Nessie hunt :)

Trip Start Apr 20, 2011
Trip End May 07, 2011

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Flag of United Kingdom  , Scotland,
Sunday, April 24, 2011

Had a nice big breakfast and caught a bus to Inverness. The route was very scenic, especially the Skye bridge and Eilean Donan castle (featured in movies Highlander and The World is Not Enough). We also passed the famous Loch Ness on the way to Inverness.
At this point I really start to appreciate visiting small cities and towns: it took us 5-7 minutes to walk from the bus station to the hotel, then a few more minutes to drop off the luggage and walk to Tourist Information office and book a trip to Loch Ness leaving from the same bus station. Then we found a nice Italian cafe near the TI office, had some lunch and caught the tour bus.
The tour was pretty enjoyable, especially the bus driver's accent (rolling r's and pronouncing "school" as "skewl"). We rode to the loch (lake) Ness, along the river Ness from the city of Inverness (which means "mouth of river Ness"). The waters of the lake are dark and mysterious and the great depths of the lake make it the largest fresh water body in England. It seems like the legend of the monster was started back in 15th century, when a missionary named Columba impressed local pagan tribes (who were massively tattooed and extremely illiterate) by banishing a huge reptilian monster from river Ness into the lake Ness, using the power of god (who was much more helpful back then for some reason).
After a 30-minute bus ride filled with interesting commentaries provided by the driver, we switched to a boat which took another half an hour to get us to Urquhart castle. The castle is picturesque, but not very exciting, since it was exploded during Jacobite wars and only an empty shell remains. It was also drizzling and chilly.

Julia never fails to keep the trip amusing even in the most dreary weather: when we were approaching the castle in a boat, a few people (me included) rushed to a side of the boat to take some pictures. As the boat turned around for docking, Julia was extremely perplexed by 3 things:
1. Where did the castle go?
2. Why is there another castle on the other side on the boat?
3. Why is that other castle bigger than the old one?
I've been laughing for the rest of the day! ^_^

After the trip to Loch Ness, failing to see the monster, Nessie, we went to find a pub with live music. Unfortunately, there's only one such place in town and it being the Easter weekend, it was packed to the rim, so we went to have a nice steak dinner instead. After the dinner we went around the quiet night town, with the occasional patch of drunk tourists, and took some cool night pictures. During the walk around sleepy areas of the town we got lost in the maze of identical dark streets, but after a while found the way back to the centre of the city and our hotel!
All in all, Inverness is a really pleasant small city! 
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