Scotland in Six – Kennetpans Distillery — Travels with a Kilt

Kennetpans Distillery Having spent some time in the spring touring around underrated Clackmannanshire, one of the things that lingered on my to-do list was a deeper exploration of Kennetpans Distillery. Truly the stuff of historians’ dreams, this seemingly insignificant ruin by the River Forth is nothing of the sort and it can be looked upon…

via Scotland in Six – Kennetpans Distillery — Travels with a Kilt

Americans Are Not The Only Annoying Travelers, and Other Musings

C9B37BCF-8421-41F5-8796-03EE44B59278I’ve just read through several ,”What Not To Do”, articles for traveling in Europe. I have to say that I know most of what is being said as true, Americans can be so annoying. I spend most of my traveling sitting and hearing other annoyed travelers going off about things. I keep my mouth shut, cringe at most things, get off a bus and find a place to just have a good laugh. Really, what saddens me is that people spend so much time and money to travel, that they waste time complaining about the most ridiculous things. Yeah, the airlines misplaced my luggage last year, so there are some things that can really mess with your trip. However, there are bombings going on. Some of what you are complaining about is really trivial in the greater scheme of things.

Oh, and I do realize that the people of Ireland and the UK shouldn’t be considered Europeans unless they decide to be. People are from their countries, and have cultures quite their own.

In the summer of 2016, I spent a few weeks traveling in Scotland. Of course with my luck, both the Clockwork Orange and Scotrail were not running, one with improvements, the other with strike actions. When I was heading back to Glasgow from Oban, we were rerouted on a luxury tour bus. Could have been worse. I actually got the tour bus free, didn’t have to pay £100.00 for the trip. But from the minute I stepped in the Oban train station, I heard that classic, 60 plus year old woman’s, greater London accent on a dirge of sarcasm voice. I stared at the wall, the suitcase, anything to keep my face still and silent. I love a good sarcastic rant as much as anyone, but she didn’t know when to stop.

The bloody Scots can’t keep a train going. It’s a good thing Teresa May has just got in, she’ll sort this. We’ve paid good money…

I’m sure some similar conversation was happening on the East Coast of the US, somewhere about changes afoot, the state of traffic.

To give you some context, Brexit stage 1 had just happened, and May had just entered into office. The husband of the woman said nothing the next two hours of highlands travels around Loch Lommond and down Glasgow way. Probably best, he pretended sleep I think. I tried not to grind my teeth, put the music on. Listened to the Gaelic being spoken, imagining some of it was commentary on the “woman”. I fantasized for about 20 minutes out from Glasgow about the bus driver being overcome by the passengers, and the woman being put out. Then I though the bus driver might just do it himself, without any encouragement. Bus drivers are only so patient.

Two days later in the West End of Glasgow, I was sitting in a eatery and having an Americano, I made the mistake of being friendly with the Brit next to me. Honestly, I was wondering what had happened with the Brits I was meeting, it must be this Brexit thing? True, any one I met from the north (Liverpool and such) seemed just fine. I had had great encounters all over Scotland with Scottish people. I could just turn to a stranger, smiling and a conversation would just happen. The Scots are just so happy about their country and proud of living there, always a fun conversation on just about anything. I Just avoided talking about politics unless it was brought up. But when faced with a Brit in that age range of 55 to 65 last summer, from the south, it was utter sheer annoyance that I dared to talk to them. Sadly, it got to the point where I just listened to people before uttering a word, and well you know we Americans just smile too much, tried to look aloof instead.

Guess it was the summer of malcontent both sides of the pond. Was it the age group?

Traveling This Year 

I am a bit apprehensive about this past year and political events coloring tourism for me on this trip. I love traveling and meeting people, hearing about their lives if they care to share experiences with a stranger. I try not to be offensive, and I really do not consider myself as typical American tourist. I come from Northern California, not LA. Please don’t lump me in. I’ll try not to stand there in pure wonder over a geographical location or castle with mouth hanging open. But really, shouldn’t the locals enjoy such things and still wonder at them? I am just happy to see any of it still standing, given acid rain and all.  With recent terrorist actions, can’t we all just embrace one another? Smile?

I wonder how it will be after the recent American elections fiasco and political atmosphere? Will people think I voted for current government, I can assure you I didn’t. I am a non violent person and try to respect other people’s rights and countries, and assume that I DON’T know everything. Hate to have to go around and not talk to anyone.

Don’t Go On About Your Ancestry. It is Assumed That’s Why You Are There.

Yes, I will be really be spending time in Ireland this year, and work really hard to not be annoying and ask really stupid things. Yes, the Irish went everywhere and much of the US population does have a drop or two of the blood in us. Quite a bit on my mother’s side. Can you blame me for wanting to see the country? It’s been on the bucket list for years. So was Scotland, for the same reason. I am going back this year because Scotland just has so much depth, I barely scratched the surface on the last visit. It told me to come back. But no, I will not be silly and fake an accent. Why would I insult someone? I’m going because I stood with feet on the ground last year for 3 hours and smelled the air in Ireland. It told me I was home, why are you leaving?

