Hi! In the last week we hitched a ride in a boat from Northern Ireland to Scotland, we expirienced three days of urban survival in Edinburg, the scotish capital, and we lived a day in an organic farm in the coast village of Kinghorn.
In the morning of the 1st of may, we woke up anxious and started walking towards Bangor, the Marina near Belfast. We couldn’t believe it, after two years of planning, we were on the road. We arrived to the Marina and started conversations with all yatch owners. Hitch hiking across the sea has its peculiarities. The maps we look at don’t have roads, but dotted lines that God knows what they alert of. People here don’t say “that the road is bad” as many times we have heard from argentinian farmers trying to mark out their way with prediluvian pick ups across unpaved roads. Here it’s the weather forecast the one that encourages or not the crossing to Scotland. More than once we would end up having some tea on board. The idea of wandering around the harbours and marinas of the world confraternizing with nautic aristocracies was enticing, however, we had to think of embarking!!
We weren’t lucky that afternoon, while we were actually on our to way to the road, in the hope of finding some other harbour , my mobile rang. Verónica could see my face distorted by happiness as a voice asked me wheter we were still interested in crossing to Scotland. We had succeeded! One hour later we were sailing away from Bangor with Nick, chief of special tasks at Londonderry Fire Brigade and his two nephews, to whom he was teaching sailing. The vessel was small but comfortable, with one mast, and place enouch inside to seat for people around a dinner. We introduced ourselves… that we are from argentina, that…. No point. “All the marina knows that” he interrupted.
One hour later Ireland had become an fuzzy line on the horizon. Without terra firma references, my stomach started to manifest… Minutes later I was in the most intimate communion with the Irish Sea. Something poetic had to be said to turn the unprintable incident into something poetic. “Let these be my honours to Ireland”. Nick and family laughed out loudly. Before reaching scottish shores, twice I felt a terrible need of showing my gratitude to Ireland in the way of digestive anomalies, the last of these with an unnecesary chorus from Ben. After the incident Ben and I started to talk in confidence, amazing how this undesirable activity can brother people beyond cultural barriers…. Verónica, instead, was enjoying as a celebrity. She may have inherited something from my father in law, who is a public person in Mar del Plata’s Harbour.
Scotland finally appeared in the horizon, in the guise of a jade colour row of houses and a ruined castle, barely recognizable behind dense mist. We had dinner in the boat that night. It was interesting how Nick, who had just crossed the Irish Sea, needed to check the cooking guidelines on the rice pack. Dinner was so perfect that we even thinkef of rising the argentinian flag on the boat. Being only a few miles away from a Royal Navy submarine excersice area, it wouldn’ have been long before having notices from the gunners, happy to change from boring practice routines to the real stuff.
The following day we hitched to Edinburgh, Scottish capital, medieval and cosmopolitan, with its famed castle that overlooks a mile of old constructions known as the Royal Mile, a dense macize od gothic needles, burgheese houses and walls. Spliting this saturation one finds the house of philosofer David Hume or the print house where the first edition of Encyclopedia Britannica was printed. Our camping spot, on a hill called Arthur’s Seat, next to a ruined XVth century abbey, had a privileged sight of the old town.
While hitching north, towards the Highlands we couldn’t resist the invitation of one of our drivers. Adam, from Edinburgh, 24 years old, was just back from a RTW trip, where he had been hitch hiking in different places, from Fiji to Tailand. We stayd a day and a half in his organic farm in the Est coast of Scotland. We lanscape looked as Teletubbiland, extremely green. Adam’s neighbours were a couple who dedicated to perma-culture, a branch of organic agriculture, and in their free time the would help to regenerate the caledonian forests (scottish woods ended in ebglish galeons or in the stomaches of generations of sheeps) Adam’s philosophy was thought provoking. The idea that descentralized agriculture can break the chain of capitalist alientaion by avoiding explotation by consuming and allowing self sufficiency through production had always crossed my mind. In one moment Adam told us that her ex was from Argentina, and she happened to be from our same town. Coincidences…. We had dinner and accompanied this thoughts with an argentinian wine, brought to a small shop of the village of Kinghorn by the miracolous tides of globalization.
Our march to the Highlands marked the end of the first week of travel. The town was called Oban, and there we camped next to a lilghthouse. Ahead, the land peacefully fragmenting into small islands as it gives way to the Hebride’s Sea.