|Travelling with Robbie Burns||Perth in the Rain|
|Travelling with Robbie Burns|
This time the train trip was a very different experience. First of all, we had a world of space. More important, I had the delightful company of Robbie Burns of Edinburgh. The route took us over the Firth of Forth bridge, thru Inverkeithing, Kircaldy, Markinch and Ladybank; and Robbie, having travelled this route since before I was born, knew wonderful things about the places we saw.
The bridge was probably the best part. The view was breathtaking, and there are intriguing ruins at the middle of the bridge. As we passed through Aberdour, Burntisland, and Kinghorn, with the ocean close enough to touch, I listened to tales of the ancient kingdom of Fife, and how stoats hypnotize hares by dancing around them.
|Perth in the Rain|
Soon I was in Perth, and too early for my hotel. A fellow traveller kindly watched my bags while I made a stop -- all luggage lockers have been made unavailable in the stations, for security reasons, and you can't possibly imagine how tiresome it is to drag one's luggage into a stall built for chihuahua dogs.
A bright spot was that I got a chance to try the national soft drink of Scotland, Irn-Bru. Irn-Bru has been much discussed in the Hamish group, and I couldn't wait to try it. Well, it is the king of all junk food. It is made entirely of ferrous citrate, sugar, and caffeine, and tastes like bubble gum. Still, it put me in the spirit of things.
Spirits that were soon dampened.
Perth was a bitter disappointment. It is rated as the best quality of life in Scotland, and is loved by residents and tourists alike. But the rain kept me from enjoying it the way it/I deserved.
But Perth did have an nice pedestrian area with impressive shops. Lots of things I've seen nowhere else, which is rare. I tried Crabbie's Green Ginger Wine -- waugh!! -- what a LOATHSOME invention! -- tasted like toilet cleaner. This while watching pseudo-MTV, Marvin Gaye singing "Sexual Healing", with little info clips like, "sex relieves arthritis" (could it be true? no wonder I can barely walk).
I found a post office that actually handles mail, and mailed myself an enormous box of dirty laundry and absolutely everything else I thought I could do without, at a cost of my annual mortgage payments, but I'd become sick to death of hauling my luggage up 3 flights of stairs everywhere I went. Being well-prepared is a bad thing, too much luggage.
I was somewhat cheered by the very nice hotel, the Park Lane. Michael is the nicest host you could imagine, and very helpful & knowledgable about Perth, and we had some good conversations. I felt like a cherished daughter in my immaculate and lovely princess-loft.
I searched for a cyber café in Perth, but there is none. However, I was invited to use the Email facilities by the nice people at CompuTech Computer Sales and Service (on Scott Street, 447-766, FAX 447-788). At that point I was too tired and wet to take advantage, but I'll remember them for their kindness.
The next day I tried so, so hard to have a good time.
I did check out the museum, to see an exhibit of Beatrix Potter watercolours. I had been expecting to see images of the little bunnies and things, which would have been great, but it was even better. It turns out, she had studied and trained to be a mycologist, but they wouldn't let her because she was a woman, and these were paintings she'd done of fungi during her studies. They were exquisite. In addition, there were well presented exhibits on the Tay River, flora & fauna of the area (stoats and badgers -- YAY!) and I much enjoyed it.
But the rain was getting me down. It was difficult and sometimes painful trying to take pictures with an umbrella in my hand, my camera was soaking wet, and so was I. The last straw was as I walked under an ancient stone bridge, and giant slugs began squirming out at me from the cracks between the stones. Just remembering it gives me the willies. So I picked up some take-away pizza (from Pizza Hut, God help us all) and gave up on everything.
In the morning, Brian arrived smack on time, and we headed for the Highlands.
|Photos of Perth|
|Chronicles, Part Four|