2010 Journal – Chapter 13

May 2nd 2010 (Only one month left)
Doune, Scotland

I am now in Stirling, Scotland another very old city with a deep past mainly which is of William Wallace. My hostel is even called the “Willy Wallace Hostel”. Though I am in Stirling I will not have the time to see the William Wallace sight, because I decided yesterday was better spent in Edinburgh seeing stuff outside of the town. I do not however regret this because today I went to see the mighty Doune castle! Now it’s not uncommon for me to visit a castle of course but this one had a less serious historical meaning to me, this one was where they filmed one of my favorite films! “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” Of course this is a horribly nerdy thing to search after but yes I did indeed make sure I would get to see this silly little sight! Now when planning this I got all the information too get out there and check on the sign posts by the bus stops and was fine but this lack of really finding out later bites me now let’s start at the beginning of the day!

I first wake up at 9:30am which is much later than I wanted, but still okay I needed the rest, after getting myself organized to do laundry and a few things I don’t leave until about 11:30 and then I find out the bus doesn’t come until almost 1pm so I get some groceries for a picnic. Then I get on the bus a cheap £2.40 and head on my way. Well then I get myself panicked when the bus isn’t going where I think it should and I get off about half a mile from the town of Doune. Well turns out they turn around and then stop, so I got to walk a while but really it wasn’t bad because there was just the most amazing views all around along with the Teine River to walk along. So it wasn’t a complete lost and once I found a TIC with a map in front of where to go for the castle it was really easy navigating this teeny tiny little village maybe the size of Divide. The walk to the castle was quite a nice one almost transporting you back a bit being it’s so secluded and not well traveled. The castle then sort of looms over you and it’s really a nice fixture on the scenery and from where I cam into town you could also see it from along the river! This castle dates back to the 14th century this one and was a vacation home for the Duke and Duchess of Albany. So it truly has some actual historical relevance and would have been quite the place in it’s time! I noticed walking through all the “privies” there were just so many for one place which I thought would be pretty ritzy for that time. The fire place in the kitchen was large enough to roast a whole ox in it, and it even had a small room off it with arched windows to pass the vast amounts of food through. Other things I noticed that were pretty innovative and someone had a good eye for detail were things like a music balcony in the great hall, or a small pit in the great hall for coals to keep people warm. Then for special guests in the great hall there was a private side bathroom. It’s a pretty neat place.

Now here is the Monty Python information, which there was a plethora on because the audio guide was narrated by one of the python’s, Terry Jones. So in certain rooms the narration would be all the historical information and if you wanted to know you could listen to the bits about the movie. Which of course I did and it would tell you what scene was shot where and what they maybe had to alter and then they would have a sound clip from the film which just sent me into fits of laughter. So it was super fun!
If I remember correctly the only reason the Python’s used this particular castle was because they couldn’t get the permits passed anywhere else so this one was used in as many different ways as they could. An interesting thing I learned today was that when they filmed the wedding scene in the courtyard they actually got a bunch of people just visiting the castle to dress up and join in on the fun! Including the one guard that falls into the barrels from the stair case, who was a student visiting for the day and volunteered himself.

After seeing the entire castle I had to visit the gift shop for a button for my coat and noticed all the fun Monty Python stuff they had including a “Monty Python, Holy Grail” with the GR crossed off so, “Holy Ale” was the idea. I almost bought it for the bottle but then realized it wouldn’t make it home in one piece. I also noticed the rack of coconuts they had and I simply HAD to ask to borrow a pair for a moment and the friendly lady at the desk took a photo of me in front of the castle! So that was a fun laugh and totally made my day, well until other things happened.

So after the castle I went back into the town thinking that the information I had looked at earlier on bus times right outside of town were right and that I had about 2 hours to kill before my bus came. So I decided some hot tea was in order which I found a small coffee shop and sat myself in it with a hot home made scone with cream and jelly and a nice hot cup of English Breakfast tea. All sweetly prepared by an older woman that ran a b&b connecting. After my quick break I noticed some hiking trails heading off just a few yards from the tea shop so I went out to explore and only got as far as the sheep fields where I spent far too long joyfully watching the lambs run around and cry for their mothers. I slowly made my way back to town only to be stopped by a very old cemetery and church that I took photos of. I was then approached by some young girls all about 7-10 years of age that wanted to know where I was from and what I was doing. I had a nice chat briefly with them and they told me the church was being converted into a house at this point. I told them a bit about the states because they seemed so curious and then I had to leave to catch the bus I thought would be coming. So calmly I made my way through town and back to the supposed bus stop and as I got there I could ust sense I was wrong about all of this. So I look at the sign again for times and realize the only bus coming on SUNDAY for Stirling was at 10:15 this morning! So, obviously I made the mistake of not reading Sunday’s times but Saturdays and was now left without transportation back to Stirling. However the nice thing about this part of the world is that towns are usually not too too far apart and so as a last resort I could simply walk. So off I started hoping to see one of the several bus stops I noticed on the way in. I went for about a mile and a half, nervously texting Stuart to find me a cab’s number. I found the bus stop but for Sunday it was the same story. Thus I called the “Jade Taxi” from Stirling and in ten minutes a sweet woman came to my aid and brought me back to my hostel for only £14 plus a tip so really it wasn’t bad at all. It also saved my back and legs from hating me and potentially walking in the dark.

So here I am at the hostel again, tired and sleepy I just had something to eat and got packed up to head to Inverness tomorrow. So good night!

Peace and Love,
RebeccaI just had to play with the coconuts for a moment! Thank you friendly tour person! =DThe “French” castleOr what about this?

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