A visit to Edinburgh Castle convinced us that Game of Thrones is a toned down version of actual Scottish history with less dragons but bloodier entanglements. Despite this history the people of Edinburgh are incredibly nice and welcoming. We absolutely love the city and cannot begin to fathom why anyone, like our neighbor Tony, would ever want to leave.
Scotland becomes more boisterous north of Edinburgh. On the very crowded train from Perth to Kingussie (a small town south of Inverness) we stood some of the way. Backpacks (ours included) clogged the aisle with crowds of teens sitting by the doorway. A tired family of at least five squabled. They were spread out over multiple seats with the bickering carrying out across the train car. A couple spoke next to me with an incomprehensible Scottish brogue. Later I realized they were speaking Swedish. Sitting opposite me was a young man who I understood only a wee bit better. He talked of working his way through Scotland. How his young niece missed him. More than a bit drunk, he also periodically yelled out, “f$_ the English” and then to me add “you know what I mean.” In a crowded train assumedly filled with many English tourists I emphatically disagreed with that statement. Later he took long pulls from a bottle then passed out on the shoulder of the Swedish tourist. Shortly thereafter we climbed over the teenagers to an empty train platform, the only passengers to do so.