North and South
Trip Start Jul 14, 2009
73Trip End Oct 13, 2009
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Where I stayed
So we were off to the North today, a departure of 8am or a bit before scheduled for today. Breakfast doesn't take as long as they have scheduled in for it, so we went down to breakfast last, scoffed some food and was still on the bus by 7.5am. We had our good seats from the rotation of 2 forward on the left hand side and 2 back on the right..so 2nd from the front with the seats in front of us lowered slightly we had great views as we headed off into the Scottish high country.
Despite the amount of sleep that I had, I dozed and slept for the first part of the bus trip on the way to St. Andrews. We skirted the city by pass of Edinburgh and headed north, we got to St. Andrew around 9.45am and had 45mins to look around and get a coffee. We had a decent coffee from a little organic shop, looked at the green, got some souvenirs and got persecuted by some wasps. 30pence to go to the bathroom we headed back to the bus and continued on our way to our lunch stop Braemar. It was around 2 hours before we stopped again passing through little towns, being told of the history and looking at all the blooming heather on the scottish mountains.
Braemar is a little town that is hosting the highland games this weekend, the Queen and the Royals are currently at Balmoral near Braemar and come to the games each year. Our tour director swore he saw Prince Charles driving a green Range Rover! We had good fish and chips in Braemar for lunch. I walked around and looked at shops, Dan walked to the golf course to get a scorecard as our Tour director told us they had a Par 7. When Dan got back after a very brisk and long walk, it didn't appear to have a Par 7 at the Golf course, or not how it is currently configured. Dan wasn't particularly happy about being led astray..especially with so little time in the town.
The bus headed back off into the countryside, we weaved our way through the little towns, and made our 3pm appointment to Glenlivet, a whiskey distillation factory. We had a guided tour through the process and then a "wee dram" at the end. Both of us didn't particularly care for the whiskey, although we both tried the 16 and 18yr old whiskey, The 18yr old whiskey was being sold for $42 pounds a bottle- you'd have to truely love/appreciate whiskey to pay that!
We left just a little after 4pm and worked our way through Inverness, the battle of Culloden battlefield and then to Strathpeffer our location for the night. The town itself is small, the hotel is impressive and quirky with character. We again got allocated a double room and went down to change it. The receptionist chick swore they hadn't recieved our twin request and later Matt our tour guide swore he's been emailing all the hotels, but didn't really care that we had a problem. He is not becoming our fav person I must say. Not terribly proactive or accepting that there is an issue when there IS an issue! So we went from our first floor room to a 3rd floor room which was a bit smaller but twin beds and sat and watched some tv. Dinner was at 7.30pm and 20 mins before we had a walk out on the grounds and onto the street to see what is there. There is a cafe and ice cream place and a few more shops to look at when they are open tomorrow.
Dinner was with another 2 females traveling together..around the 60's mark but quite young in outlook. We had a nice chat whilst having a mediocre dinner. Dan and I both had pate (seem you get it everywhere here!) and the ladies a total of 3-4 wedges for entree. Scungy on the wedges we all thought. Manes was Beef Olive which was tasty...with veges and gravy. That was quite nice. Dessert, Dan had cold affogato really...ice cream with coffee syrup on it. I had bread and butter pudding which was a flanny crap thing and watered custard. Yeach. Horrid.
We headed back to the room to do washing, which took a while to do and unpack/repack the bags a bit. Tomorrow is 8.30am departure for a day out and about in Scotland and Dan is having his birthday dinner after visiting Loch Ness! It's Daniels Birthday tomorrow and cake will be had!