Back Mooning in Scotland...


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November 30th 2009
Published: December 26th 2009
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…yes it has been 365 days of marital bliss…as promised to each other we have been best buddies and made each day worth celebrating…never anticipated married life to be an extension of B-School days..Not sure how many would prefer to celebrate the first anniversary like this, but for us, a romantic backpacking trip in Scotland seemed ideal…we did this Backmooning (Backpacking + Honeymoon) for the 4 days…


Day 1 The Start... Saturday 28th Nov




….mention of the day “Saturday” brings a million memories back to my mind…my mom’s policy of “do not get up” until 10.30 am or the Saturday special exotic dish (heard of fish fingers or caramel pudding in Chennai) she used to make or very recently an activity day with my girl…Manan…

This Saturday was nothing near that…we never realized when the Friday evening got over and when Saturday started as there was a wonderful party given by our friends to celebrate our first anniversary…Post the party, there was a medley of horror and romantic films…Finally moved away from the TV at 4.00 am leaving us only 30 min of sleep.

Realized that sleeping would be suicidal as trying to wake up would be a horrific…So me and babo started packing (though I had started packing before a couple of days to carefully pack all the gifts which I had planned for the countdown for the D-day….)

A strong coffee and a shower did the trick for me, I was raring to go and thought I had enough energy to bike till Scotland..After a anxious moments of tugging and racing with time we set our foot at 5.45 AM which gave us 1 hr to catch the train from London King Cross Station.

Like Russian folk tales, there would be a healing water of a witch doctor which will bring back zombies to life…the only thing which got life into us was food, the sight of burger king and M&S brought us out of the zombie state, ran to the store and stocker loads of food and fruit juice for the trip

Platform 1: Train to Edinburg (Capital of Scotland) to depart at 7.00 am

Babo and me scrammed and dragged ourselves towards the train, passengers were given 10 min to board the train and find their seats, In India half of the junta would have
The Chocolate Soup....The Chocolate Soup....The Chocolate Soup....

Best Dark Chocolate in the world!!!
missed the train. Got into Coach E and settled into our pre-booked seats - aisle facing each other…
Not sure if I was too dazed due to the lack of sleep, when the train chugged away from London, I was drifted into the days when I used to travel with my mom and dad during summer vacations. Travel diet was Idly with yummy tomato chutney…Lemon rice and potato fry for lunch, packed in banana leaf…my mom would have burnt so many hours in the kitchen the previous night to make sure her kids do not stay hungry or eat the railway food (not sure made from which water - that is what she used to tell). For a middle class family of 4 buying food on the train is also a wallet winding exercise...

Suddenly realized the presence of a cold sandwich and Ribena for breakfast + lunch before me…felt very ashamed…what has gone wrong with us? Me and Babo decided to make sure our kids will be fed with healthy home cooked food during travel instead of this tummy killing fast food…

Added effect of staying awake the whole night pushed us to “Stone-max” State…next 2 hrs, blissful sleep curled into my cosy muffler cum bed sheet which my girl insists I carry everywhere wound around my neck…I am a person who can burn hours with an iPOD and window seat in the train (even better if I had borrowed the seat, rather than getting it in the first go…)…

1 hr past noon, the train entered Edinburgh Waverly station, the wind was painfully chilling which can numb your toes before you can take the first step on the road…Packed ourselves and tried to interpret the complicated map which was provided to the place where we were going to stay, thankfully I had married a girl with an in-built Tom-Tom (GPRS)…just kept following her…We had booked a luxury apartment in “Johnston Terrace” - Flat 3…

Kept walking behind Babo, suddenly realized the surroundings getting familiar, yes we were going towards the heart of the old roman city of Edinburgh. Every city in roman days were built around a Cathedral or a castle or both…Edinburgh had both…and out flat was a heavenly 2 bed room apartment between the castle and the cathedral…

Me and Babo have a common luck for great places…Swiss apartment, our HYD flat, London house…and now this place…nothing but heaven….

