There comes Heidrun
Back on the mainland. Ullapool is the port of disembarkation. It is Thursday the 9th of September. I am scheduled to meet Claudia and her friends Heidrun and Haensel. They happen to rent a cottage for their week of vacation in Nedd just 50 or so kilometres north of Ullapool. I am bringing along a few bottles of red wine and a bottle of Talisker.
After many weeks on my own I am looking forward to meeting some known Austrian faces and bringing gifts (food for common consumption) along seems like a good idea.
Heidrun and I met before, years ago while in London, but only very briefly. So this is an occasion to get to know her and her funny brother Haensel, an actor.
Claudia and I have known for years. The evenings go by as expected, eating and drinking and having a good time.
Friday morning the 4 of us leave the cottage and drive north to visit Handa Island, a wildlife reserve famous for its high cliffs and bird watching possibilities.
Saturday we are back in Ullapool to mingle with the crowd of tourists and investigate the local pub and restaurant scene.
Before the evening starts Heidrun and I test drive the Land Rover on the 4WD road that follows the Rhidorroch river up Glen Achall. Heidrun has been the first woman that takes a noticeable interest in the Land Rover.
She wants to drive it and enjoys how well it manages climbing steep and rocky patches of the path which is littered with massive stones. Taking the Land Rover onto this extreme road gives us both a good feeling of what traveling might be in other parts of the world. The Land Rover performs its task to our both satisfaction.
On the top of the driving experience we enjoy the fantastic scenery of lochs and glens and the bad road gives it a taste of being far, far away. We listen to Winter Chill 3 and talk and talk and slowly we fall in love.
Sunday Heidrun, Claudia and Haensel leave me and Ullapool. Haensel has to make his flight back to Vienna from Glasgow and Heidrun hers a few days later from London.
On my own in Ullapool I spend my time working on the web-site for the next 2 days. Being busy keeps me from thinking too much. Life has changed. And it hurts. Monday I revisit the Rhidorroch valley, the place where Heidrun and I had a can of Tennent's Lager. Heidrun is tall, "1.83" she said then. That's taller then my 1.75 meters. "I would not care" she added. I think she would join ThsFabTrek if I asked her. "When I go back to Austria I'll go and see her."
Tuesday morning I leave Ullapool. Too much drinking in the evenings. U2 is on. From "Boy" to "October" to "War" with "Sunday Bloody Sunday" and "New Year's Day" all the way to "40". Some of their albums I play again and again.
I drive more kilometres then ever in Scotland: A total of 450 that day. Something has changed. The concept which was clear a week ago is no longer valid. Heidrun has moved to the centre of my mind.
Unease overcomes me. I am not interested in traveling on my own anymore. "I need to go to Edinburgh and fly to Zurich and then to Bludenz/Vorarlberg/Austria and see her and find out what has happened, whether something has happened and how to proceed".