The road less traveled

Saturday morning, San proposed that they go to the deli market. She was all in for that outing – wanted to see what such a market would look like in Scotland and what produce they would have on offer. It was raining that morning but since she was well equipped, they hopped onto the first bus going in that direction. Soon, the rain was coming down in earnest and they took shelter in the doorway of a hall hoping it would come to a drizzle and they could proceed to the market which was a street away from the bus stop.

Well, it did not get any better. When they had exhausted catching up with news of the family, they walked quickly down to the market. There was practically no buyers at that time but most of stalls had been set up: bread stalls, quite a few with smoked salmon both cold and hot smoked and other fish, buffalo meat, cheese, haggis and a few others. San was mainly after some not smoked salmon and buffalo meat that day. They did look at the bread but it was nothing too special and the prices were verging on the unreasonable.

Under a drizzle they reached home to huddle next to the radiator in the kitchen, have tea and chat. Hakim was leaving for Liverpool that day. So, they visited a bit with him, chatted some more and then made lunch. She made them her classic fish with leeks using the hot smoked salmon and serving it with these excellent potatoes that they had been eating since they got to Scotland.

When Hakim had left, using the same bus ticket of the morning, she left with Pirjo for a good stroll around the town centre. Pirjo took her to the national gallery to see the famous ‘Skating Clergyman’ and then they walked past the old churches, monuments and statues that abound around there. They went to see Grey Friar’s Bobby too. On the way they stopped in numerous wool shops to see if she could find the cardigan she was looking for. She had a specific idea in mind and was confident that she would find it in Scotland.

There were numerous tourists in the city, all equipped for braving the weather. It drizzled and then stopped and then started again. But they had a good visit by the time they headed back. They did not get the cardigan but they had found other stuff that they were looking for or not looking for.

Across River Firth

The next day, with Pirjo, they drove off to St Andrews. San had a booking for some show and stayed behind. They crossed the river via the same bridge as before and then stood on the other bank looking at the city. From where they stopped, they had a great view of the mouth of the river Firth and all its small islands, the water traffic and life on the river in general.

Small town on the way

On the way to St Andrews they passed many small towns with their quaint houses, with flowers on window sills as well as cattle in the meadows and fields of rapeseed flowers. Speed was limited but there was no hurry, the target was St Andrews and back.

Scenery on the way

When they finally reached the town, they went around a bit to look for parking and were rudely cut at the spot where they found a place. Luckily another car was leaving, so after the rude driver had turned in behind their backing car, they parked and walked through the town. The first stop was at the old ruins of the first cathedral in Scotland. It was by the sea and must have been quite a piece of work. It was not well conceived, so the story goes, soon after it was finished its one wall caved in during a storm.

Ruins of Cathedral

Not far from the ruins there is a place marked on the road, of the exact

Ian Smuts

location where some priest was burnt at the stake for defying the church. From there they walked down to the University Museum where they met with Jan Smuts’ bust. He seemed to have been the rector of the place for 3 years. He had done so many things in his life that it made you wonder how and when he ended up there.

Leaving the museum they went in quest of a place to eat. They chose a pub that became popular because it is said that ‘William and Kate’ met there while

Pub

studying at St Andrews. The food was pub food, nice and copious too. The service was a bit ‘limite’ but when you are used to service in restaurants in SA, then out there it is minimal to nearly non existent.

Small streets

After lunch they walked a bit further. Coen had studied with St Andrews University – an online course which he

St Andrews centre

enjoyed greatly. He was looking at getting a memento of the place: a tie or something.

They were directed to the student

Door bell

council shop that was closed, but they found another shop that had jerseys and other apparel. There Coen chose a blue sweater and a dark blue woollen hat. They poked into the small streets and Pirjo found a book for her brother in law and they saw the peculiarities of the the houses of the place.

Driving back was  through the same small town for most part. They were home in good time for a nap. For dinner San had cooked them the buffalo. They did a bit of planning for the start of a three day journey into the Highlands of Scotland and then went to bed.

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