Read part one of this travel log first, if you haven't done so already..
Reay (Northern Coast of Scotland) - I woke up in the middle of the night. Heavy rain and strong winds raiged outside my tent. I wiped my nose with my hand. Blood, just as I expected. I didn't want to bleed all over my sleeping bag and the inside of the tent, so I opened up the inner tent and leaned out into the outer pitch. It was a bad move not to bring the tissues from the car. My buddies tent was at least 20 meters away and my calls just barely reached him through the rough weather. I tried to tell him to bring me some toilet paper. By that time my hands and face were covered in blood. I would have gone outside and get the tissues from the car myself, but I was naked in my sleeping bag and getting dressed would have resulted in a bloodbath.
The response from the direction of my friends tent wasn't what I was expecting. Throug the sound of the scourging winds, I could barely make out several voices. There were lights moving around outside, and I could recognise the word "police" from the distant conversation.
What to do? Normaly, I'd go outside and see what's going on, but being coverd in blood might send out the wrong message. So I stayed put, my nose still dripping thick blood. Some minutes went by until my pall came to my tent and brought clarification allong with toiletpaper.
It's the anti-terrorism devision. They want to know why we are camping so close to a nuclear power plant. We had no idea that the factory five miles down the road was in fact a nuclear facility. We were allowed to camp there, but they just wanted to check whether or not we were on a list of terrorists. Fortunately for me, after my friends identety was cleared, they didn't bother to check the bloke in the second tent. That would have been bloody awkward.
Up until now, we have mainly been driving from desillery to destillery, but up in the most northern part of Scotland there is a large area where there are no destilleries at all. Actually, there is one on the isle of Orkney, but the ferrie to the isle would have set us back a considerable sum. Such a shame though, Highland Park Whiskey is delicious and the island is said to have some nice medieval ruins.
Along the route, we took plenty of time to stop the car and have a look around. The windy beaches of the Scottish coast were amazing. We took some pictures, but they do not capture the vastness of the landscape.
At one point, we had set up camp on top of this lovely hill, overseeing a loch, that was connected to the ocean. We decided to head down to the waterfront and have a look around. Simply a matter of walking down this hill, we thought. However, from our location, we couldn't see 5that there was an other hill in between us and the water.. and one after that. ..etc. Still we walked on through, descending the increasingly steep hillside through a forest. It was well worth it. The waterfront provided a lovely view, and we caught a glimpse of a seal in the narrow bay. Going back was a bit of a challenge, but we made it just before it started raining. Little did we know that we picked up several hitchhikers along the way. Ten ticks each, as we discovered the next day.
The west coast felt like Jamaica in some places. Lush green vegetation,a pearly sea and tiny picaresque towns with bright red phone boots. I actually don't know if they have those in Jamaica, but I don't care.. I'm sticking to that Caribbean feeling.
Oban - Now this is a nice town, and it has the best distillery I have visited on this trip. The guy who showed us around really loves his job. We also got to have a taste directly out of the cask. Great scotch!
Continuing our journey south, we stumbled across the cover of our guidebook. It couldn't get more Scottish than a lone piper standing in front of an old castle. I really admire those guys for coping with that noise all day.
Two more distilleries - Edradour and Glengoyne. Edradour is the smallest distillery in Scotland and an amazing place to visit. It also has it's own bottelary. Bisides their own product, they also have special bottlings of other distilleries. I bought a seventeen-year-old Bowmore there. After that, there was time for one more distillery; Glengoyne. Now I like Glengoyne, I already had a bottle of their ten-year-old whisky at home and it tastes great. The distillery itself wasn't that special though, but that's okay.
Nearing the end of our tour, we experienced a hiccup when I hit a curb with the left front wheel, causing the tire to tear and the rim to buckle. Fortunately, the spare tire was of good quality. We quickly changed it and continued homeward bound.
Dover - Some time to spare before crossing the channel with a big tub. A few hours of shuteye.. some breakfast that will fill you up for the rest of the day.. strolling around the town. We spend some time sniffing through old books at a second hand book store. I bought a couple of pocket guides on trees, flowers, insects, birds etc. This last book was put to good use almost immediately when we walked past some birds that were unknown to us. They turned out to be Moorhens (Gallinula chloropus).
