The Isle of Absolut

When Carolyn first told me about the Isle of Skye in Scotland, for some reason I pictured the heavens filled with Skyy vodka bottles (and I swear I’m not an alcoholic, at least when I’m not drinking). But it actually kinda bothered me because my preferred vodka is Absolut, not Skyy, so I wondered if I was betraying the trust of my first vodka love.

On top of that, Skyy is an American vodka and thus is more sour than Absolut, because of course Absolut is sweetish.

(If you didn’t get that joke, speak that sentence very slowly out loud. You won’t laugh in either case, but that’s okay, that’s why we call them Dad Jokes.)

Besides, if Scotland’s gonna fill its sky with any kind of alcoholic drink, it’s surely going to be Scotch, not some foreign vodka. To make matters even more confusing, no one involved seems to know how to spell the word “sky,” so I was really getting all twisted up in knots.

This Scottish journey was really starting to mess with my head, man.

In the end, when I reviewed all of that thinking in regards to the visit, I realized that I had better stop doing so many shrooms right before a road trip, so I took ten minutes to sober up and then we packed up our car in Glasgow and drove on the left (mostly) up north, into the Highlands of Scotland.

My main introduction to the Highlands of Scotland was from The Outlander books by Diana Gabaldon. Despite the inherent believability of those novels (I mean, duh!), I was a little dubious that we could find the sort of Stonehenge-esque rocks that would send us back in time. Still, just in case, I tore the stock market pages out of some old newspapers I “borrowed” from the local library and stuffed them down my pants. You can never be too sure. (As a side note, reverse newspaper print on your ding dong can look a little scary at first glance.)

Along the way we spotted what looked like snow trails on the hills. Turns out they were simply fast-moving streams from a storm that had been blowing in as we arrived. The weather around the Isle of Skye is notoriously unpredictable and tempestuous (kind of like a marriage between Donald Trump and Roseanne Barr). We crossed our fingers that it wouldn’t be foggy and rainy the whole time, otherwise I’d never see the bottles of Skyy in the sky. Or Skye. Whatever.

This is the bridge that connects the Isle of Skye to the mainland. It’s 250 meters long, and in Scottish Gaelic, is called: Drochaid an Eilein Sgitheanaich. My American mouth is definitely not trained to pronounce any word starting with “Sg.”

Before I go to the original comment about this picture, Carolyn is making me say that this bridge isn’t actually on the Isle of Skye, but is before it, leading up to Eilean Donan Castle, which is, coincidentally, also not on the Isle of Skye. All of that may not be obvious because I posted this picture after the picture of the Isle of Skye bridge, which might lead one to think that all the pictures coming after it are actually on the Isle of Skye. But no-o-o-o, for the sake of a stupid joke (still to come– I can tell you’re waiting with bated breath!) I changed the pictorial timeline. So instead of just a dumb joke, you get this long diatribe about where the bridge isn’t, which is probably not as funny, depending on how long I can carry on about it, as the upcoming joke. And of course I’m willing to bet that absolutely no soul who reads this will care one way or another nor would spot the theoretical error. But when we’re 80 and looking back on this, at least now we’ll have that all straight in our heads. Not that we’ll remember it after breakfast. Anyway, on to the original comment:

This is another bridge, obviously older and shorter than the last one, and no I don’t know the name of it in either English or Scottish Gaelic and yes I know that means you’re not gonna leave me a tip.

At least now you can unbate your breath!

Here’s Eilean Donan Castle, with some old dude in the way.

When I met Carolyn, she was an ardent rule follower and wouldn’t have broken the law to save her life. Now look at her. Such a scofflaw. I guess that’s what living on the run with a criminal husband will do to ya.

Of course, who could blame her for taking up this life of crime when her husband doesn’t even know not to look down the barrel of a gun? You’ll poke your eye out with that thing! ––Oh wait, the whole head is gone anyway…

I was oddly relieved to find out the flag was flying at half mast for the then-recently deceased queen. When I first saw it, my stomach jumped thinking it was for me. I swear I’m not gonna look down the barrels of any more guns, drink any more bleach, or take any more pictures in front of signs telling me not to do so. I’m not ready to be half-masted yet. Half-baked maybe, but not half-masted.

When something is closed on the Isle of Skye due to severe weather, you better believe it’s severe. I think the normal daily weather is something like 45 degrees (7 celsius) and rainy, with occasional gusts of wind up to “holy shit!”

Which may be why they named towns Shithein. (I think the sign translates to: “All that’s left is this shit town.”)

One of the island’s attractions was this recreation of a small Scottish village as it might have been a few hundred years ago. We learned about the way they spun wool, had to walk or ride long distances for just about everything, what they did to try and keep warm (which Carolyn was failing miserably at despite her biohazard-looking attire), and the lack of television– even as late as the 1800s. But mostly how glad we are not to have been born anywhere near there at that time. It was a tough life! I mean think about it, no Gilligan’s Island reruns after school? The horror! The horror!

One piece of good news was that I didn’t have to remember to drive on the left so much, because most of the roads in the countryside on the Isle of Skye are only big enough for one vehicle at a time anyway. Much of the drive consisted of moving a few hundred meters, then pulling off the side of the road to let someone pass, and then driving another few hundred meters where we’d hope the other guy would be the one to pull off. It was like leap frog with cars. We could tell who were the residents because they didn’t stop for anybody. Everybody waved at each other though. My arm ended up getting tired from all the waving, not kidding.

The quaint little itsy bitsy village of Portree had the colorful row of houses that always make these kinds of quaint little villages look so… quaint. It is also the largest town on, as well as the capitol of, the Isle of Skye, which has a population of just about 10,000 on the entire island. The population of Portree is listed at 2,310.

This was an old estate with spooky stairs full of fake mice, fake serving wenches, and fake tourists.

Since the Isle of Skye is mostly about the allure of its natural beauty, we’ll finish up this part of our entry with a series of pictures where we did our best to capture its wonder and majesty. We came up a bit short in that regard, but I think you’ll get the idea. There was absolutely stunning scenery everywhere we looked, and despite an occasional squall or windstorm, the weather actually treated us relatively decently for the duration of our visit. And not one bottle of vodka fell from the sky. Okay, perhaps a couple clattered onto the pavement when we opened the car door, but that’s it.

I have absolutely no idea what this road sign means. I suppose I could look it up, but I think it’s funnier not knowing.

On the way back to our “home port” of Edinburgh, we stopped in the city of Inverness. It’s not considered a hot-spot tourist destination, but it’s a nice little city and we enjoyed the one-day visit. We also had a good time with the Scottish waitress who was just so friendly and sparkly we had to take her picture. The restaurant itself was well over a hundred years old (not sure what that is in metric), but the food tasted newer than that.

This is simply an assortment of signs we thought were amusing.

The island outlined in red is the Isle of Skye.

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