Arriving in Aberdeen on the overnight ferry from the Shetland Islands, I was very early showing up at my childhood friend’s place. During the short walk to Vero’s place, I made a new drunk friend on the sidewalk. He absolutely wanted to show me pictures he took on the top of the building next door… Véro opened the door a few minutes later and after saying my goodbyes to my new ”friend” she let me in. It was so nice to see each other once again after so many years apart. Knowing that Véro had lots to do with her wedding planning as well as organizing the Alaska dig (she’s an archaeologist), I had made plans with Lilian, my new French friend, to meet up later. We had planned to spend the day in Aberdeen, exploring the city, but Véro told me about a nearby castle so we changed our day plan over coffee.
After our breakfasts, we headed to the station to catch the bus. While in line to buy our bus tickets, there was an older couple asking the cashier how to get to Dunnottar Castle and then they ran off towards the platforms. The bus being scheduled to leave at 10:20 and seeing it was already past that, we assumed we would have to take the next one, so we walked slowly towards the right gate. As we were approaching we could see people still getting in, so we joined the queue, and were the last ones to get on the bus before it left.
It took about 30 minutes to get to Stonehaven, the village located next to the castle. The bus almost emptied in the village so we decide to follow them being, once again, quite lucky into finding the coastal path right away. The walk to the castle was stunning, and with the beautiful sunny weather, we enjoyed every minute of it.
We arrived at the castle, paid our £6 entry fee, and started wandering around the castle ruins, looking through all the windows and fireplaces. We took the views in, and once we arrived in a different area of the castle, we stumbled on a wedding celebration including lots of nice dresses and kilts.
After exploring the castle ruins, we walked down to a pebble beach we had seen from the top and decided to have lunch there, sharing all the food we had brought with us. We even put our feet in the cold water for a few minutes. It was all very relaxing and a much better way to spend the day than walking around in Aberdeen. The transition between peaceful Unst, relatively busy Lerwick and Saturday morning Aberdeen, was good even though it made me realize I don’t really care for cities anymore, and I would rather be lost in the wilderness, surrounded with amazing views, wildlife and nature then concrete, traffic, and people.
Once we were done eating, we walked back to Stonehaven, discovering a very adorable town, with a port looking a lot like Croatia. We kept seeing locals and tourists alike eating ice cream cones, so Lilian decided to treat himself with one of the biggest cones I’ve ever seen, but definitely the most beautifully presented, with candies, chocolates, cookies and marshmallows decorating the cone.
We took the bus back to Aberdeen and went our separate ways; Lilian trying to find another book to read during his night bus to London and me walking up to Vero’s place to met with her and Paul for a few drinks in her favourite pub. After the pub, we went back to her place and had dinner. We ended up talking all night, catching up on the last 10 years of our lives.
The next day we went dress shopping. I hadn’t been in a shopping mall in a very long time and somehow did not miss the feeling of looking inadequate that usually creeps on when I see people who obviously follow fashion trends.
That part of living in the city always gets to me, even though most of the time I am ok not wearing the latest fashion. Sometimes, though, I do feel like everybody is judging me, when they are most probably not even seeing me, and most definitely not caring about me and what I look like. I keep telling myself that I don’t have to care about that, but it’s much easier said than done.