United Kingdom & Republic of Ireland 
day 7  August 8, 2005  Glasgow, Duone, Stirling, and Edinburgh, Scotland
We woke up at six, got to the train station and hopped on the train to Stirling which was waiting at the platform. As we walked to the bus station in Stirling to figure out how to get to Duone, we saw a bus stopped at a stop sign, leaving for Duone, so we hopped on. We got to Duone a little after eight and looked for Duone Castle, the main castle in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
We arrived before the castle opened so we hiked through paths around the castle. One of the paths led to the river below the castle, one of its natural defenses. There were many bunnies around that castle which reminded us of the killer bunny scene in the movie. Inside the castle there was one spiral staircase that led to many alcoves and passageways. It was as much fun as Tom Sawyer's Island when we were kids.
After we toured the castle, we went to the gift shop and requested to use their coconuts. The other guests at the castle thought it was funny when they realized what we were doing, some just thought we were weird. It was fun. Then as we left down the road, we pretended that we were riding horses whenever a car drove past.
We caught a bus back to Stirling. Then we waited for the tour bus to Wallace Monument. We hiked up to the Wallace Monument. We didn't want to pay to go to the top but we could have gone anyway because no one was checking tickets. It was an integrity test and we passed.
We waited for the bus again. As soon as we got to the train station, the train was coming. We headed for Edinburgh. We got there just past 3:30. We headed to the museum of Scotland and wandered around. Then we trekked up to Edinburgh castle. The path up was packed because of the Fringe Festival. In front of the castle they were setting up for a tattoo, so there were grandstands. This took away from the overall grandeur of the castle. It cost 9.80 in pounds to get into the castle for each of us and there was not a lot of time left that the castle would be open. We did not go inside. We went through a little gate to get to a park going down the hill under the castle. We thought there might be a cool view of the castle for a picture. We went only a little bit inside (It took like a minute or two) and decided that there wasn't going to be a good view. We turned around to go back when a man (Jon would like to call him Satan), that had been standing near the gate when we walked through, told us he locked the gate so we could not go back. Considering we had just hiked up to the top of the hill just 15 minutes earlier, we were not excited about hiking down to where we didn't know where we were or how to get back to the places we wanted to go. We were a little lost and peeved that the man did not inform us that he was going to lock the gate a minute after we walked through it.
We found our way back to Castle Hill Street so we got our bearings back. We ate at the White Elephant which is supposedly where JK Rowlings birthed the concept of Harry Potter. We walked up to the counter and ordered. The servings were small but it was cheap and yummy. The atmosphere (except for the occasional smoker) was relaxing so we sat and read. When six 'o'clock came around we waited to order a dinner meal because Jon was still hungry. The evening meals were served at the table beginning at six. We waited a half hour and started desperately staring down servers so someone would come to our table. We ordered 2 meals even though Lisa was not that hungry. By 7:05 our food had not come. Once again, with Lisa now hungry, we stared down the servers considering we didn't know who our server was. Our food came (finally) and it was yummy even though Lisa's lasagna tasted like enchilada.
From there we went in search of Arthur's seat. We went to the area and honestly didn't quite know which gigantic hill was his seat or which path would take us to the unknown hill. Lisa panicked at the sight of people walking along a supposed ledge and someone dangling their feet in relaxation. A friendly lady from the embassy helped us and then eventually offered us a ride to one of the lochs close to the top. Up the grassy Braveheart hill we climbed (Lisa, slow and steady - it wins the race, and Jon charging ahead). The view from the top was a 360 degree fantastic panorama that showed all of Edinburgh, the hills to the left, and the Firth of Forth (an estuary). A pleasant man named Eric, a man who climbed the Seat with dress clothes on and his trousers were unbuttoned and sweat spots shone through, talked with us about the city. After enjoying the spectacular sunset, billowing white clouds in front of the orange sky and the bangs announcing the start of the Tattoo, we hiked down and walked back to the train station for the train to Glasgow.
On the train, a peculiarly drunk Canadian fellow joined us in first class, Jon trying to read and lisa, to journal. Mike, as he introduced himself 3 or 4 times throughout the trip, wouldn't leave us alone. Lisa hoped dearly that he would be forced to leave when the tickets were checked, Mike not having a first class ticket, not having any ticket, but also not able to pay the 20 pound fine if they caught him - his pub-hopping made sure of that. The attendant came, checked our tickets (Jon and Lisa's), and left without checking Mike's as he pretend to fish around in his pocket for it. Lucky us. Lisa had trouble doing the journal and Jon accomplished no reading because of Mike, who repeated frequently that he was nervous of Lisa's writing in the journal. He incessantly invited us back to the college with him to meet all the famous bagpipe bandos that were staying at the dorms for the International Bagpipe Competitions (his band he said was 4th in the world). We incessantly refused his invitation.
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