(We had booked another ordinary apartment which had an electrical problem so we go this replacement flat…lucky start for our vacation…)

Got ready and started off exploring the neighborhood…Royal Mile - the road leading to Castle…kept walking away from the Castle and accidently read a uncanny sign board…Chocolate Soup…nice place for our coffee date…in the next 10 min, me and babo tasted the best dark hot chocolate of the world…heard of this?

Post the coffee date (like the 100 others we have everyday…we picked some grocery for tomorrow and walked back…there were huge road blocks and a barrage of the world most weird looking cars Parade - It was called ART CAR parade of Scotland…

Then suddenly remembered why the hotels in this place were booked before 6 months, it was Homecoming in Scotland…what a time to visit this place….

Finally reached the apartment and unwound in front of the fire place…got up to see Manan working, so made soup, bread and sausage for dinner….


Day 2 Highland Tour... Sunday 29th Nov




After a night of deep sleep, these
Places covered by Babo - Karth...Places covered by Babo - Karth...Places covered by Babo - Karth...

The Places we covered in our fast track tour...
kinds of breaks are absolute required while travelling, your body is more tired that what you realize…

Swallowed boiled eggs and flushed them with coffee for breakfast..ran to the city center to catch the 8.15 tour bus, it was so difficult to run against this cold Scottish wind…all my hours on the treadmill to improve my stamina seem to be a sham 😞

Sat on the bus and listened to soft Scottish music…wonderful driver + Guide…his jokes and laugh reminded me a colleague with whom I was working on a project in France…Next were the stories, our guide (Paul) was so fond of telling stories, the first one on the line was a very scary…the story of the body snatchers…

Body Snatchers of Scotland : There was an age in the start of 1900 where doctors and medical colleges were emerging and medical science was taking the form which is there today. Human Corpse (Medical Cadaverous) were of great demand as doctors needed for study, supplying human corpse (not software consulting) was a lucrative job. There was a man called William Bark who set up a hostel and invited people to stay, only to feed them well and smother them to death and sold their body to medical students. He and his partner (cannot remember his name) killed at least 30-35 people, and was only discovered by a doctor who recognized one of the body they supplied, it was a body of a prostitute to whom he was a regular customer….there are so many movies based on these maniacs and their deadly hostel…maybe the movie “Hostel” by Eli Roth could be inspired by this…not sure…

Our day was slowly taking its shape, were made stops in all the important places and covered a very large chunk of Scotland - with the start of the day being Cloudy, then super sunny , then rainy and it was Snowing - All the possible weather in this region…

Dance Night: Slowly lifting the grocery we dredged towards our magical apartment, on the way we noticed from the cathedral there was good music coming out whenever the door opened. We could not stop ourselves being dragged into this atmosphere. Colorful door, smiling Scotsmen wearing kilts and love music with so many smiling faces…

Some songs were in English and rest in Gaelic…there were Scottish dance pair who wore the traditional dress (and were looking super serious…not sure why)…next they started teaching the dance…two steps towards your right and one to your left and a tap…that was more than enough for the dance Enthu babe I fell for…I don’t remember what happened next…I was dragged into the dance floor like a sacrificial goat into the altar…next I remember I was trying to listen to the instruction and flip-flop my feet…It needed only 5 min for anybody to follow it (esp. a traditional dead body dancer from Chennai like me 😉)…Woo hoo what fun we had….

Few more Gaelic songs which gave us the time to settle and catch our breath…then again the next dance routine started…Glad I was here with my Babo who drags me into these otherwise which I would have backed out…What a transformation I have had…

3 more dances and a few sips of orange juice…we were exhausted, but had an un-wipe-able smile on our faces…the event was over by 10 pm, came back to our apartment and were thinking, last year same day we were dancing, not the Scottish dance but Garba before our marriage….still celebrating every day…


Day 3:

St. Andrews Day...St. Andrews Day...St. Andrews Day...

Checking out our neighbourhood
Our 1st Anniversary 30th Nov 2009


Woke up with the first anniversary kiss and most important a smile…I m sure I will be smiling the next whole year too…
Got ready quickly (yeah it was already 11.30) and cooked a breakfast - it was a pleasure to cook in this kitchen, scrambled eggs + toast + soup - In this trip I realized Soup and Crusty bread is the most wholesome and filling meal you can have when you are travelling…
Left our apartment to check out our neighborhood…the Edinburgh Castle…Walked through the Royal Mile (road leading to the Castle) and entered the Castle and stood in the queue for tickets…Took out the purse to pay the ticket price, the lady at the counter refused…30th Nov was St. Andrews’s day (A Hero of Scotland..)

