Saturday, April 9, 2011

Did You See Nessie?

Short answer -- no. But that doesn't mean that our visit up to Loch Ness was any less awesome.

For our last day in Inverness, I wanted to up over to the loch and see both the water and the castle. Our train tickets home weren't until almost 5pm, so we had plenty of time. So Chris-Anne and I (and a new friend we met at the hostel, Rachel, who was traveling by herself so we invited her to tag along with us for the day) headed up to Urquhart Castle up on Loch Ness to get our daily castle fix.

The fog had rolled in over the loch overnight, which only added to the mystery and age of the place. For anyone who's imagining Scotland from movies or classy paperback novels, I'm pretty sure this is what you're imagining.

Urquhart Castle, through the fog.

Chris-Anne searching out through the fog... and probably climbing on something she should be climbing on. Doesn't she know that's not a 500 year old step stool?

We explored the castle while we were waiting for the fog to burn off with the sunshine. Loch Ness was lovely with the fog, but I wanted a clear picture down the water.

Loch Ness, with the fog slowly burning off.

It took a couple of hours, but the fog finally burned off and we were able to get our clearer pictures -- even if the fog did add a certain romance to the area.

So, with our craving for pictures sated, we had about an hour before we had to catch the bus back to Inverness. Since there is a footpath that follows the road, we decided to walk the 30 minutes down to the village of Drumnadrochit and catch the bus from there. It was a nice walk (something that I love) and a good chance for Chris-Anne to get pictures of all the new and fluffy lambs in the pastures by the road.

It's always funny the things that tourists want to take pictures of. For someone who grew up in the city (that would be Chris-Anne -- my hometown is just that, a town, but it was more likely to see a soybean field than a sheep pasture) the sight of sheep all over the place is cause for pictures and poses and 'look at the fluffy little sheep!' Good times, good walk, and good sheep.

When we got to Drumnadrochit, we skipped the Nessie exhibits and grabbed a drink to sit at a park bench outside the post office which doubled as the bus stop. As an addition, we didn't just get drinks, but a show as well.

A piper was playing in the park, which just added to the atmosphere. I've decided that I need to learn how to play bagpipes -- or at least just play them once -- before I head back to the states. I'm musical, I can pick it up. Just show the fingering and I'm good to go.

After that, we headed back to Inverness, said goodbye to Rachel, and headed back to the train station to hop the train back to St Andrews. And as we couldn't have a day without a travel mishap, the train was only delayed a little bit coming out of Inverness. Something about a mix-up with the track. Par for the course.

We'd thought about hitting the town when we got back to St Andrews, but by the time we got in, all we could think about was dinner and bed. Chris-Anne to her pallet on the floor, and me to my cheap, single, uncomfortable mattress. But... that mattress is mine, and after sleeping on a top bunk for days, boy did it feel good.

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