You don’t travel anywhere at random; a place calls you to itself.
I was a kid when I first heard about the Loch Ness monster. As everything else paranormal, the Loch Ness monster fascinated me. I used to daydream that I were older and going on a hunt to find it; catching it and finally proving its existence.
This is why I jumped up at the opportunity of traveling to Scotland. Sure it is brimming with aesthetic beauty, the history of the place unparalleled, but what excited me the most was the possibility of my daydream becoming a reality.
I had a direct flight to London and I had to catch a train from there on to Edinburgh, the Scottish capital. The train journey from King’s Cross, London to Waverley station, Edinburgh was the wiser choice, I realized, instead of boarding a direct flight to Edinburgh. It saved me a bunch of money and I got to see the ‘lush green meadows’ I had read about in Enid Blyton novels when I was little but never got a chance to experience in India. The train takes you through several recognizable and unrecognizable towns of England but the journey is altogether enjoyable and the vistas adorable.
The first day was over in a jiffy with all the flying and train travel. First mornings are always weird for me when I am traveling. I wake up in a different bed and I am all confused. When I woke up in Edinburgh, I lifted my head and saw the city spread out for me outside the window. I thought I must be dreaming and closed my eyes again to sleep. It took me a whole minute to realize I was actually there and that this wasn’t a dream.
The next day was the one when I had to go on the Scottish Highlands tour. The tour included Glen Coe, Loch Lomond, and, of course, Loch Ness. The bus tour of Scottish Highlands is the best way to visit this enchanting wonderland if and only if you are short on days for your stay. Otherwise, one must stay over in one of the little Highland town to witness the beauty of it all.
The journey started early morning at 8 with a drizzle. The chill of the weather and the excitement of finally (probably) meeting Nessie made me shiver and tremble. The tour bus which takes the tourists and travelers across the highlands is equipped with a guide cum driver. The guide explains the history and mystery of everything that the bus passes along the way. Our guide, Peter, was without a doubt the funniest man I have ever met. His commentary about the history of Highlands, and Scotland in general, was filled with humour that seemed to come quite naturally to him. The only time his words were serious was when we passed Glen Coe and he narrated the Massacre of Glen Coe, a 400 year tale, about the residents of Glen Coe who were murdered in their sleep.
The beauty of the Highlands is unmatched. The bus took us on the wide roads winding ever so gently along the stooping mountains. These roads passed through the Highlands, interrupted by Lochs on constant intervals. The endless terrain stretched before me, waiting for my eyes to devour, and by its consequence somewhat enhance, its plain yet breathtaking allure. I got down at our first stop at Glen Coe. The sight in front of me made me stumble. The green bed with a white blanket was uncontrollably inviting. However, I had to save my excitement for what was to come next.
Urquhart castle sits beside Loch Ness. This is what our next stop was. As we turned around a corner, I got my first glimpse of the Loch. It looked almost like all the others I had seen on the way. Well, almost. More than 30,000 lochs in Scotland but there is nothing like Loch Ness. I got down with the rest of fellow travelers and after a tour of the Urquhart castle; I proceeded towards an empty, secluded bank of Loch Ness. The deepest Loch in Scotland lay quiet; neither a ripple nor a shadow. The blue color of the sky didn’t bother it; not even a wee bit. Its water lay black as a smith’s stone as though engaged in deep thought. I stood on the edge and looked ahead, wondering and waiting, for the one I had been anticipating. Imagination knows no bounds and mine made me see Nessie rising from Loch Ness, piercing the deep and calm black water, raising its hood and standing there for the world to see; its fear of us humans far from him, his want of glory getting the better of him.
The endless Loch
But alas, the water made no sign of any disturbance. It stared back at me as if telling me it had nothing to more to offer than serenity. Maybe that’s what I needed; it was certainly what I got. The quest of Nessie was over. Although I didn’t find the chap, the Loch didn’t disappoint me at all. The journey taught me it is ok to chase your childhood dreams but it is important to find the hidden meaning in your discoveries. The search for the Loch Ness monster made me go on this unforgettable trip and I left a piece of my soul in Scotland. I believe the purpose of this journey wasn’t to find old Nessie, it was for me to strengthen my love for travel and make me realize, again, what all I might miss if I don’t travel often.
This is how the Loch said Goodbye.