Today was Donnattur, and I filled up my last memory card.
I took the bus into the little village nearest the castle (Stonehaven), and then hiked up over the bluffs to the castle itself. The hike was absolutely beautiful. It went through these fields and near some craggy inlets of the ocean. The green of the fields combined with the blue of the ocean and the black volcanic (assumingly) rock formations was quite stunning, especially with the castle ruins crowning the highest cliff over the entire scene.
Wandering through the ruins was really quite a magical experience. Because they're ruins they pretty much let you have the run of the place, and you're free to crawl over, rummage and poke around as much of it as you can get to. They have the most dangerous bits roped/barred off, but the rest of it is completely open. I bought a guide book that was pretty helpful, but I got the feeling they were mostly guessing at what some of the rooms were originally. So, I preferred to wander through and let my imagination do the work.
For being in ruins a surprising amount of the castle is still safe for people. For instance, there are several floors of the original keep that you can still get to and through. One of the features, they had most of the old guest books out (1930ish-present), that you could look through. I thought about looking for Stephen's family's original visit, but I had no clue what date to even expect, so he'll have to go through it with me when we got back one of these days.
After going through all of the ruins, I took a foot "path" down to the shore, and watched the ocean for a while with the castle towering above. Talk about an incredible experience.
Now, you guys are no longer allowed to tease me about Moscow burning, because the number of times this castle has been burned by various armies or the owners is astounding. For being built on a cliff with only one possibility of attack, you'd think they'd be able to defend it better than that. But the fires have left the stones really interesting textures that I'm not sure would have been possible otherwise.
Still, no more Moscow teasing now!
Then I hopped the bus back to Aberdeen and will probably spend the rest of my night packing. My plane doesn't leave until 8:00pm tomorrow, but I'm supposed to take some of Brett's stuff back too, so we'll see how that fares.
Probably a last game of GO as well. =)
Anyway, back to London tomorrow and then to the states the next day. So this will probably be my last entry until I get home. It feels like I just got here too. Not nearly enough time, but an amazing trip none the less.
Until later all!