by cheri sabraw
We exited Limerick, Ireland, heading to Shannon Airport to drop the VW Van off at the rental lot. We Americans are a wee bit spoiled. Why, we just assume that there will be personnel at a rental car return at 8:00 am in the morning. We also just assume that signs will direct us to the rental car return.
In Ireland, such assumptions are rawmaish. Not only were there no signs for Sixt Auto Rentals– so we became stuck, twice in short term parking–all six of us and our luggage, now gorged with souvenirs. Once located, the Sixt Rental lot, a mile from the airport, was dark and vacant.
In a mini-panic, we called the office and a sleepy young man answered. “We are here to return our van, hired in Dublin last week. Are you coming? (We did not mention its condition, wisely.)
“Ok, right! now, guys. On the way..” And so it went.
On to Scotland, home of golf, rain,midges, golf, lochs, haggis, rain, and kilts.
These robust Scots are wearing the Campbell clan tartan. We learned from our guide that the Campbell clan is Scotland’s (so to speak) black sheep and in a country where the sheep outnumber the people, that is saying something. They warred with the McDonald clan during the Massacre at Glencoe in 1692. These guys, as you can see for yourself, boast some impressive calves and mighty shoulders.
I should mention at this point that my sister and her husband, who had wisely decided to tour alone for part of the trip in London, arrived by train to Edinburgh, filled with tales of Brexit, Kensington Palace, Westminster Abbey and the like. Schooled in One-Upsmanship, the McBlock clan (known for warring with each other) tried out limericks and side-swiping but to no avail.
Now, there were four. Four siblings and four spouses, two of whom are related. Eight people between the ages of 58-69.
The group’s size, coupled with certain siblings’ and spouses’ decisions to cart duffel bags full of sport coats, golf shoes, and dresses!, had now burgeoned so much that we were attracting attention wherever we went. The word “went” is far too eloquent to aptly describe our gait. We trundled.
To get away from overdoing it in the whiskey category, we left Edinburgh and headed in a small bus over the Firth of Forth to the beach in the Kingdom of Fife, Elie, Scotland, where we had been told it would be easy to get up to St. Andrews, only 14 miles away. As it turned out, Elie is a charming sleepy beach village with two buses an hour, one deli and one souvenir shop. Where would we test fish and chips in Scotland? But more important, where would we buy our wine, vodka, tonic, limes, cheeses, chips, dip, meats, wine, yogurt, berries, wine and other foods?
We had been told that Scotland was modern, so “I know, ” said one of my wise siblings. ” Let’s call Uber.”
Look at this street. Do you really think Uber will come?
And no, it did not, so we were forced to all get on the same bus with the local school children to head to Anstruther, where we had heard the best fish and chips in Scotland is made.
The theme in the Anstruther Fish and Chips was the color white.
We downed the fish and chips, agreeing that they were delicious but those of us who had been to Ireland, voted the Fish Box still the best chips around.
To fully describe shopping in the Anstruther Co-op Market with 8 people, I will need to take a writing break, so as to fully characterize why being the oldest child can send said oldest children into therapy.