Monday, April 28, 2008

Scotland: 3 birds, one stone

I have some sort of strange affliction that frequently causes me to try to cram as many things as possible into a trip. It usually turns what could have been a fun and relaxing vacation into a hectic, stressful mess. This time was an exception and a refreshing change of pace. I left Berlin Saturday morning and landed in Glasgow in less than 2 hours. Bird #1: Supposedly, I am of Scottish descent, therefore Scotland was on my list of places to see before I die.

Bird #2: A good friend of mine from high school, Erin, moved to Scotland about 7 years ago. Erin and her husband, Richard, live on the west coast of Scotland in a village called West Kilbride. It's a really beautiful place. I took this picture just around the corner from their house. You can see the coast and one of the many small islands. We had amazing weather and it was the perfect (needed) change of scenery for me. I hadn't seen Erin since about a year before she moved away, so we had lots to catch up on. She's a musician (check out her MySpace page) and it was fun getting to know Richard. I love it when people I care about end up with cool people. We had a great time. On Saturday they took me for a walk on the coast, we had dinner in a little local pub (I had hagus and tried some fish and chips), and afterwards we watched Nacho Libre..."eets da best!"

On Sunday, we drove to nearby Fairlie and wandered through a sheep farm. There are no trespassing laws in Scotland, so it's common for people to hike wherever they want. Richard and Erin said that the weather was only that nice a few days out of the year, so I guess my timing was pretty good. It must have been 70 degrees and I even got a little sunburn. Here's another picture I took on our hike. Afterwards, we went to a BBQ at their friends' house and then it was time for Bird #3: Andrew Bird...

Andrew Bird is one of the greatest musicians on the planet (and possibly in outer space if they have songs there). He plays violin, guitar, other instruments, whistles, sings, often doing three of these at the same time. He performed a solo show in a little tiny venue (maybe 250 people) in Glasgow Sunday night. Erin, Richard, and I got there early and took over one of the few small tables up against the stage. Meg, John Smith, and I had seen Andrew Bird perform with his band last fall and this was quite the contrast. This time Bird played songs that he'd recorded just last week for his upcoming album, some old favorites, and even a song with lyrics derived from a letter that his friend found on the street. If you have small children, you may already know him as Dr. Stringz from Noggin Television, otherwise, check out Mr. Bird right here. The song is about the cycle of life...or more specifically the 26 chickens that he couldn't protect from raccoons on his farm and the sparrows that make nests in his chimney with the feathers they left behind.

No comments: