“Wake up.” I was being shaken, awoken by the motion and by the sound of bagpipes.
“Bagpipes?” I asked aloud, sitting up and stretching from my long sleep on the bus. I peeked out the window to see a man dressed in a kilt playing bagpipes near a large stone that read “Britain” on the side facing the bus. I assumed that on the other side, it said Scotland, because my younger sister Catherine was explaining that we were on the border between Scotland and Britain.
Catherine practically pushed me off the bus, eager to listen to the bagpipes. Our new friend David, from North Carolina, was rambling about how he played the bagpipes back at school and how, if he had had his own bagpipes with him, he could participate in a killer duet.
The man with the pipes started playing a song I recognized from Jazz Band back at school. It was “In the Mood.” The sound of the tune on the pipes made me giggle. In almost no time at all, everyone on the Trafalgar tour was shooed back onto the bus, back into our seats. I kept hearing the pipes in my head, and wondered if my band director would consider the pipes a band instrument as I leaned back onto my sister’s shoulder and fell asleep once more.
The next time I awoke, we were in Edinburgh, which is pronounced Ed-in-bor-oh, even though it doesn’t look like it. The tour guide, Vick, was explaining all the things about the lovely city. It really was magnificent. J.K. Rowling lives there, and my sister and I were giddy with happiness, being hardcore Harry Potter fans. Vick told us all that Rowling was “richer than the Queen herself.”
We were dropped off at a Holiday Inn and were free to sightsee the rest of that day and the next. The city was clean and the people were polite. The air smelled fresh and cool, probably because the small cars that many people drove had fewer emissions, but that was just an assumption.
My sister and I slept very little the first night, because we were excited about seeing Edinburgh Castle. I was especially enthused because history is one of the things that makes me grin uncontrollably. It was early in the morning when the people who wanted to see the castle hopped on the bus to head out.
I was bouncing in my seat the whole ride, which Catherine and my parents found odd because I slept during bus rides. The castle loomed up on a high cliff, with a road winding up to its gates. People from all sorts of tours were waiting for the castle to open for the tourism. On my mother’s side, Catherine and I were related to Mary, Queen of Scots, who lived in the castle and birthed a child in a tiny room somewhere in the castle. When the gates opened, I rushed towards the front, dragging my sister and David. David was bringing two Australian boys who were also on the tour: Kirean and Sebastian.
The entrance hall was massive, and my jaw dropped. I led my family and friends through the castle and all the paintings and tapestries were splendid. I even saw the tiny room where Mary birthed the future King James who was responsible for the King James Version of the bible.
With all the history in Edinburgh, and the bagpipes at the border, Scotland was one of the most cultural places on Earth.
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