The Natatorium

An emporium of oddities from around the world, complete with somewhat informative plaques that almost never match the item they are meant to be describing.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

So Delightfully Creepy...

Well, as you have probably noticed, I went to Dublin two weeks ago and still haven't posted about it. I've been lazy and busy and what have you. So I decided that I'll just have to skip it and move on, because I don't have the energy to write about two trips right now and if I don't I'll be perpetually behind. So if you want to know what I did in Dublin, look at the pictures. The only thing I will say that you probably *can't* get from the pictures is that the cold in Dublin was somehow more.... cunning than the cold in London. It didn't seem like it was actually that much colder, but for whatever reason the cold in Dublin just gets under your skin, right down to the bone, and stays there. I didn't get warm the entire time.

Another experience of note from Dublin: I met Oscar Wilde. That's right; my long lost lover through letters and I finally met face to face. Or... face to ankle... or something. It's in the pictures, if you don't believe me. ::sigh::

Moving right along to Scotland.

Edinburgh was absolutely wonderful. It was delightfully, fantastically, irresistibly CREEPY. Oh, I loved it. I want to move there and write. The atmosphere is rich, and spectral, foreboding, and in all other ways entirely agreeable. We visited Edinburgh Castle, and got some great views of the city and beyond. We walked down the royal mile and climbed up twisty narrow "closes," which is what they called the alleyways that led up through the different levels of the old town. Again, you can see all this in the photos, but being there was so intense... I felt the haunted atmosphere engulf me in such a delightful way. Needless to say, I have aspirations of moving there someday, for a period, to write. I think the mood there would be exceedingly conducive to me maintaining a melancholy and slightly superstitious state.

And then we went to the Highlands. Oh, glorious Highlands. I was thrilled to be out in the countryside after having spent almost all of my time so far in Europe in cities, and the Highlands are quite the magnificent piece of countryside. When I first saw them they reminded me of scenes from Lord of the Rings, and Hannah made the same comparison when I posted the first picture of me in front of a majestic view. We took a day trip out with a tour company, and shared a mini-bus (large van) with just 5 other people. It was quite pleasant, and our guide was knowledgeable and funny. He told us all the history around everything, and little tidbits of inside knowledge here and there, and he even took the girls and I up to a lake while the other tourists were taking a tour of the whiskey distillery. So I got to see a loch after all.

He told us all sorts of intriguing stories, including one about a particularly secluded and shadowy-looking mountain from which there have come tales of vampire attacks as late as the 1970s and 80s. I must admit I was quite thrilled and pleased to hear that bit of news, and more than a little interested in taking an expedition there. A haunted mountain would be another good place to write a book.

It was an absolutely perfect day, and, as you can see in the pictures, the sky just opened up. I felt so incredibly free on those hills, with the wind blowing and the endless sky reaching out in all directions. It was good for my soul. After frolicking on the hills a bit we went to an ancient cathedral, the church at Dunkeld, part of which was reconstructed and is still in use, and part of which was left as ruins. You can see both in the pics. I liked the ruins better; the grass and trees growing amongst the worn gray stone arches. Then we went to a forest of enormously tall trees and saw a wide waterfall. I felt so very at home there, I wished we could have spent more time. But soon enough it was back to Edinburgh. Not that I'm going to complain about Edinburgh.

One last note about the trip: I bought a poet shirt. One of those off-white, loose, flowing types with the leather cord laced at the top. Only all they had were men's, and so even though I got the smallest they had, it's enormous on me. I thought about giving it to some lucky boy when I get back, but I'll just wait and see if I grow attached to it or not. I slept in it once in Edinburgh, and I might wear it in public if I can find a way to cinch it properly. Rest assured, if it makes a debut, I will post a picture.

And now, scurry off to the Flickr site to see what I couldn't describe. Words cannot do the Highlands justice.

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