After 45 min, we finished the Castle, took a lot of calls from friends who had called to wish for the special day, walked to the place where they were making Kilts (looked like lungis…) then reached the Andrew’s chapel and tried my level best to make very less noise and not disturb the ambience…such a difficult exercise.

Then we went
At the Edinburgh Castle...At the Edinburgh Castle...At the Edinburgh Castle...

Wishes from our Friends
towards the Princess street in search of our perfect coffee shop for the perfect coffee date of the day. Finally found an Italian coffee shop with interesting interiors…Babo ordered the safest option - Hot chocolate and the more adventurous me, ordered the Irish Coffee…(Black coffee worth only smelling, topped with whipped cream with a shot of brandy… with Fudge to save your posterior tongue from bitterness)..Bravely managed to swallow the coffee and kept telling stories to babo…

After few hours of romantic coffee date, we ventured out in the city and roamed out in the market area and then found a book shop, that the most time me and babo spend, we can spend hours together in a book store and that is a romantic place to date (Cross word, WH Smith, Higginbothams, Rose…now Waterstones…)

After one more introspective date in our “Chocolate Soup”, we walked towards our apartment already feeling sad that this holiday is coming for an end....


Day 4: Coming back…. 1st Dec 2009




Yeah the last day…back to office, mails, phone calls and escalations…woke up at 8 am, checked mails, slowly dragged myself to breakfast…Took a long sigh and looked at the Royal Mile from our window…dawdled till I heard Babo’s voice who had already made the breakfast and cleaned the apartment as we were leaving the place…After Soup + Crusty Roll + Desi Radio + Boiled eggs for breakfast…

We packed our bags and packed ourselves for the long journey through this cold Dec weather. Walked towards Advocate close, we enjoyed every bit of this city, the most beautiful thing about Edinburgh was those narrow streets which connect the old city to the new city…

We wandered through the university area and remembered the days we spent in DU (Delhi Univ)…wish we could have stayed more, there we spotted a cool store called Joe where my girl got me a card and a bracelet…

Then checked my watch, it was already 12.00, walked towards the station, signed at every sight of this gorgeous city, reached the station in 45 min, just enough time for a costa coffee. Took the London bound train, thankfully with booked tickets…and I started writing this blog…

These last four days in Edinburgh with Babo has been just beyond words…The apartment, the old city, Soup and crusty role, long stretches of land with dream like landscapes, and those coffee dates holding hands made our first anniversary magical…Every day was worth celebrating…
















End of Backpack-Mooning…






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Making of the Blog...Making of the Blog...
Making of the Blog...

(and our junk expressions ofcourse!!!)


5th January 2010

Continue to enjoy the bliss....
Machaa, well written.. Rather than naming it travel blog, u should have titled it lovelog. :) clearly shows the love and care you both have got for each other... and a very nice way to celebrate the anniversary! May the 'traditional dead body dancer from Chennai' and the 'in built tom-tom girl' enjoy each anniversary better and better
5th January 2010

tooooooooo gooooooooood
amazing mind blowing fantastic.. you guys have an alternate career... i loved the writing... i am sure u had fun writing it as well :) :) tc and keep writing such nice blogs.. i absolutely loved reading it....
6th January 2010

Awesome post - Gave me a new idea
Dear Da, Trust me....I couldn't resist myself reading this blog completely. Awesome post...loved reading it (though in office hours :P).......For sure, I am going to write similar kinda experience once I get married.....Thanks for giving this idea..... (No regret stealing this idea. If I implememt it successfully, it will pay in long run :))
6th January 2010

Blogmooning :-)
Hi Karthik and Babo (:-)), This is the cutest blog ever. God bless you both....Happy Backmooning for all the years to come :-)
31st January 2010

Awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
had lots of fun reading through it and am very very happy for you guysss Cheers, JP

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