieben Freundin und ihrer Familie. Wir landeten natürlich im Hafen und begaben uns auch auf eine Elbfahrt. Also Fotos von City-Sightseeing werdet ihr heute hier nicht bekommen.

… At the beginning of June, we were two days in Hamburg at a dear friend’s and her family’s place. Of course we ended up at the harbour and went on a river cruise. This means that you won’t get any photos of city sightseeing here today.

Wir kamen am Abend an, und der nächste Tag sollte ab Mittag sonnig sein. Wir erwachten zu einer dicken, fetten Wolkendecke und konnten uns nicht vorstellen, dass da die Sonne durchkommen sollte. Aber nun ist meine Freundin sehr positiv und überzeugend, so wir verliessen tatsächlich das Haus und machten uns auf in Richtung allerletzte neue U-Bahn. Das war alles völlig neu für mich. Die Endstation heisst Elbbrücken.

… We arrived in the evening, and the next day was supposed to be sunny from around mid day. We woke up to a dense, thick cloud cover and could not imagine that all that should be gone by mid day. But, my friend is very positive and convincing, so we left the house anyway and went in direction of the latest developed underground. All that was completely new to me. The last stop is called Elbbrücken (Elbe bridges).

dav

Wir wollten eigentlich über die Brücke, zur anderen Seite des Elbarms, aber leider war sie noch nicht fertig. Aber auf dem Bild könnt ihr wenigstens sehen, wie sie in Zukunft mal aussehen wird. Die restliche nähere Umgebung ist stark in der Entwicklungsphase und nicht sehr fotogen.

… We had planned to cross the bridge over to the other side of the Elbe river side arm, but, alas, it wasn’t finished yet. On the photo you can see at least, what it will look like in future. The rest of the area is under strong development and not very photogenic.

dav

Wir fuhren dann eine Station zurück (Hafencity Universität), eine moderne Station mit wechselnden Farben in der Beleuchtung, weil man von dort durch die Speicherstadt in Richtung Landungsbrücken gehen konnte.

… We then went back one stop (Hafencity Universität (Harbour City University), a modern station with lighting that constantly changed colours, as we could walk from there through the streets with old warehouses in the direction of Landungsbrücken (landing bridges).

dav

dav

Am Bahnhof Hafencity Universität ist das Wohngebiet „Lohsepark“ am entstehen mit gar nicht so hässlichen Wohnhäusern von denen ich aus unerfindlichen Gründen kein Foto gemacht habe. Das Viertel ist nach dem Ingenieur Hermann Lohse benannt, der den Hannoverschen Bahnhof gebaut hat, der sich ebendort befunden hat. Jetzt ist davon nur noch eine der Mauern als Gedenkstätte zu sehen.

… At the station Harbour City University, the residential area „Lohsepark“ is coming into existence with really not so ugly apartment houses of which I for one or the other reason didn’t take any photos.

Stattdessen habe ich das hier fotografiert, das sich auf der anderen Strassenseite befand: Blumen und Gemüse in Kübeln und Sandsäcken. Und dann war da noch ein im Entstehen befindlicher Kräutergarten. Das fand ich natürlich toll. 😉

… Instead I took photos of this, which we found on the other side of the road: flowers and vegetables in containers and bigbags. And then there was a herb garden under construction. Of course I liked that!  😉

dav

dav

Als ich noch in Hamburg wohnte, war in der Speicherstadt Freihafen. Jetzt ist es eine schicke Wohngegend mit allerlei Unterhaltung, Museen, Firmen und Restaurants.

… When I lived in Hamburg, the area around the old warehouses was still a freeport. Now it is a fancy living area with lots of entertainment, museums, companies and restaurants.

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Nur an den Speichern und den Fleeten kann man noch den alten Freihafen erahnen.

… Only the warehouses and the town canals are still evidence of the freeport.

