Inverness is stunning! Of course, it helped that every Scot we ran into said “it’s the best day we’ve had yet this year” weather-wise. It reminded me of Maine in May; sunny, warm in the sun and cool in the shadows, with the occasional breeze that makes you glad you have a jacket.
We arrived in Inverness via the train from Scotland, making several stops in the Scottish highlands, which look remarkably like the Appalachian mountains in the states. I later discovered from a tour guide that at one point in the distant past, when there was just one giant meta-continent on earth, what is now Scotland was connected with what is now Appalachia.
We did one of the few “touristy” things we’ve done on the trip; once in Inverness we booked a bus tour from Inverness down to Loch Ness. I hadn’t been aware that Loch Ness was so deep; apart from the obvious legends about Nessie, it’s an incredibly scenic place. The bus took us to the Loch Ness 2000 Exhibition, where we were ushered indoors to watch cheesy videos about Nessie. It was cool and informative, particularly the bits about the geologic formations of the area, but I’d have preferred time to get out and walk around Urquhart Castle.
After the Exhibition, we were then bussed to a small port, where we boarded a boat and sailed out onto Loch Ness. The boat ride was about an hour, it took us down to the Urquhart Castle ruins, where I madly snapped photographs the entire trip. I think a few of them have some nice potential; they along with the Glastonbury photos are the best ones I’ve taken thus far. I will of course post them all up when I return; watch this space.
After the guided tour, we went back to Inverness where I cooked a dinner for my family, relaxed and watched a bit of a BBC special on the history of Dr. Who, and we went to bed early.
This morning, we took the train from Inverness back to Edinburgh, this time a slightly different route that took us around the Firth of Forth (as opposed to across it on a bridge), and into the towns of Falkirk and Stirling. Once in Edinburgh, my wife and daughter went back to the hostel for some down time and to get some washing done (my daughter and I both have the sniffles a bit, she’s utterly plugged up and for me it’s settling in my chest); I took the opportunity to walk around Edinburgh. For those of you familiar with Edinburgh, I essentially walked in a giant spiral — widdershins — from the train station to Princes Street, down through the Princes Street Gardens (which used to be a lake, it was drained in the 18th century and turned into a giant garden), around Edinburgh Castle, and down the Royal Mile to Bridge St. Once on Bridge St, I went back to the train station to find out how to catch a bus to the hostel. Some woman at the info desk was incredibly helpful and I decided to forgo the bus and walk to the hostel, back up Princes St. to the Lothian Rd, and then up to the hostel. It was a nice 30 minute walk. I also picked up some more vegetables for tonight’s dinner, which I just finished cooking and eating with my family.
I’ve now taken over 200 photos, and still have room for another 100 or so. Tomorrow we get up early to take an early train to London and then to Cornwall. We’ll be on the train all day. Yay.