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During my travels, my compensation for free accommodation for one night, was for me to write a daily travel diary. Of how I got to my next location, the people who would host me, the food I was offered and everything else. Below you find the archives of the highly extensive reports. Know that English is not my native language and most reports were written at high speed around midnight. Enjoy.

Thursday, 19 July 2001
Craibstone --> Inverness, Scotland (UK)

After a full natural breakfast around lunchtime, I hitchhiked to the north of Scotland, to the city Inverness. Yes indeed, close to Nessie the Monster.
I woke up around 11 am. I just have too much to process; maybe that’s why my dreams at night are so joyful.

When I got downstairs, Ian told me I could eat some cereal and come with him to his laboratory at the college, where there is an Internet connection.

After breakfast and packing we walked the three miles to the college, uphill, downhill and I spent some time on the internet.

After making a cardboard sign saying ‘Inverness’, I said farewell to Ian and left the laboratory.

From the college properties I walked to the roundabout and found the motorway towards Inverness, just 95 miles away.

The first hitch was from two elderly ladies, who could take me 9 miles up, to Inverurie. As Inverness means Mouth of the River Ness, I assume that Inverurie means Mouth of the River Urie, but I can’t find such a river on my map.

For the ten minutes I was in their car, the two ladies chatted away cheerfully, especially about their young granddaughter who also was exploring the world. “If you ever get to Australia, say Hi to Christine,” one of them said. “She works in a vineyard there.” I promised them that I’ll do my best.

The next lift brought me up north another 40 kilometers and the driver immediately identified me as Dutch. I seem to have an Dutch accent in my English. I told him about my traveling as he asked me what I was going to do in Inverness, and then he said: “Traveling the world huh? Then you must have heard about that guy who travels around the world too, but all for free thanks to the people who put him up for a night via his website.” – It felt very strange to say “That’s me.”

Halfway from Aberdeen to Inverness I walked through a village, very near to Glenfiddich, known as the city where the same named whisky comes from. Here is where a big truck stopped just right next to me.

I noticed the truck driver sitting at the left of the car, so I had to be a European driver (In the UK and Ireland traffic drives on the left lane of the road, which means the drivers sits on the right end of the car). He was going to Inverness and had a spare place. I climb into the 10 feet high cabin and settled in.

The driver was French and had some big deliveries to do in the north of Scotland. We try to converse a bit, but we both understood that his English wasn’t that perfect and my French wasn’t that great. So when he turned on a cassette in his stereo we where suddenly listening to Czech folk music. What a combination!

He dropped me off at a roundabout in Inverness and it was about 5 o’clock. I called my host in Inverness to tell them I had arrived in the city and he was thrilled to pick me up where I was.

Several minutes later I met my Norwegian host Per Johnsen.

Also Per heard about me on the already well-known Radio 2 show in April this year. When he talked about it with his Norwegian wife Tonje, they decided to invite me over. In one way because they like welcome people in their house and in the other way to help me out in Scotland.

Per told me that he was a mailman, working for the Royal Mail in the UK. But there was something special with his profession: he is a flying mailman. That meant he flies from southern Edinburgh to Inverness and from Inverness to the northern Orkney Islands and even higher Shetland Island. Over four tons of mail gets transported from these islands every week!

At home I met his Norwegian wife Tonje, both of them have been living here in Scotland for just over a year. Tonje is a graduated teacher, but currently is a fun leader at a local restaurant, entertaining playing with children.

When I asked if they enjoyed their living here, they were very satisfied. The winters are milder here than in Norway, but the summer in Scotland is hard to find most of the years.

After a dinner (Mexican fajitas!) I presented them The Gift from Ian from Craibstone. They were very delighted with the mint-plant, lupin seeds and the bottle with the self-made Elderflower wine.

This night Per and Tonje took me out for a tour around town. Not all the way to the famous Loch Ness, but I did get to see the moor where the Battle of Culloden was fought and we visited Balnuaran of Clava, a prehistoric burial place.

It was fascinated to stand on a piece of land where two centuries ago two armies were facing each other, ready for a battle. Bonnie Prince Charles was defeated in the rebellioin of 1745.

At the burial place I saw three prehistoric burial sites, with stone circles around them. Nobody still knows all details about the use of it, nothing really has been preserved from that time (play movie!).

Back home I got hooked onto the computer and visited my home on the Internet again.

And when Tonje folded out the living room couch into a 2-persons bed, I was back in my dreamland again.

Goodnight Inverness!


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