Talking With Strangers

Airbnbing across Europe has put a bit of a damper on meeting people. Seven years ago we mostly camped and in doing so met a lot of wonderful people. But we have still had a few interesting conversations.

Near the Stirling Castle

On the train from Inverness to Stirling I talked to a thirty something year old from Glasgow. An immigrant from Poland, he has never been to London partly due to his belief that they are not as welcoming to people like himself as they are in Scotland.

I was surprised by that sentiment as we found London to be incredibly diverse and without a noticeable edge. For example, while taking the Tube we saw many field trips. These field trips almost always involved a diverse collection of kids (a typical group involved twenty or more kids in matching jacket and ties marshaled about by a few very clearly stressed out adults). It is of course possible we misjudged the climate, but it also seems that piling on London is a bit of a past time up north.

Wallace Monument in the distance (Sterling)

Our time in the UK overlapped with a historic heat wave. For northern Scotland this meant highs in the mid 70s with lots of sun before cooling off at night; a welcome relief to their usual overcast and cool Summer days. That at least was the sentiment of one Inverness small business owner. When asked about places like London where residents faced over one hundred degree temperatures without air conditioning he replied, “That is what they get for living in London.”

Stirling, Scotland

The next day here was a bit more uncomfortable. Upper eighties with some humidity. Stirling was quiet and the uphill walks to the castle were daunting. Meanwhile London endured a second day of plus one hundred degree weather. It must have been incredibly miserable there. Among other calamities suffered by this heat wave was damage to the rail line which may or may not severely impact today’s scheduled run to Liverpool. Will keep you posted.

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