Monday, March 28, 2016

Part 4... Invited to church, friendly locals, and fancy Victorian bathrooms!


Bill needs coffee...

As I mentioned in my previous posts, Bill and I had already been to a few of the ports on our most recent Scottish cruise.  One place we visited on our first Hebridean cruise is Rothesay, a very quaint town on the Isle of Bute.  There are a number of places to see on Bute, but we had already been to the ones offered on our most recent cruise.  I really enjoyed seeing Mount Stuart House on our first trip, but didn't feel like sitting on a bus and taking another tour.  When Bill and I travel, we love to walk around and soak up the atmosphere.  So on the second morning of our cruise, we took a walk along a path that runs along the waterfront in Rothesay.


A view of Rothesay's marina.

As we were walking, a very fit looking older lady was approaching us on a bike.  She had super short grey hair and a big smile on her face.  When I see anything on wheels approaching me, I do my best to get out of the way, so Bill and I stepped behind a park bench so she could pass us with ease.  Instead, she stopped her bike, offered us a big friendly grin and said, "You must not be locals.  No one from 'round here ever gets out of the way like that for me!"


Well fed seagull...


Cool old car.

We had a hearty laugh as we admitted this wasn't our town.  She welcomed us and said she hoped we'd have a good time.  I was still smiling as we turned back and watched a swan paddling around in the water eating detritus.  We walked past the Rothesay castle ruins and a neat little mini "wildlife preserve" someone had set up for local birds.  They had taken the time to paint wooden replicas of typical birds who liked to eat there.  Unfortunately, no one had taken the time to clean up the rubbish unceremoniously dumped in the enclosure.  It was still fun to watch the birds.


Hungry swan...


A little bird reserve...

I stopped at a cute little Episcopalian church on the main drag and took a couple of photos.  I had noticed it on our first trip to Rothesay in 2012 and thought it was such a pretty place.  A friendly voice behind me said, "Come in! We're open!"


This photo was taken in 2012.  For economy's sake, I didn't take a new one this time...


2016 shot of the door, which was opened wide for us!


I love how the inscription says the person "fell asleep"...

Bill and I hesitated for a second, then went into the church, which was as adorable on the inside as it was on the outside.  It so happened the rector, a tall smiling man named Andrew, was there to lead a discussion on sin.  He came over, introduced himself to us, and chatted with Bill and me for a few minutes.  It turned out Andrew had also served in the military and he and Bill traded a few anecdotes as I read the inscriptions on the wall about those who "went to sleep" (died).  Andrew joked that a lot of people fall asleep during his sermons.

Bill and I aren't really church people.  I grew up going to a Presbyterian church and probably wouldn't mind going back.  Bill has tried several churches in his lifetime.  He's been Methodist, Episcopalian, Catholic, and even Mormon.  He knows a lot about the Bible and is very spiritual, but isn't a fan of organized religion.  Bill's experiences with Mormonism were bad enough that he decided he doesn't enjoy church.  So we don't go...  However, I must admit that it was a real pleasure to meet Andrew and the charming folks who had invited us in to see the inside of their house of worship.  They were genuinely welcoming and kind and, I think that if we lived in Rothesay, I wouldn't have minded attending services.  It was a pleasure to be invited in with a genuine spirit of friendship.  In fact, I noticed all over our travels in Scotland how kind and welcoming people are there.

We went back to the ship, passing Rothesay's famous men's Victorian toilets on the way.  We saw the toilets on our first cruise and they are indeed very beautiful.  I took so many pictures of them during our first trip that I didn't feel the need to see them again.  However, it would be wrong not to mention them in this post about Rothesay for readers who might find themselves there.  It costs 30 pence to enter, whether you're there to pee or gawk at the Victorian styled men's room (I guess the ladies room didn't rate).  Hebridean actually paid for everyone to see the restrooms the first time we were in town and probably did this time, too.  The photos of the men's room in this post are from 2012.







We went back to the ship and enjoyed the first of many gin and tonics.  Hebridean stocks a lot of gins, a couple of which we'd never tried before.


A gin and tonic made with Hendrick's gin.  We are familiar with Hendrick's, but this is the first time we had it with cucumbers.  Hendrick's has an essence of cucumbers in it, which makes them go particularly well as a garnish.



This is the wood stove in the Tiree Lounge.  I love the seal... we saw a few of those too, on this trip!





Hearty tomato soup for me...


A Greek inspired salad for Bill.





Bill had the crumble for dessert.  I love them.  They take me back to childhood!



The front of Rothesay Castle.   It was closed when we visited the town this time, but we toured it last time we cruised Hebridean and it's definitely worth seeing, if only for the very cool "prison pit" you can climb down in and explore.



Rothesay is a very welcoming town!



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