Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Preturnaturally Sublime Beauty of Scotland

The recent paucity of blog entries may be explained (at least in part) by the fact that my wife and I have been traveling all over Scotland; Edinburgh, Inverness, Loch Ness, Orkney, and Skye to be precise. We have just returned from our trip, after logging a bit over 1100 miles by car.

It was a magnificent trip, overflowing with memorable experiences and spectacular landscapes. Having brought back the equivalent of 40GB+ of raw files (my Hyperdrive was indispensable!), I look forward to the many digital darkroom days/nights it will take to process them all. As individual images warrant, and as I recall the stories surrounding them, I'll be posting some musings in the weeks ahead.

From a bird's eye view - as a whole, in Gestalt form - Scotland is a sublime, preternatural wonder of equal measures drama and serenity; it pulses with a quiet soulful elegance and beauty all its own. From its tranquil green pastures (punctuatued by the "baah-baahs" of its sheep and "moooooos" of its Highland cows), to its rugged coastlines, to its majestic Wagnarian-like skies and clouds, to the magnificent wind-swept jagged peeks of the mountains on the isle of Skye, to its many Castles and pre-historical sites (such as Maeshowe and Ring of Brodgar, both dating back to before 2500BC), Scotland is a land of almost infinitely diverse terrains and vistas. Its people are warm and friendly, its delicious food is as memorable, in its own way, as are its landscapes (though my wife enjoyed Haggis far more than I), and its single malt whiskys are second to none (our personal favorites on this trip were Highland Park and Glenmorangie)!

The one nasty part of our trip was driving in Edingurgh (1) without a GPS and (2) while the Fringe festival is going on. It is difficult enough for two people accustomed to driving on the right side of the road (in the US) to switch to left-side driving in Scotland (though this part was easy to adapt to), but when faced with street closures and "Diverted Traffic" signs (seemingly posted every other street), navigating Edinburgh proved almost impossible. That we did so the first time around while also sleep-deprived after overcoming what amounted to a 36 hour multi-leg plane trip that finally got us over to Scotland, borders on the unreal; certainly that is how my wife and I both remember it;-) Our experience has thus led to a new sacrosanct Ilachinski "trip rule": never, ever - ever! - drive a car in a major foreign city without a GPS and before getting at least one good night's rest. (Sacrosanct trip "sub rule": if the major foreign city has a festival going on, don't drive under any conditions!).

5 comments:

Jim Hayes said...

Our paths were similar. My wife and I just returned from almost three weeks in Ireland with only 32 gig of pictures. On our next to last day we got caught in Tralee for the "Rose of Tralee" festival. What a mess. Thank goodness we were well rested and I paid extra for a standard shift. See bloghayes.blogspot.com.
Jim Hayes
Dayton

worldwide1 said...

wonderful black and white image...

Anonymous said...

I live in Scotland and can't get around Edinburgh just now, even with satnav, because of the random street closures because of the new tram line construction. You did well to make it out in one piece!

neroangelo1 said...

I'm with Anon above. My ex used to be at Uni just outside Edinburgh before the road closures for the trams. I gave up one night driving around and went into the nearest Halfords to buy a Sat Nav!So you did extremely extremely well to get around the way it is just now!

Krissa said...

beautiful