I come from California, but I am not LA. So I think I know a little bit about being type cast. I am hoping that if I talk to people, kindred spirits will pop up and a solidarity of humanity will prevail. There’s enough going wrong in all our countries, and many people are displaced and seeking asylum. How about some solidarity and familiarity? Oh, and I promise I very rarely use the word “awesome”, and I cringe at the words “awsome sauce”. There are so many better words to be used in this world.

My Travel Thoughts This Trip

1. Last year I did indeed go to that country where one of my favorite tele series is filmed. I did not fan girl once or mention it to anyone at all. I went to visit the country and people.

2. I am contemplating bringing my MacCallum kilted skirt and wether to wear it in Scotland. Would love to have annoying Americans come up and start talking to me and see what happens. Honestly though, I wear the thing all winter here in Portland, and well summer too sometimes because well, it’s Portland. We wear kilts. We wear anything for that matter. Oh, and the women’s is not a kilt, true kilt is worn on the right and much deeper pleats (filleadh beag). And more women are opting for bespoke men’s kilts these days. Break that stereotype.

Think I could get away with it?

The Playhouse #Fringe 2017 Line-up Announced @edinplayhouse #Edinburgh — Love Books Group

The Playhouse on the Fringe 2017 line-up announced Iconic Edinburgh venue to showcase works by five international performers, marking 70 years of Edinburgh’s world-famous festivals Tickets for sixth annual celebration at the Playhouse now on sale A unique take on rock ‘n’ roll, a musical insight into family dynamics, an improvised one-man musical, a self-retrospective […]

via The Playhouse #Fringe 2017 Line-up Announced @edinplayhouse #Edinburgh — Love Books Group

Great Escapes From Glasgow

Finding The Devil’s Pulpit and More in the Trossachs As a Glasgow boy, vacating the city for the outdoors leaves numerous open roads, all incentivising and grappling for your attention in their own unique way. None are more convenient or more accessible though than the fabulous Trossachs. In addition to my top picks in the…

via Day Trips from Glasgow – The Devil’s Pulpit and More — Travels with a Kilt

Fringe Festival at 70, Bigger, Better and Defiant

3894492440_9e61f57334_oBut will that change? Filled with politics this year, you bet.  In reading an article this morning on an interview with a founder of the Assembly Rooms Venue the Fringe festival in Edinburgh, there are fears that subsequent years will lose out in the international flare. Brexit fears and restrictions on visas will make the venue less attractive to performers from EU countries. Hard to think that something we all take for granted, such as a festival, could be so impacted by restrictions at borders. It certainly can.

The Fringe programs just got published. Last years fest was a massive beast with listings of nearly all performances. I lugged mine around with me all over Scotland. With the big 70th celebration this year, it promises to be an even bigger extravaganza. However, this can all change in the next 2 years if Brexit continues. Just think, Edinburgh expands it’s population every August to nearly 3 times it’s usual population. This includes people just touring the city and those specifically traveling to Fringe fest. In 2016, over 2 million tickets were sold in the month. So, if I massive influx this is happening, people are booking hotel rooms and spending a great deal on food, the local economy has a month of serious boom. This month is the month you have to book rooms months in advance as I discovered last year. The food offerings are enormous, and a lot of money is being made. What will happen if less acts can come to perform, if the festival loses it’s edge a bit due to restrictions on visas and performers rethinking that it may be easier to attend/perform in a festival in one of the EU countries? Will it mostly be a Scots only venue? Will the culture be less international? These are some of the questions coming up as all festival organizers in the UK brace for change. It’s not just the Fringe, but all festivals in the UK that have international performers may be affected.

The politics of the Fringe make it a great place to show union and solidarity. The festival is taking a without borders stance, celebrating the diversity of it’s performers and attendees. With current events in the world bringing a distasteful isolationism tone that is clearly against what arts festivals portray and celebrate, will the Fringe lose it’s edge? Not if organizers and performers have their say.

Secure armed police are now being seen in many public events all through the UK. There will be protests possibly and artistic political commentary throughout the fest.  This will not deter the performers and promoters. Themes promise to cover our current world state of affairs on refugees and political statements. Artists will express and share their views on the state of world affairs.

I am going with the thought in mind that this Festival is the perfect vehicle to portray all of life. I believe many of us attending will feel that this is the perfect time for this Festival to celebrate it’s 70th year, that it is a perfect symbol of cooperation and arts. You can see a microcosm of the world in a massive snow globe in a stage filled with many stages. I plan to pack in as much as I can in three days, what will you be planning for your days at the Fringe?

https://www.theguardian.com/stage/theatreblog/2017/jun/07/edinburgh-festival-2017-what-to-see-and-where-to-go

http://www.beyondthejoke.co.uk/content/3082/news-edinburgh-fringe-2016-sales-figures-released

http://www.scotsman.com/regions/edinburgh-fife-lothians/brexit-fears-for-fringe-ahead-of-70th-anniversary-1-4468002