Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Lowland Diary, Day 3

Time-zone lag causes chaos.

It's 8:45 PM local, and instead of going out to one of the nearby bars, I'm pretty well ready for bed. Like as in exhausted. But the odd thing is, it's 3:45 PM back home, so you'd think I'd have the opposite problem: Being awake at all ungodly hours of the night. I don't know. I'm completely out of whack, and very, very glad I have a day off at home before going back to work.

Assuming, of course, I still have a home.

Today, we went by car - driven by a nice fellow named David who I could almost understand most of the time - out to St. Andrews, and then a place called Falkland Palace.

St. Andrews, of course, is the birthplace of golf.

You know it's been around a while when the "New Course" dates back more than 100 years.

Then we went to a ruined castle and cathedral in the town.

I love castles, and ruins. And these were pretty cool. The castle was small, but had a beautiful view overlooking the North Sea, and the cathedral was amazingly huge - what was left of it.

Odd bit of story. There's a fellow named William Kirkcaldy, a knight who came up in the course of yesterday's visit to Edinburgh Castle. Seems he held the castle for the ousted Mary, Queen of Scots, through a two-year siege, then got executed for his troubles when he finally surrendered.

Well, turns out that a bit earlier in his career (obviously), he was involved in the murder of the cardinal who resided at... St. Andrews Castle.

There's also a town named after this fellow. Apparently, he was quite prominent.

So after examining the cool ruins, we took a bit of a walk through the university area of town - the U. of St. Andrews, by the way, seems to have a female/male ratio somewhat the opposite of the 3-guys-to-a-girl ratio at the Scottish-themed university I'm a little more familiar with.

(Not that I looked or anything, Marisa, just happened to notice in passing.)

Anyway, I did walk past the street sign, above. Perhaps something got lost in translation. Saw a "Ben Franklin slept here" sign, too.

Reminds me of a quote from one of my Sports Travel baseball tours. My buddy Roger is from England, and another fellow on the tour was from Texas, and he remarked that, the difference between England and America is, in England, they think 100 miles is a long distance, and in America, they think 100 years is a long time.

I mean, those ruins go back to the 1500s, at least, and the golf course goes back to the 1400s. The 1400s, for crying out loud! That's a lot of swearing and breaking of clubs against trees!

After that, it was on to Falkland Palace.

By the way, although I dozed quite a bit in the car, it seemed like everytime I woke up and looked out the window, there were horses or sheep. Lot of agriculture in Scotland, I guess. Baby sheep, by the way, are adorable. They look like funny little dogs.

So at Falkland Palace, I got a bit of interesting, and hideous, trivia from the audio guide. Seems King James VI (who was also James I of England) had a skin condition, and believed it exacerbated by the icky soap and unhygienic water of the day.

Thus, rumor says, he never bathed.

I don't mean the medieval "never bathed" that meant twice a year, whether you need it or not. I mean, they said he never, ever bathed.

Or washed his clothes.


On the other hand, the palace (also a bit ruined, for the tourists) featured a "royal tennis court" favored by Mary, Q of S.

Now, I love tennis, so I made a point of checking it out. Turns out it wasn't a royal tennis court, it was a royal tennis court. A different, albeit similar sport!

You learn something new every day.

I slept through the entire drive back, then took my parents out for a slightly belated anniversary dinner at Ciao Roma, which is not the Italian place we went the other day. Delicioso!

Also stopped at a bookstore and picked up some CDs for my girl, lover of Scottish alterna-bands.

And now, I need a nap.

On to the next part!


Marisa L. B. said...

So sweet for always thinking of me, My Munkee!

Marisa L. B. said...

Oh, and you still have a home. Its in fine condition too!