September 7, 2005

Scotland Chronicles – Day 5 – August 24 – Minicoach Tour to St. Andrews

Knowing that it would be easier if we had a few days of planned activities I organized a series of tours over three consecutive days. This way a tour guide could be our caretaker and we could relax and spread out in a comfy van. It worked. One of the best choices we made.

Richard of Rabbies Tours arrived in a full highland outfit complete with kilt to escort us to St. Andrews. He started by giving us the history of Scotland, in all its bloody details, including Mary Queen of Scots and the challenges of her execution. Turns out our guide on day two, Douglas, gave us the same exact stories with all the same gross details. At least these Scots get their stories straight! Even Stephen was satisfied with their accuracy. In between tidbits of Scottish history Richard would turn up the car radio which he had tuned to Scottish music. My dad put a quick end to that feature. It is Klesmer or nothing.

The beautiful sights started at Crail Harbour a quaint little fishing village. One interesting, gory bit of detail is that sometimes fisherman would get swept out to sea. The only way to identify them was the pattern of their jumper (sweater) which was unique to each village. “Say, Bill’s late for dinner, any reports of argyle washing up on shore?”

My mother was again in her safari photography mode so Richard took on the challenge and guided the minicoach through all kinds of forbidden streets. It was a blast. One thing that Richard did start to realize pretty quickly was that once we were off the coach it was a challenge to get us back on board. Like wrangling cats. Someone always had to use a restroom (20 p. to pee was soon our motto) and we loved to shop. At some points it was just my mom who dashed off the bus, jumped over walls, climbed rocks and ran through yards all in the name of getting a good shot.

St. Andrews was spectacular too. We finally made it to the sights after finding a restaurant that met our various dietary preferences. Next Richard took us to Falkland Palace. Having been rudely awakened from my mid-afternoon nap I was pretty grumpy and opted to shop instead. Luckily my mom and grammie were game, so we pumped the economy a bit. Stephen and Matthew returned to the van very sweaty and let us all know that they had just played a game of garden tennis. What had I missed? I’m still suspicious.