Thankfully, the worst part was over first thing in the morning --- getting up! Come on, it always hurts to get out of the covers from a sponge bed to get ready for the full day, especially on a weekend. But soon the day started off well, with an early morning start and everybody fully packed and excited about the trip. As soon as we moved out of Edinburgh, we were presented with the scenic greens across the countryside. It was the middle of March, so the snow was just melting and roads were clear and sunny. We were in a bus -- or as they are called here popularly, a coach. The good part about it was the curtained but clear open fiber-glass panes that we had for our windows, but the bad part was the minimal number of stops. But we couldn't actually blame the less number stops --- we were covering about 350 miles in less than 12 hours. Yes, you can do the math.
Our journey went along smoothly, and we literally glided along the smooth roads all the way. And our coach's driver doubled up as our guide, and so we had a constant commentary going on all the time on the speakers in the bus (yes, we had a PA system inside the bus itself). Michael (our guide) knew a lot... ranging from Scottish history to local clansmen and their stories, from the formation of the lakes to the broken castles along the way. We wondered at times how a man could go on talking like that for so long. We went past beautiful mountains and lakes... and were all going snap-snap-snap all the time. What was most enchanting was the fact that we were passing so close to the mountains, the lakes and other places that we felt that we could almost touch them.
The snow-capped peaks were fabulous... somehow their edges seemed to melt into the bluish white sky, and it felt as if I could spend hours staring at them . But behind the snow were the rocks, dead solid and strong. Apparently, most of the place was formed out of volcanic rock. And so the colour of the rock edges jutting out from behind the curtain of snow looked dark and black. But man has forged his way through rock, snow and hail... and it gave me some kind of satisfaction to look at the bridge in the picture above. It represented man's triumph over the bare unforgiving rock, or so I felt.
I had seen beautiful scenery in and around Edinburgh before I went on this trip as well, but the way the scenic Scotland manifested itself as we toured past the lakes was beyond description. We just passed through the famous Lake District of the country, and along the way came Loch Lomond, Loch Ness and many other small and big lakes. I found myself humming
"You and I, in this beautiful world,
Green earth, blue sky, in this beautiful world".
All around, whenever we passed the lakes, it was really wonderful. Even the small canals had a sort of simple elegance. The beauty of simplicity and tidiness silenced me for a while as I found the man-made waterways in a peaceful harmony with the nature around itself.
The view from the boat was nice, but it was rather cold. Anyway, a little swaying with coll breeze on the boat and some snappetty-snappetty-snap never did anybody any harm, and neither did we break the tradition.
And so, all was well that ended well. As we went home through the evening, the best snap someone could manage of all the cities and lights we passed was this: