In the Highlands of Scotland, the daylight hours last from 9 am till 4 pm this time of year. This shortens the days drastically. We arrived in Edinburgh when it was dark, which tells us nothing of what time it was, but we were tired. By the time 11:30 pm rolled around, we had realized we wanted to travel to the island of Skye the very next morning.
As we planned our journey, the Italian across the table said that he, too, was journeying to the Isle of Skye the next day. We made plans with Francesco and his traveling companion Alessandro to meet up with them at their hostel.
We rolled out of our communal bedroom at 5:30 am and hustled to the 6:33 train. Micah slept through most of the train ride, perpetually recovering from his illness. Maria and Giana enjoyed the spectacular views of the Highlands as the sun finally rose several hours later. Once we disembarked at Kyle of Localsh, we hiked to our hostel across the majestic Skye bridge.
We met our wonderful receptionist and barmaid, Gayle, at Saucy Mary's hostel. That evening we revelled in our access to a working kitchen, and created dinner. We shared the kitchen with a group of Aussies on a haggis tour of Scotland. Our fellow chefs treated the kitchen with ill respect, first shattering their jar of spaghetti sauce on the ground, then sifting through the rubble to salvage the sauce for human consumption, and finally pouring the shards of spaghetti jar down the sink, along with a salad. This would continue to complicate our cooking for the rest of our stay.
The next day we caught a bus to Portree, the largest town on the island. We checked out the local cafés, including one named Well Plaid. We hiked a hillside nearby named the Lump, which was crowned with a castle-looking tower. Maria managed the height and joined Micah and Giana at the top.
At Saucy Mary's, Maria discovered her one true love, StickyToffeePudding. For the rest of our stay on Skye she searched for it everywhere, though her affections were diversified.
Maria and the sous chef, Craig, played pool. She exemplified a lower form of pool shark, perhaps a pool walrus. Craig treated us all to tequila shots, although he recommended the tequila suicide. This involved snorting the salt up your nose, taking the shot of tequila, and squeezing the lemon in your eye. This being the first and only shot of the night, we decided against it.
Later that evening Maria went to search for our friends from Edinburgh. She returned shortly with Francesco and a new friend, Jacob, in tow. After Saucy Mary's closed, we hit up the last bar in town. Micah and Giana met some locals: Willy, the owner of the bar, and Chris, his best friend. Willy was particularly hospitable (even after we insulted his wine), and Chris channeled the spirit of Stephen Fry. At the end of the evening we parted ways with all our new friends, making plans to hopefully meet up later on the trip.
We found our way to Talisker Distillery the next day, and enjoyed a very thorough tour as official Friends of the Classic Malts, which allowed us a free pin, tour, and tasting. Afterwards we failed to hitchhike home and resorted to the late bus.
For our last evening we enjoyed haggis and an encore performance by StickyToffeePudding. Micah retired early and Giana and Maria enjoyed the hospitality of the local young folk. They played pool, Scots v Americans, and won both times completely by accident when the opposing team scratched on the eight ball. Twice.
Isle of Skye was beautiful, best scenery we've seen the whole trip. We would love to return in a period with more sunlight and longer days. Next up, we are returning to Edinburgh.
"Part of the ship, part of the crew"
- Giana and Micah