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Wir kamen beim Miniatur-Wunderland, der riesigen Miniatur-Eisenbahnanlage vorbei, die in einem der alten Schuppen untergebracht ist. Wenn euch das interessiert, kann ich nur empfehlen, dass ihr eine der speziellen Abendtouren (21.00 bis 24.00 Uhr) bucht, bei denen die Besucherzahl limitiert ist. Sonst seht ihr nämlich nicht viel vor lauter Menschen. Es ist eine ziemlich imponierende Anlage, sogar mit Flugzeugen, die starten und landen und Wechsel der Tageszeiten. Wir waren einmal mit Freunden dort und schafften es gar nicht alles zu sehen.

… We passed by the „Miniatur-Wunderland“ (miniature wonderland), a huge miniature train installation housed in one of the old warehouses. If you are interested to see it, I would recommend to book one of the special evening arrangements (from 9 p.m. until midnight) with a limited amount of visitors. Otherwise you won’t see much for the people. It is quite an impressive construction, even featuring airplanes starting and landing, and the change from day to night. We were there once with friends and didn’t manage to see everything.

Das Mosaik auf der Brücke fand ich bemerkenswert und dann greift dieser Brauch mit den Schlössern anscheinend um sich. Ist ja auch ganz witzig. Es handelt sich hier um die Wilhelminen-Brücke.

… I thought the mosaic on the bridge was noteworthy, and then the habit with the padlocks is running rampant. It is quite cute though. This is the Wilhelminen-Bridge.

rbsh

Dieses süsse kleine Gebäude ist, ihr werdet es nicht glauben, eine Polizeistation. Links seht ihr die Elbphilharmonie.

… This cute little building is, you won’t believe it, a police station. To the left you see the Elbe Philharmonics.

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Dann gingen wir zur Aussichtsetage der Elbphilharmonie, um uns einen Überblick zu verschaffen. Dort oben war ich zum ersten Mal. Vor dem schwarzen Legostein kann man drei kleine grüne Kuppeln ausmachen. Das sind die Landungsbrücken und der alte Elbtunnel. Früher konnte man mit dem Auto durchfahren (Fahrstuhl auf beiden Seiten), aber jetzt ist er nur noch für Radfahrer und Fussgänger geöffnet.

… Then we went up to the panorama floor of the Elbe Philharmonics, to get an overview. This was my first time up there. In front of the black Lego brick, one can spot three small green domes. There are the landing bridges and the old tunnel under the river Elbe. In old times it was possible to cross over by car (there is a lift on either side), but now it is only open for pedestrians and cyclists.

rbsh

Mein Mann hat von der Elbphilharmonie aus ein Video gemacht von dem Auslaufen eines schönen Segelschiffs, der „Mare Frisium“ („das friesische Meer“, nehme ich einmal an).

… From the panorama floor, my husband has made a video of a beautiful sailing boat that left harbour. It was called „Mare Frisium“ (I guess that is Latin for „the Frisian Sea“).

Von den Landungsbrücken aus nahmen wird dann eines der Hafenschiffe, die übrigens zum ganz normalen Verkehrsnetz gehören, in Richtung Friedrichsruh. Am Ufer sieht man Prachtvillen, Graffiti und Strand, was will man mehr?  😉

… At the landing bridges we boarded one of the harbour boats, which actually are integrated into the public transport net, in the direction of a place called Friedrichsruh (Frederick’s resting place). On the bank you see grand villas, graffiti and beach, what more could one want?  😉

cof

Wir stiegen bereits am Museumshafen aus. Dort kann man all möglichen alten Schiffe besichtigen, Segler, Dampfschiffe, kleine Eisbrecher, Schlepper etc. etc. Das Wetter war inzwischen wunderschön warm und sonnig geworden, genau wie meine Freundin es prophezeit hatte. Nach so langer Zeit mal wieder all die altbekannten Orte zu sehen, war schon sehr besonders für mich.

… We deboarded one stop before Friedrichsruh at the museum harbour. There one can see all kinds of old ships and boats, sailing boats, steamships, small ice breakers, tugboats etc. etc. The weather had become warm and sunny in the meantime, just as my friend had predicted. It was very special for me to see all these old places after so many years.

 

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Wir wollten das Dampfschiff „Stettin“ besichtigen. Da dort aber Mittagspause war, setzten wir uns erst einmal in ein Restaurant mit diesem tollen Blick.

