Monday, July 20, 2009

Scotland: oot 'n aboot...

The Jacobite steam train on the Glen Finnan Viaduct.
Me 'n the ladies (Betsy, Vicki, me and Lorie) at the Falls.
Our fave treat. 'HobNobs: One nibble and you're nobbled!' Ain't that the truth!
Hoping Nessie will magically pop up somewhere behind us while we pose.
Urquhart Castle and Loch Ness behind me.
Kil-something castle. Oh, I'll remember late.

Oh Friends, what a great trip this has been so far! I have been to Scotland twice before, but this has been my first time to venture further than Edinburgh and Glasgow. Oh my, the Highlands are absolutely spectacular! I canna hardly believe it. I didn'a know how fantastic it was! Here is what we've been up to so far (me, Victoria Jane, Betsy Lou, and Lorie Ann).

Friday: I arrived to Edinburgh (got first class - woohoo!), met up with the ladies in Glasgow and we were on our way in our rental car. Drove to a small town called Luss. Quaint and adorable. Walked passed a small church where a wedding was going on, experienced quite a downpour of rain (the first moment I realized I should've brought a coat), heard some bag-piping, then left. On the way to see a plethora of castles, I fell asleep in the car a bit, then woke for Loch Awe and a pretty old castle (I'll get the name later), drove many more hours through amazing country side, then stopped at Eilean Donan Castle. Drove a few more hours to reach the Isle of Skye, and our destination of Portree. We arrived after 10:30, and it was still light! So lovely. We found our hotel and fell right asleep. Ok, we didn't. The drunk folks in the square outside our window were awfully loud.

Saturday: The girls left for kayaking, whilst I, not realizing how terrible the exchange rate is, decided to save some money and hang out in Portree. Had a marvelous time on my own. Then, the rain poured... a lot. It was today I realized I really, really needed to buy a coat. Of course, I didn'a want to spend 50 bucks on a coat, but I HAD to. It was freezing every day, and I was shivvering like I hadn't shivvered in years! I'm not kidding, either. I've been much happier ever since. Though, I'm still cold. Weird. We did some additional driving around the Isle of Skye and enjoyed more amazing country side, and a castle or two. There are many!

Sunday: Left the Isle of Skye and headed for Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle. The Macdonalds were conquerors of this castle. Actually, they pretty much ran the country. You see, Miss Victoria Jane is a Macdonald, and very proud of her heritage is she. However, we are finding out that they were a wee bit selfish. They stormed pretty much every castle and made it their own. Quite funny, really. Anyways, after the freezing rain and freezing wind of Urquhart, we headed to Inverness for church. Extra blessings on our heads for changing in the car. That was awkward. Church was great, the ward was teeny, the building quite small, but the same spirit every where you go in the world. Such a comfort.
After we left church, we had a picnic on Loch Ness and enjoyed a few patches of sunlight here and there. We soon left on our way to Fort William to find our accommodations for the next 3 nights at Birch Brae. Basically, it is a small little group of cabin-like houses that are self-catering. Free internet, even! It has been lovely. So, we watched a movie on our surround sound DVD system that came with the place, and then headed off to bed.

Monday: Boarded The Jacobite Steam Train to Mallaig. This was a beautiful journey through much more country side. We also crossed the Glen Finnan viaduct (made famous by Harry Potter). It was a really enjoyable chug-chug kind of train that took us to the small sea-side town of Mallaig. We found the West Highland Hotel for lunch where we lunched on the ever-popular fish 'n chips and just enjoyed watching the wind whipping outside while we sat cozy inside. Truly, it was absolutely freezing!!! I don't know how people do it. It felt colder to me than a snow storm. Maybe just because I don't expect this cold in July. Yeah, could be it. Soon the steam train beckoned us with its high-pitched whistle, and we were off! And now, I sit in this 'cabin' warm, tummy full of good food, and ready for yet another day in Scotland.

Two more days, then we head to the land of my heritage... Erin Go Bragh!


Kalli Ko said...

hey skinny, your travels have me jealous!


The blogging Bakers said...

I am so jealous. I have always wanted to go to Scotland and Ireland. How lucky you are.

karen louise said...

Oh Gosh!!!!! Soo wish I was there wit'ya. Sounds like you are having an amazing time, and can't wait to hear about the rest!! :)

karen louise said...

Oh Gosh!!!!! Soo wish I was there wit'ya. Sounds like you are having an amazing time, and can't wait to hear about the rest!! :)

Shannon said...

Ok, I caught myself reading this with a Scottish Oh dear! Yep, it's still going, or maybe it's Irish, yeah I think it's an Irish accent. Anywho, please bring back some Irish and Scottish sand from the ocean, would you now. :)

Rob A. said...

Don cha know how I love the isles. And the peat, ah the peat.

What a great time. Did you feel like you were heading to Hogwarts on the train?

Doug Curran said...

And say helloooooo to Bobby Burns and his sweet Afton(that's a river)aye you will, won't cha? One of Scotland's greatest poets!!! Love your travelogue too - ever thought of writing for a travel mag? Love, Dad

Malea said...

You are livin' the (my) dream:)!!!

Kelsey K. Hartley said...

HobNobs huh? Must try these.
I've been to Inverness. Didn't know they had a ward. Wish I'd checked. If I ever go again I want to ride the train. Traveling in them looks more romantic in another country compared to AmTrak.

Hatch said...

Ter a mere decade when we were rompin' the land. Aye what a grad time indeed.
Being jealous is NOT the same as coveting, so if I am green with the former I'm not sinning right?
Oh Erin I love your travels. Put up a silent prayer while you are in the green land for your dear Aunt Catharine, my favorite catholic x-nun.(Please forgive my wrong spelling). And I will be praying that you have a wonderful time. Hugs to you, Betsy, and Victoria Jane.

Hatch said...

Said Aunt is in the USA now yes? If so, America is more charming for her presence. And Ireland is more charming for yours.