The White Cliffs of Dover bid us farewell, as we made our way back to the main land. I had a great time.. I reckon we both had a great time..
We might have to go back some day.. to do some more research on whisky, you see..
Good guys go to heaven, bad guys go to Scotland
Duinkerken - Optimism and enticipation mix with with that strange gut feeling you get when you think you might have left the stove on at home. The ticket booth for the ferry was on the passengers side. On board, half of the passengers was sleeping, which felt strange to me, for I was so full of energy, but was rather normal given the insane hour of 4 am. It wasn't until the next morning, after our first night sleeping in the car, that the white cliffs of Dover revealed themselves.
London - I couldn't drive past London without visiting the British Museum of Natural History. I don't really care for the tower of London, or the tower bridge, but we did roam through London and coaght a glimpse of those places through the drones of tourists. The Museum of Natural History was nice, but somewhat disappointing, because the exhibitions were clearly meant for people with absolutely no knowledge of nature, what so ever. It was nice to have been there though, so I can cross that of my list.
Edinbrough - Ah yes, Edinbrough. We've passed the Enlish-Scottish border before, but it wasn't until now that I've realy felt I was in Scotland. My travelcompanion ofcoarse made it a running gag to state; "NOW, we're in Scotland" at least once a day. In the mood for a hot drink, we stumbled on a small sign saying; "Forsyt's Tea Room". Down a narrow ally, trough the tiny wooden doors we went and we stepped into a whole other world. Mrs. Forsyt runs the tearoom by herself, and patience is recuired, but the main ingrediënt, Love, can clearly be tasted in the tea. "I'm making Lintel soup, it'll be ready for ya when you come back later". How can we say no to that? And we did go back for the lintel soup, which was delicious.
Edinburgh castle was under siege by American tourists, but the Whisky experience had a welcome feel to it. Water, yeast and malted barly would set the tone for the rest of our tour from there on.
The distileries - Would you like to make your own Whisky? Ask us how. Whilst touring through the Speyside area, we visited six disteleries. (The Glenlivet, Genfarglas, Cardhu, Strathisla, Glenmorangie and Glynelish) In no way did it become boring, and we quickly felt like experts, reminding the tourguide of details she left out. Interresting fact: Most of the tourguides were cute girls in their 20s. Stepping inside of a distellery at one O'clock in the afternoon, feeling rough and smelly from spending the night outdoors and getting a private tour from a lovely girl, who's constantly smiling at you and brings you delishious whisky.. awesome, just awesome.
Inverness - Our corridor to the north, Inverness, was where we chose to finally sit down and face our fear: Haggis had to be on the menu sooner or later. Staring at the steamy sheepsblater on my plate, the value of whisky became overly clear. It wasn't bad though. In fact, it was quite tasty. I would recommend it to anyone, but just don't think to much about all the intestants and organ parts that make up the ingredients list.
Check back here for Part Two.. Also, click on the image of the Tower Bridge and use the arrows to see the first set of pictures from the trip. That's it for now
This is my list of things I'd like to achieve, do or have. It includes stuff that isn't necessarily possible, or useful for that matter. It's in no particular order and I intend it to be a constant work in progress. I'll update it whenever I have achieved something on the list.
1. I´d like to repopulate the world after a disaster whips out all of mankind, except for (a couple of) attractive women.
2. I´d like to learn to play guitar.
3. I´d like to have an old-timer Jaguar in British racing green. (car, not a large cat)
4. I´d like to have a large crafts shop in my house, with all the necessary machinery to work with wood and metal etc.
5. I´d like to find a girl who´s a soul mate and also a lover. A girl to spend the rest of my life with.
6. I´d like to explore the deep sea in a bioengineered submarine that is partially alive.
7. I´d like to have a large bookcase in my home, that is at least two stories high and has a ladder on a rail alongside of it.
8. I´d like to build a brand new city that is completely self-sustainable and ecofriendly in every way.
9. I´d like to sit down and have a drink with Charles Robert Darwin, Martin Luther King, François-Marie Arouet, Carl Linnaeus en Antoni van Leeuwenhoek.
