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Tue, 29 Dec 2015
day 03 in braveheart land (0 comments)
today we fetched our rental car. the pick-up station was only 15 minutes by foot from our guest house. i had to start driving, as usual, as nina does not like to drive on the left side. well, neither do i, but we have to get moving. so, trying to always have a car in front of me, we made our way out of edinburgh. here is a tip to rent your car cheap and reliably available exactly when and where you need it: use adac/oeamtc. you do not even need to be a member, and it is still way cheaper than booking the car elsewhere. if you have a membership, it gets even cheaper. we were positively surprised by the price and availability. total recommendation. and for booking flights and stuff, we recommend sta-travel. no matter when/where we went on a trip abroad, they always found cheaper and more convenient flights than any online check site. and a total no-go is opodo. do not ever use their services. any. ever. no. don't. scots love roundabouts it seems. even on their highways they have roundabouts from time to time. weird concept, but it seems to work, once you get the hang of it (which took me a while). and in and around edinburgh there were loads of them to practice. after about one hour of slow and cautious driving we arrived in falkirk, at the "helix park". there they have "the kelpis"[001-031], two huge equine head sculptures. they are a reminder of all the work horses that had to pull boats along the forth and clyde canal, that ends in the hub, where the kelpies are now.
really huge, really impressive, really amazing. their height is about 30 metres and each one weighs around 300 tonnes. in sunlight their are really awesome (we were once more lucky with the weather). if i should ever become an artist i might try that with feline head sculptures - i think i would like that. fun fact: at the time of writing this bLog entry, google maps still shows a green field where all this is standing today. the sculptures were finished in october 2013.
after another hour of driving we arrived in stirling[032-128], parked our car, paid the parking fee, and headed towards the castle. to get there, we took the route through the cemetery at the church of the rude[034-055], a really beautiful grave yard.
entrance fee to stirling castle[056-128] is also included in the explorer's pass. it also allows you to use a fast lane at the entry. although there weren't that many people. firstly because it was off season, and secondly because it was already 15:00 o'clock again, so the sun began to set again. days are really really short here. sun rise is around 08:30 o'clock, and seven hours later it sets again. that's something we did not consider when choosing scotland as our destination. but the good thing is, we take way fewer pictures than on other previous trips.
fortunately sterling castle also got lit beautifully once the sun went down. so again it was beautiful to see the outside, and also the inside of the castle.
there weren't many people, and also due to the size of the castle, people are spread all over the area, so there is quite a good distribution of the visitors.
while wandering the halls with all their amazing interior furnishing, carpets, fire places, cupboards, beds, etc. a warden in the museum started to explain a lot of stuff and answered all our questions. he patiently followed us from room to room, and it took us a while until we noticed that he turned off the lights once we left a room. so we were the last visitors again, again escorted by the staff. but this warden, an older bearded man really was nice and did not urge us to hurry or leave immediately; maybe because we were so interested in his explanations, and asked so many questions. so we thanked him a lot for all the valuable information and insights and he left us at the castle gates. two hours of driving later we arrived in stonehaven, checked in at the "shorehead guest house", a house right at the sea front. in stonehaven it was pretty stormy. when i had traditional fish and chips and nina had a variation of fish at the harbour restaurant next to our guest house, the windows were heavily shaken by the strong gusts of wind. after the delicious dinner we went to bed, hoping the wind would not be any harm to our accommodation or our car. track for day 03.

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