20.08.2010 - 21.08.2010 20 °C
A bigger contrast from Dubai is harder to imagine than arriving in the lush leafiness of Scotland. Where vacant building lots in the city of Dubai swirl with sand in the wind, Scotland is all grass and water. Dubai really is built on the desert, and water seems to be used architecturally as a display of wealth - water walls, fountains, infinity pools, whereas Scotland has lochs at every turn and naturally formed waterfalls gushing down hillsides.
It has been a fantastic experience visiting Dubai and I would like to visit again. It would be very interesting to talk to women from the culture and understand how they view their world. Caitlin felt quite challenged by the burka, and seeing so few women out and about compared with the relative freedom men seemed to have.
Arriving in Scotland we realised we didn't stand out anymore and getting about and communicating has suddenly become much easier (although it has to be said that a lot of people speak English in Dubai). The kids are intrigued they have ancestral connections with Scotland (clan MacDonnell of Glen Garry) even if they are not terribly sure what this means.
We are driving around in a smallish Peugeot stationwagon which we picked up from the airport at Glasgow. Great for the luggage, and enough room for the three of us. Leaving Glasgow we headed toward Fort William, not too far north from Glasgow and a reasonable start on the trip toward Skye. Stayed overnight in a little Inn in Onich, just south of Fort William. Very pleasant stay with friedly Scottich hospitality and porridge for breakfast.
Drove to Skye today. We are currently well ensconced in our B&B in Broadford. When Geoff and I first visited Skye (about 21 years ago) the only access to the island was via ferry. There is now a bridge connecting Skye to the mainland, which I never liked the idea of (I remember the controversy when it was first built). Approaching Skye this time I therefore insisted that we took a detour to avoid the bridge. Instead we went to Glenelg and took a small car ferry (6 cars at a time) to Kylerhea on Skye. A delightful approach to the island over the waters of the Sound of Sleat. Apparently sea otters abound, but we didn't see any. The car ferry really lets you feel you are going somewhere special and different. The bridge is too mundane an approach for me.
I felt quite emotional coming back to Skye without Geoff. Here I am travelling around our treasured island with his (our) two fairly grown up children. We had always intended to bring our children here, and sadly that is now my privilege alone.
Not yet sure what the kids make of it. We have the whole day tomorrow to explore.