Scotland 6: Day 9

03.07.18 | Dumfries > Kilmarnock | 11:58

First off, I want to give a shout-out to everyone who complimented me on my new hat. I did a live video yesterday from a cemetery in Dumfries and many people thought it looked good. I actually picked it up at an H&M in Edinburgh, mostly because Scotland is cold and rainy right now. I can’t help it that I am the height of teen fashion. Seriously, thank you for your compliments!

I checked out of my hotel this morning and headed to the train station. I had plenty of time, so I headed further into town, back to the restaurant where I got the pancakes yesterday. I ordered a traditional Scottish breakfast, minus the black pudding and the haggis.

I am off to my next destination- yet another location that I’ve never visited, so I don’t really know what to expect. I’m sipping hot chocolate (shocker) on a train, and have about an hour until I will make a transfer in Kilmarnock, then head to Ayr, on the coast. Jonny texted me from Chicago and told me that I should do a hot chocolate collage and frame it. He may be on to something.

The countryside is beautiful! The temperature has finally risen to about 40°, so it’s actually turning into a beautiful day! I don’t yet know if the sun is going to actually make an appearance, however.


Ok- I’m the idiot who just missed his station. I was lost in thought and didn’t realize we’d reached the transfer. This has never happened before! I hope the next stop is soon so I can backtrack! It wouldn’t be so bad if I was in the city, the next stop would probably only be moments away. Since I’m traveling through the countryside, it may be awhile!

New Cumnock > Ayr | 13:03

I got off at the next stop and checked Scotrail for the next train that would take me back to make my connection to Ayr. The website said the next option wasn’t until after 16:00. I walked into a station cafe and told two ladies my situation. After they were done having a good laugh at this lost American, they told me that there was a bus that left to Ayr in about 15 minutes. I ran over to the bus stop and now I’m back on track (not literally, since I’m not on a train at the moment). This little “detour” should only set me back about half an hour or 40 minutes. Not too much wasted time. Zero stress: I am embracing the adventure!

Ayr Hotel | 21:28

The good news is that I was able to find my hotel very easily- it was probably only about a 10-minute walk from the bus station. Ready for the bad news? Come to find out, I hadn’t missed my stop when I thought I had. I did more research when I got to the hotel and it dawned on me that I still had two stops to go! The moral of the story is- be present and don’t mentally drift off!

This Hotel is awesome! It’s not huge, but some of the decor and furnishings give it a ritzy, almost Downton Abbey vibe, that is, if Downton Abbey was set in modern times. Maybe it was the way the bellman carried my bags up the stairs and called me “sir” (a little bit creepy- I’d prefer ‘dude’). I hereby promise to not act like I don’t deserve to stay here. I just need a bell that I can ring so “the help” can bring my tea…

Tonight I’m laying in bed, deciding what movie to watch. I had an amazing dinner at the hotel here, which was a three-course meal. First, they brought me some chicken skewers in some kind of peanut sauce. It tasted very “Thai”. The second was the main course, which was a pulled lamb over couscous, and dessert was a really good caramel Oreo cheesecake.

I can’t wait to explore the area tomorrow!

Scotland 6: Day 8

03.06.18 | Dumfries, Scotland | 22:08

This morning started like most mornings in Scotland: Me, walking through the rain, hunting for breakfast, hoping the sun decides to come out. I followed my G.P.S. to a restaurant that served “Famous Scottish Pancakes.” Upon further inspection- Scottish pancakes taste exactly like the ones we have in America. Still, they were delicious! I chose the “Banoffee Stack”- their tribute to famous banoffee pie, which got its start in Great Brittain. I know you’re curious, so click here:

I decided to call today’s exploration theme “Robert Burns.” He is one of the most famous Scottish writers, and in many parts of this country, he still holds his rockstar status. This is funny because people didn’t really start to love and appreciate him until after being dead and buried. Burns spent the last nine years of his life in Dumfries, and it was cool to tour his home and stand in the room in which he died.

I walked down the street to the churchyard where his body was buried. Fun story- years after his death, they decided that they needed to honor this hometown poet, and they built a giant mausoleum, dug up his remains, and re-buried them at the new location. I read that the original plan was to carry the whole oak casket to the new spot, but it sort of fell apart, as did most of the body. When his wife finally passed away, she was buried with him in the same mausoleum.

While I explored the graveyard, I was approached by a cat who let me pet him/her for a while. This is not the first time an animal has come to me in a graveyard. Evidence of reincarnation? You decide.

I walked along the river until I saw a little coffee shop. I stopped in for another hot chocolate. At least I’m not binge-drinking alcohol. Dinner was a delicious burger!

Scotland 6: Day 7

03.05.18 | Train: Edinburgh > Carlisle | 10:49

I just sat down on a train that is headed south. I will be making a transfer in Carlisle and then be heading to Dumfries. I have never been to Dumfries, so I really don’t know what to expect. When I was planning this trip, I looked at a map of all the places I could get using Scotrail, the Scottish rail service- Dumfries looked promising. I didn’t even want to google information about the town.-that would spoil the surprise. This is, after all, how I discovered Oban, and that is turning out to be one of my favorite little cities in Scotland.

Dumfries Hotel | 21:12

I had about two hours to kill before I could check in to the hotel, so I found a chippy and got my first fish & chips of the trip. So delicious- especially smothered with vinegar and salt! The restaurant was closing down for the afternoon, so I grabbed it to-go and ate it at a nearby park. It was chilly outside, but not as quite as cold as Edinburgh had been.

It amazes me the number of people here who eat chips (fries) as the entire meal. That is such a United Kingdom thing to do! Not as a side, but as the main, and often only dish. I remember doing that when I was in Elementary School- I would walk over to Roberto’s and order a plate of fries. Good times!

I finally was able to check in to my hotel. My room is extremely small, but the bed is very, very comfortable. I laid down and took a short nap. When I woke, it felt so good to just lay in bed, so I did some good ole fashioned boob-tube watching. Eventually, I found the energy to walk to town and find some dinner.

I followed directions to a restaurant that I don’t think exists any longer. Instead, I went to Italian food again. My meal was some kind of chicken with ham and some kind of red sauce over the top. Delicious!