10. I´d like to brew my own Calvados, from my own orchard.
11. I´d like to have kids, be a good father to them and teach them all kinds of things.
12. I´d like my home to produce it´s own energy and be carbon neutral.
13. I´d like Frank Sinatra to sing “It had to be you” at my wedding. (I know he’s dead)
14. I´d like a turkey salami pastrami sandwich.
15. I´d like to go to a fancy party dressed as captain Jack Aubrey from Master and Commander: The far side of the world.
16. I’d like to be Hugh Hefner for a day or two.
17. I’d like a part of my home to only be accessible by a secret entrance though a bookcase.
18. I’d like to regain the creativity I had as a kid.
19. I’d like to build a fort on an inhabited island with my bare hands, on my own.
20. I’d like to be able to read women’s thoughts.
21. I’d like to be able to understand women’s thoughts.
22. I’d like to learn to speak Norwegian.
23. I’d like my friends to live nearby so we can hang out and drink coffee all day every day.
24. I´d like to have some awesome, stylish, handcrafted whiskey glasses. (done, got some nice glasses in Scotland)
25. I´d like to have a dishwasher.
26. I'd like to be able to retain my laughter when I'm doing a prank.
(e.g. acting like Charlie Babbitt when in a crowded area like an elevator.. Oh oh, fart!)
27. I'd like to be alive two weeks from now.
Check back for more
Holy crap, has it been six months since my last blog?! That's insane, because it doesn't feel like that long. A lot of stuff has happened though.. well of coarse it has.. it's been half a year. As I read my last blog entry from new years day, I'm reminded of all the hope and positive thoughts I had for this year. I had the mental energy, but I was lacking the physical strength to turn things around, even though I didn't quite realize that at the time. Now I know why that was. I spend six weeks in the hospital because of an inflammation of one of my heart valves, which could have easily led to a mild case of death. Now, having recovered completely, I feel stronger than ever.
However, that still doesn't explain why I haven't updated my blog. It's not that I didn't have the time for it, quite on the contrary. I guess the entire situation kept me from expressing myself. In fact, I haven't been creative in any way, for a long time now. But now that the smoke has cleared, and life is somewhat back to normal, I feel the need to be inventive and creative again. I used to make stuff on a regular bases, whether it was a drawing, a sculpture or a useful object, I always had a project of some sort. I'd like to bring that back into my life.
Okay, call it a slow start, but this is what I came up with.. I've modified an old light fixture and made it into a wall mount, and I've replaced the glass cover with a coffee cup. I only used stuff that I had lying around the house, and it's very practical too, because I didn't have a sufficient reading light near my bed.
It's simple but I love it.
A brand new decade.. a new year begun. And what a year it has been, during most of which I had the fortune of being in a loving relationship. The past 365,25 days did bear some major setbacks, but in the end brought me a bit closer to where I want to be.. or better yet, to whom I'd like to be.
I'm not so big on making new-years resolutions, just because it's Silvester's'-eve, but coincidently I happen to be at a point in my life in which it makes sense to do so. Recent developments in my life brought me a long list of epiphanies, about which I feel very relieved. I won't bore you with the details. I'd just like to point out that all these realizations and the resolutions that evolved from them, are shockingly common and ordinary.
Alright, so I realized the true value of a loving relationship, and I now know my priorities in life. I was also educated about my weaknesses and how to avoid getting very depressed again. But after all said and done, my resolutions for 2011 are: "Eating healthier, getting more exercise, study more, being more open to other people." .. A cliché?.. maybe, but it really feels like a new start to me.
So.. from my seat at the gate of a boring small town airport, I wish you all the best in 2011. We can't possibly foresee what this year will throw at us, but we can meet it with an open gaze. I can't help think we are all travelers, so the best thing to do is enjoy the ride. 2011 is what you make of it. Have fun!
Happy new year and all the best,
Thats right, I did, and I´m not ashamed for it. Everybody has their weak moments.. I caved and participated in the hype.. But I want you to know that it wasn't because of "peer pressure", "feeling left out", wanting to be "cool", or even because of the actual need to communicate faster that I Twitted. (Lets be honest, when is it ever about communicating) No, none of it all! I signed up at Twitter out of curiosity.