… We wanted to go on board the steamship „Stettin“, but they were on lunch break. So we sat down at this restaurant with the great view.

sdr

Die „Stettin“:                   … This is the steamship „Stettin“:

dav

Der Gentleman weiss sich in Positur zu setzen oder stellen … 😉

… The Gentleman knows how to present himself … 😉

sdr

Eine dieser wunderschönen Holzbänke hätte ich gerne mitgehen lassen.

… I would have loved to take one of these beautiful wooden benches with me.

dav

Der wichtigste Ort, die Kombüse. Man versicherte uns allerdings, dass dies nur die Kaffeeküche war, die richtige Kombüse wäre viel grösser.  😀

… The most important place, the galley. However, we were told that this was only the coffee kitchen, and the real galley was much bigger.  😀

dav

dav

Man konnte sogar in die Maschine, aber ich will euch nicht den vielen Fotos aussetzen, die ich dort gemacht habe. Wer sich dafür interessiert, kann sich die Fotos HIER ansehen.

… One could even go down into the machine, but I don’t want to expose you to the many photos that I took there. Those who are interested, can see them HERE.

mef

Wir nahmen dann das nächstbeste Schiff zurück zu den Landungsbrücken und lernten auf dem Weg ein sehr nettes Ehepaar aus Syrien und ihre niedliche kleine Tochter kennen, denen es gelungen ist, sich in Hamburg eine neue Existenz aufzubauen. Es ist doch schön, auch einmal eine positive Geschichte zu hören!

… We then took the next possible boat back to the landing bridges and met a very nice young couple from Syria with their cute little daughter on the boat, who had managed to build a new existence for themselves in Hamburg. It is nice to hear a positive story once in a while!

Dies ist das letzte Foto, das ich am Hafen gemacht habe, weil ich das Häuschen so nett fand. Es war aber nichts Romantisches, sondern gehörte zum Sielwesen.

… This is the last photo that I took at the harbour, because I liked the little house. However, it was nothing romantic, but belonged to the sewer authorities.

sdr

… und dann noch, ganz wichtig (finde ich), wenn ihr in die Gegend von Bramfeld, Ohlsdorf oder so in Hamburg kommen solltet oder es kein allzu grosser Umweg ist, fahrt zum Eiskaffee Höft in der Bramfelder Chaussee, Ecke Nüsslerkamp (mit „sz“). ES LOHNT SICH! (Unbezahlte Werbung)

… and then, very important (I find): if you ever come to the area of Bramfeld or Ohlsdorf in Hamburg, or it is not a too long detour, go to cafe Höft for an ice cream, which is on Bramfelder Chaussee, corner of Nüβlerkamp. IT IS WORTH THE WHILE! (Unpaid ad)

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Das war jedenfalls ein passender Abschluss für die beiden richtig schönen Tage in Hamburg.

… In any case, this was a great finale for the two wonderful days in Hamburg.

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Nostalgisches P.S.:
Auf dem Weg zu meiner Freundin kamen wir durch Eppendorf, einer meiner alten Ausgehorte als ich jung war. Die kleine Kneipe, wo Dienstagabend immer Jazz gespielt wurde, meistens mit Werner Böhm am Klavier, manchmal auch mit Gästen, existiert immer noch (die „Schramme“). Damals spielte Werner noch in der Rentnerband mit Peter Petrel und war noch nicht als Gottlieb Wendehals unterwegs (Werner, echt jetzt?). Damals war ich so um die 20 Jahre alt, das waren Zeiten … 🙂  😉  😀

Nostalgic P.S.:
On the way to my friend, we came through the part of town called Eppendorf, one of my old „haunts“ when I was young. The little pub, where on Tuesday nights they used to play Jazz,  usually with  Werner Böhm at the piano, sometimes also with special guests, does still exist (it is called „Schramme“). At that point Werner was still playing in the „pensionist band“  Rentnerband with Peter Petrel and had not yet metamorphosed into Gottlieb Wendehals (Werner, really?). I was about 20 years old then, those were the days … 🙂  😉  😀