We have been in Paris since late Tuesday, which would seem like adequate time to adjust to the fact that we have really left St Andrews. But it has been easy in the whirlwind of moving to avoid actually processing leaving, even with our attempts to use our last week as a excuse for lots of “one last times” and “we have nevers.” Even as we put the final touches on the where we have been in Scotland map, it doesn’t seem quite real yet.
In our last week, there were many walks along the pier when the Scottish summer peeked through. And one afternoon, when I decided it was finally warm enough, I jumped off of it. Jeff jumped when it was snowing. I feel like I made the better choice. Thanks to Jeff’s mom we had the chance to play 18 holes in St Andrews. The course is a beautiful climb along the estuary, complete with many opportunities to check out the local foliage as we hunted for our many misdirected balls.
Jodi also gave us a voucher for land yachting, a cross between sailing and go chart racing. Like most things Jeff got it right away and I took a bit longer. Our guide at one point did ask me if I had ever driven a car before. Despite my initial struggles I managed to neither run into anyone or catch a gust into the ocean. I call that a success. West Sands has always been my favorite and cruising along in sand buggy with a giant sail is a pretty great way to say goodbye.
We did one more distillery tour at Glenkinchie, a small distillery south of Edinburgh. Glenkinchie was the last of the twelve Classic Malts we set out to see in September. It was a strange sense of accomplishment at the close of a journey that brought us all over Scotland. In total, Jeff visited 27 distilleries and I visited 23, a small fraction of Scotland’s total production, but a good go for the year! We also stopped in that day and marveled for hours at the Rosslyn Chapel of Dan Brown, Knights Templar fame. The chapel’s legends are certainly interesting, but the carvings and their stories were incredible and more than worth the drive south. As special as these last experiences were, we spent most of our last few days ignoring our dissertations so we could spend a few last moments and meals with the wonderful people who made St Andrews home.
As beautiful as Scotland is and how wonderful each new place was, as we pulled out of the train station on our way to Paris, literally running after it moments before so I could give Becky one more hug, I wasn’t crying for the beauty of the Highlands but for the special people St Andrews brought together for just a short while. We are so grateful for all of you and so excited to see you again.