Trains, Planes & Automobiles MAG

By Unknown, Unknown, Unknown

   "What?Meredith is getting married?" I asked.

"Where and when?"shouted my mother, hoping it wouldn't conflict with my brother'sgraduation.

"Eilean Dorian Castle in Loch Duich on June 17," myaunt said quickly.

"Where is that?" we asked inunison.

"In Scotland, where Duncan is from," exclaimed themother of the bride. Suddenly the room went silent. Thus began my family'sjourney to the Highlands of Scotland by trains, planes and automobiles.

Ileft the great city of New York around three in the afternoon on a Wednesday, andarrived at two in the afternoon on Friday (after a stopover in Inverness) in themost remote of places, Dornie, Scotland. I was surviving on little sleep andhaving a difficult time holding myself up. I was not alone on this 47-hourjourney of car rides, flights and bus trips. Thirteen members of my family werewith me and every one of us was tired, except for my two-year-old cousin, Sarah,who was smiling, talking and keeping us all awake.

We all attended thewedding rehearsal. As we approached the castle, crossing the bridge over a lake,we were in awe of the immense yet beautiful stone structure. This castle is themost beautiful in all of Scotland, and the most photographed. The view from theback of the castle is gorgeous; as you took out toward the water, the highlandbreeze hits you, your hair flies in every direction and you are left amazed atnature's beauty.

We entered the main area of the castle and toured itsinterior. The room where the wedding would be held seemed small because of alarge table that had not yet been removed. The wedding party moved toward thefront and asked all friends and other family members to move to the side. Topractice the wedding entry, Sarah, the flower girl, needed to walk around theroom tossing petals. Sarah was not aware that during this walk, one of thebride's friends would be singing "Ave Maria." She began throwing thepetals, but then froze in her tracks when the man began to sing. Everyone in theroom burst into laughter, except for Sarah, who continued to stand,motionless.

We returned to the bed and breakfast and the adultscontinued to take part in a well-known Scottish tradition, drinking. The pub wasdirectly beneath my room, so I got little sleep that night.

I wokewondering where I was, but quickly realized. I stumbled downstairs for atraditional Scottish breakfast, which included eggs, several glasses of juice,toast, undercooked bacon, undercooked sausage and biscuits that no one enjoyed,but still ate. After this immense meal, I found my way to the only television inthe bed and breakfast. Every show was about soccer because England was to playGermany that night.

Emotion began to fill the bed and breakfast. More andmore friends of the bride and groom arrived and at two o'clock we started gettingready for the wedding. Where was everyone else? The answer was the one used mostoften during the trip: "In the pub." I eventually found the crowd andreminded them about the wedding. They moved toward their rooms and emergeddressed in their Sunday best. I walked around a corner, looked up and saw, forthe first time, a man in full traditional Scottish attire. Every Scotsmaninvolved in the wedding was wearing a kilt. Most had the same pattern, Lamonttartan, which was blue and dark green with a little white.

We made our wayto the castle; I took a seat near the front and waited. And waited. Where was thebride? It was six, the projected start time of the wedding, and the bride wasnowhere in sight. Finally, at six-thirty the music started, and the brideapproached. We were very concerned about Sarah performing her flower-girl duties.Again, "Ave Maria" stopped her in her tracks. The ceremony wasbeautiful, quite short but very emotional. We left the castle escorted by abagpiper and crossed the bridge for the reception, which included Scottish music,dancing and drinking.

This trip provided me with many memories, especiallyof participating in the wedding ceremony. The key to life is joy.

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