As I mentioned (and as she knows) Juno's wedding was the catalyst for our trip. Juno and I have been friends since our freshmen year of undergrad and have managed to keep close in spite of many factors which might have prohibited our friendship.
When she told us that she was getting married and considering running off to Scotland, it was difficult to say no. Partially because Thoth started dancing around the kitchen singing "We're going to Scotland!".
In truth, the trip was a tremendous drain financially, but worth everything we spent.
There were also archery classes, which we both tried and loved. No joke, our archery instructor's last name was "Strangeways". I thought it was just for show, but he assured me he was given the name at birth. We did the tourist thing and strolled to one of the many gift shops. Again, half Percy family and historical gifts and half "Potter" related gifts. At this point I became fixated on a model crossbow with the Percy family symbol on it. A crescent moon, which is also a symbol I have on my tattoos. I became convinced we needed it! No thought to how we would get it home. It was tiny. We would pack it in our already bursting luggage. Thoth was afraid it would break. It was study, so I am not sure why he felt this way. He mad us take turns carrying it by hand for the rest of our time in Scotland.
And that is what we had in our hands when we got lost in Skye. A model crossbow. In an Alnwick Castle tourist bag.
transport in the UK.
The next morning we were supposed to meet Juno and her husband to be at a bus stop in Skye. They had been brave enough to rent a car. Their plane was arriving in London and they were planning on driving a car directly up to Skye right after arriving. They would have already been at the hotel and offered to pick us up when our bus arrived. Luckily the hotel in Inverness had wifi. When I checked my mail and facebook accounts, I realized this would be a problem.
So what happened was when going through customs, Juno brightly told the agent that she was in the
UK for her wedding. When the agent asked to see the visa the trouble started. Had they simply said they were on vacation it would have been no problem. Had they flown into Ireland, France or anywhere in Europe before entering Scotland, there would have been no problem.
England is not a joke. I heard their security rivals New York. They are very strict. While Scotland itself might not require a visa, the UK does. And Scotland is part of the UK. So if you fly into London, they are strict. If you do not, oh well. Bureaucracy anyone?
So yeah. Juno and company were detained and questioned for hours as if they were criminals. She told me she could not pick us up and she was sorry. She hadn't even been sure she would be allowed to get married. Several other couples, she was told, were thrown back on planes the week before. However, because she had filed paperwork with the authorities in Skye, the agent took pity on her and told them they could get married. Provided they report back to London two days later. So they would be escorted out of the UK. So much for the two weeks that they had booked touring the country.
|Middle of nowhere Skye.|
"Ummmm, bus station?" I answered. That made sense.
So the next day when we took the bus up to Skye we were dropped off. In a field. Not a bus station. Our ticket was not for the stop we thought it was. No taxi was anywhere to be seen. I had to pee like crazy, but everywhere I looked were thistles and bramble. Ouch. I told Thoth I was going to walk up the road and see if there were any houses. He expressed it might be dangerous. I told him that we have a crossbow. It was either that or put our thumb out to hitchhike.
After knocking on several doors we were still shit out of luck. A few were bed and breakfasts, but they had a no vacancy sign up. No one answered. Weird, we thought, since one of the guests could need help with something. I came upon a house where the sound of a chainsaw was coming from the yard. It looked like it was under construction.
|There are worse places to get lost.|
Finally we saw a closed restaurant. There was an older man in the back behind it. I called to him. After a few seconds he came out to greet us. Our suitcase was ripping at the seams at this point. We told him our story and he kindly invited us in. He and his wife called their friend Bob to take us to our hotel. His wife told us that the B&B hosts put out no vacancy signs so no one bothers them. Bob came and picked us up. He used to run a taxi service in Skye but had retired years ago. He was happy to help us out. We apologized for putting everyone out, but they waved us off and send us on our way.
We arrived at the hotel hours before poor Juno who had not slept in 48 hours.
|Our destination. Thanks, Bob!|