The Land of the Kilts

9:07 AM

     "Fasten yer saftuh belts as wuh prepahre tae lahnd," our Highland pilot bellowed over the garbled speakers on our dodgy Ryanair flight. This was undoubtedly the fastest flight I had ever flown, taking a mere twenty minutes from Belfast City Airport to Glasgow, Scotland. We´d spent more time in the airport, as a matter of fact. I smiled bemusedly to myself as I thought back to a few minutes before.

      Ryanair has strict policies on the weight and length of carry-ons.  Before one gets on the plane, one has to check the carry-on by putting it in a small cage-like container to measure its approximate size. Passenger after passenger in front of my Deutsche Frau and I gently put their carry-on in the cage and pulled it out in front of the smiling stewardess. All this seemed fine by me, until it came time to check my little beast. Now, being my American self, I had stuffed as much as possible into my tiny bag, not wanting to pay the fee for checked luggage. My turn came. I picked up my bag and put it in the container, but it didn´t quite fit. Another shove; nothing happened. Smiling, in what I hoped was a charming, nonchalant manner, I gave it a forceful push. Still nothing happened. Franzi then came and helped me, and, with a series of groans, we shoved the enemy into submission. Now I was positively triumphant! The stewardess, meanwhile, was not amused. Realizing my time was short, I attempted to release the fatty (the bag that is). I picked it up by the handle, but the entire cage came with it! Next, in a dragging movement, I pulled the bag, the cage, and the connected signage. Furious inside, I began to mentally use all of my internal reserves of swearwords towards the insolent creature. Finally, out popped my luggage and we got on our way.

      Ryanair is notorious for extra charges, which makes sense because of the constant deals they advertise like "Flights to London for a pound!" What they don´t tell you is that even the rest rooms are basically slot machines: 20p a pee!!! Even your urine can be turned into gold!

      But now we were arriving in Scotland! As we walked the streets of Glasgow, I kept my eyes peeled for any Gerard Butler look-alikes, but to no avail. Anyone who has visited Scotland has probably had the eerie feeling of being haunted by a terrible bag pipe player. In reality, anyone in Scotland who can pick up said bag of screaming cats, will most likely, at some time, use this to lure unsuspecting tourists into emptying their pockets. Some of the bagpipers are actually quite good.  They form bands dressed entirely in kilts, often with no shirts, and parade the streets, thickening their accents for perpetually delighted Americans.

    Soon, we got hungry and decided to go to a grocery store to get some bread and cheese for a quick lunch. (Germans despise eating out if they can get more food for a cheaper price ;). Since it was a rare sunny day, we decided to sit in front of a store and eat our cheese. We hadn´t really thought through how we were going to eat said cheese, so Franzenmeister decided to go into a Poundland (the equivalent of a Dollar store) to buy some plastic knives. Searching out the whole store, she found nothing but a large,sharp, kitchen knife.The formerly calm cashier became quite startled at this obviously German woman buying nothing but a gigantic knife. I´m pretty sure she thought World War III was upon her.

     Next we ventured into Edinburgh, which I can truly say is one of the most exquisite cities I have ever seen. The Royal Mile, on which we stayed, is crowned by the enormous and extravagantly beautiful Edinburgh castle. Below this is the train station, surrounded by hills of blooming daffodils and green, green grass, where everyone steals as much sunlight as possible. Also nearby,  if you are with some mountain goat Germs :), one can climb Arthur´s Seat, a great Scottish mountain of sorts, with foothills covered in good Scottish heather and peaked with dark, ominous rocks. Edinburgh is definitely the most beautiful city in Scotland and I was quite sad to leave.

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