Anstruther was only meant to be a through station, but the last night had really knocked me out, so that I made the small harbour town, which is only a few kilometres away from St. Andrews, the destination of the stage and stayed in a B&B there.

There are good reasons to make Anstruther a travel destination even without the Vindaloo attack: The probably best Fish&Chips place in the country, a pretty 9-hole course with the heaviest par 3 in the UK, a former nuclear bunker, which during the Cold War lay under an ordinary house and today is a tourist attraction, the relaxed atmosphere of the place, with a beautiful, lively and colourful harbour promenade. From this harbour you can also take a ferry to the small Isle of May, which is a refuge for puffins.

I was thinking about Anstruther mainly because I like to read the book by Andrew Greig, Preferred Lies. I have already mentioned it HERE as an important motivation for my journey. Greig grew up in Anstruther and describes in his story the local golf course and above all the memory of his late father among his golf friends. I always found this touching and therefore the place had always been part of my loose travel plan.

While I was ignoring the puffin island as well as the nuclear bunker, which is supposed to have the size of two football pitches underground, and was intended as a Scottish control centre in the event of a nuclear war, and today is marketed superlatively as "Scotland's best kept secret" for tourists, I took a close look at the other attractions.
In fact, the Anstruther Fish Bar has been awarded several times as "Best Fish and Chips Shop" in Scotland and finally in 2009 as the best fish deep fryer in the UK. That's where I had to go, of course. After a nap in the B&B, my digestion was back to normal and I was hungry. So I got on my bike and rolled to the harbour. There the bar can be found quickly, but also easily confused with the fish and chips shop at the other end of the road, if you're not careful, so beware! The door policy in the AFB is much more rigid than in other snack bars: When entering the restaurant I was very definitely told that I should please wait until I was assigned a table. What was okay for Prince William, Robert De Niro and Tom Hanks - and I suppose they had to wait, too - I will certainly not question. The waiting time was bearable even with hunger to the extreme and took about 20 to 30 seconds, then I was taken to my table. But so much, however, with excitement. I ordered the classic dish, chose the homemade tartar sauce and was treated to the delicacies a short time later. I suppose that my sense of taste was still affected by the self-proclaimed chiliterror - otherwise I can't explain why I couldn't taste any difference to any other fried fish with chips I had eaten in the last weeks. But it was delicious in any case. I took the walk of a mile after supper in the best and beautiful colourful weather in the atmospheric harbour.

 

When I returned to my refugium for the night, I noticed that I had booked a room next to the local golf course, but unconsciously. So I went for a short walk around the site. Two thirds of the course lies on a plateau above a cliff, the remaining third lies on both sides of the plateau. A very attractive location, which reminded me very much of the place I would visit again in a few days and which I had already played a few years ago: The Glen in the beautiful North Berwick, the only average but highly scenic neighbour of the famous North Berwick West Link. But I anticipate improperly. Back to there and then. In a picturesque evening mood I strolled along the small golf course and was happy about my plan to quickly play a 9-hole round here before tomorrow's tour leading me to the Scottish capital.

At breakfast I met the other guests. A perhaps 70-year-old lady and her daughter, who may have been my age. The mother had her birthday that day and was very touched by the attention she received. When the B&B owner brought in a sparkling candle on a small cake, some tears poured down. The daughter had obviously taken the mother to a place of her youth to celebrate her day of honour. While the birthday girl needed a moment to regain her composure, I chatted with her daughter, who was a passionate racing cyclist, about the state of the cycling network to and from Edinburgh, where they lived. She said that I could look forward to a pleasant ride on quiet side roads and just before Edinburgh on the Forth Road Bridge. In Edinburgh itself there would be very good cycle paths around and into the city. Within the city it would be more usual to integrate into the normal traffic. That's how she spoke and that's how I did it. Maybe I just didn't take a proper look or was on the road at times when the real experience wasn't possible, but in fact the traffic in Edinburgh can't be compared to the annoying traffic in other cities of similar importance; even with the packed Horst I could manoeuvre through the streets relatively easily.

With the anticipation for the ride in my hand luggage I rolled to the golf course. There was no visible activity and so I could put my plan into action. In addition to my anticipation, however, I apparently had something else in my hand luggage: the memory of Señor El Hosel, the socket I hit the day before yesterday in St. Andrews. At hole 3 the hand luggage became too heavy for me and I took the socket out. What followed was really shocking: From a safe place on the fairway I hit the first socket into the rough, from there another one on the next hole and then another one on a pitch to the green. The phrase loss of control got a very distinct form here. The fact that I actually hit a ball in the subsequent process should be ranked on the international miracle scale somewhere between the colossus of Rhodes and the transformation of water into apple spritzer. Since my martyrdom by the three sockets in a row should already be sufficiently large, I suppose that the canonisation can not be far in the future. Anything else would be pedantic, I mean. Apropos miracles: A good opportunity to accomplish one would also be a birdie on the par 3, which Today's Golfer voted the heaviest of its kind in Great Britain in 2007. 220 meters long, on the right an overgrown hillside, on the left the sea, the green cannot be seen from the tee and hangs in all directions. Only the fact that there is a piece of fairway in front of the green that can be used to play the hole as a par 4 makes it a realistic playing option for the normal golfer. In my memory even this fairway is not that easy to hit. For verily I say unto you: a miracle par 3.

All in all it was a lot of fun to play on this course. It is simply too enchanting not to be fun, especially in bright sunshine and a light breeze underlining the character of the course.

The way to Edinburgh was a pleasure indeed and passed in no time. And actually the way over the Forth Road Bridge, which is only open to buses and pedestrians and cyclists on its own lane, was a slight attraction. I took a little break in the middle of the bridge, looked over to the Forth Bridge, a huge railway bridge that had the largest span in the world at its opening in 1890 and was also the first bridge made entirely of steel. Until today, the bridge is in regular operation, 200 trains a day pass the world cultural heritage. It could have been a more beautiful break, a more beautiful bridge, if it hadn't been there that Mönchengladbach had taken the lead. There is nothing you can do, the season will once again be one of the countless transitional years for Schalke. But next year...

Shortly after the bridge I actually found the already announced cycle paths around Edinburgh. Very good infrastructure, almost highways, this is fun and it is urgently necessary that more of them are built in Germany. The last kilometres I drove on a bright and wide promenade towards the finish line. Until then my omniscient telephone told me that the way leads to the right and there are only 400 meters left. Unfortunately there was some dense forest. On closer inspection I was able to find a narrow trail. So I folded the machete out of my Leatherman, punched myself through the undergrowth and defended myself against squirrels and rabbits. Obviously I had landed in an extremely wild area. This was confirmed when I actually found a wide road behind the forest - possibly there would have been a more comfortable way - and the campsite. At the reception I was told that there had been a major problem with bicycle theft lately. Machete Kills, I thought for a moment, but decided to accept the offer and lock my bike in a storage room behind the reception for the night.

I finished the evening with a nice can of chili and pondered what rating there might be today. Meanwhile I fell asleep and dreamed of fish, chips, a birthday cake, a can of chili, and all that served in a silver bowl. I smiled and presented the day with the Victoria trophy. It's much nicer.

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