I wanted to know if I could display my tweets at a side menu of the blog, and apparently that can be done. Twitter offers handy apps to copy into your site, which is nice, but the e107 system doesn't display it. You'd have to make e107 display html, and make use of an iframe. So that makes it possible for me to write a 140 character long message and post it on my site, without even going to my site. Yay! Instead, I would have to go to my Twitter account to post it. I't a bit more difficult to do it via SMS. You see, from the Twitter account page, you cannot select that you are living in the Netherlands. Apparently the service is not available here. I could however go to some other website, link my Twit' account to it, and pay them big money (in addition to the normal SMS fee) for everything I post. I don't really feel I'd like to pay extra for something that trivial. Bottom line, I still need an internet connection to post something, so that Twitterthing is bogus.
Ahh.. I'm past that awkward experimental phase. I know what it is about now, so I can stop wondering about Twitter and avoid it like a normal person.Okay, I don't really hate Twitter, It's just that I don't have the need to follow anyone and spend a huge chunk of my time reading about how bored someone is or getting a stool update. Blogs are different. I like reading blogs and see how other peoples minds are rambling on about stuff. Blogs aren't always interesting either, but at least the blogger thought about what he/she wrote and has more than 140 characters to get into the subject of post.
Twitter is not for me. Consider the Twit-menu gone.
First off, I noticed what I think is a weird inconsistency in the English and Dutch language.. In both languages it's common to say that someone is sitting "in front of the TV" and also "behind his computer". I think that's weird, being that in both cases, the images on the screen are facing in the same direction.. It might have something to do with the position of the observer, but that too is always different. Forgive me my pointless ponderings, but I'm glad to have it off my chest.
Whenever I'm staring into space, I'm probably thinking of something stupid like this.
On an entirely different note; Syrinety and I went to Ikea yesterday. Although we really need a bookshelf, we didn't drag home a "Billy" this time. We decided to wait buying additional furniture until we have found a home. Instead we got some kitchen gear, like pots, pans, stainless steel mixing bows, and a cool looking fruit bowl. I'm very happy with our purchases and can't wait till we finally get our own place.
We also brought home two plush mice, who we named Garry and Barry, and are currently residing amongst our duvets and pillows. I do hope that they are indeed both male mice, because two of these vermin are enough for my taste.
Thats all for now,
Have yourself a nice day,
Would you start a company, just because you thought of a great name for it, along with a fresh business concept..?
Syrinety and Moonslave where joking around about funny names for websites a while ago. They came up with a great name for an online store, and Syrinety told me about it. Jokingly, we went on developing a business plan, and I checked to see if the domain name was available. It is, both in dutch, and for the english .com translation. So we have 3 friends, sharing what seems to be a great idea... seeing an opportunity.. having a business concept that is new and refreshing... a possibility for starting a great business.. and what do we do with it?
Nothing, what so ever! .. It's actually quite a while ago that the girls first came up with the name.. and we haven't been talking about it since.. But I do think about it from time to time. I keep thinking that it's good that I haven't decided to invest my money to start a company based on a joke.. but at the same time, I can't help wondering what could have been..
You understand of coarse that I will not unveil the name, since there still is a change we might wan't to claim the domain in the future.. So besides the fact that we will have to deal with the feeling of doubt, regarding this issue, we have also lost a great joke.
Hello and welcome back,
Looking at this messy website today, you might think a bomb went off here, at the remarkable forums. And it kind of did.. A couple of days ago, the forum server has been hacked. I honestly don't know why anybody would hack our tiny, sleepy community, but I received a message from my web host provider that someone had uploaded and installed trojans and backdoor hacks. It seemed that the only way to be sure all the hacks were removed, was to delete the entire server. Unfortunately, my backups where kind of outdated, because I made a lot of changes online, directly on the server, without having a copy on my harddrive. It will take me some time to sort things out again.. and I might decide to leave stuff out entirely..
I'm sorry for the inconvenience,