The trip from London to Inverness was a rather long train ride. I’m sure we will have longer but 8 hours is probably the longest to date
It was somewhat scenic but more so towards the end when we started to see rocky cliffs dropping into the water. VERY COOL. No pics, though, the train was moving too fast! HA!
Our place in Inverness was in the home of Kimberly though we barely saw her. It was a cute little house with 2 bedrooms. One thing was kinda new. It was chilly! We needed HEAT on occasion! Kimberly had coffee and tea and some food staples for us. So nice.
When we first arrived we literally dropped our bags and hopped back in the taxi to go to dinner. I picked the closest pub possible (via google) and it was a great choice. Because as we were getting there, a two person band was setting up. YAY!!! I was impressed that Laney decided to be a bit adventurous – she ordered some venison sausage for dinner. I had some pork stroganoff. And “a side order of Veg”. It was all really good as was the beer – but the music was amazing. It was an adorable young woman playing the fiddle and a young man playing guitar. They took turns singing. So fun. Exactly what I wanted from Inverness.
I did notice pretty quickly that people were very prone to smile and were very friendly in Inverness. Which completely adds to the fun of any destination.
The next day it was predicted to rain so I had planned to stay home, do some blogging and some laundry and some trip planning. Well it wasn’t raining so by early afternoon I was itching to get going. So I did. Laney had her heart set on a chill day so I left her home. I wandered into town with the intent of seeing the Inverness castle, the High Street and shopping area and maybe hitting the Hootenanny where there would be live music 230 to 430
On my way walking a nice gentleman engaged me. I think talking about the weather or the traffic. As I has predicted with Laney, people are definitely speaking English – but that does NOT mean you will understand them. Ha. I needed to hear most things he said two times. We had a nice conversation about how he was from the northern part of Scotland I think the isles? And about how funeral homes make a lot of money. We were passing one at the time. He asked what my plans were (as he walked his bike, pausing frequently) and said I should join him at the Hootenanny because they play live music every Saturday. I told him that was part of my plans after I walk about a bit. We walked a ways further so he could put his mail into the post box and then we parted ways. He made me promise him 3 or 4 times that I would come to the Hootenanny. I had no trouble with this promise. Ha. Beer and live music and this sweet man. Oh did I mention he was no less than 85 !?!?
I stumbled across the Victorian Market where I wandered a while. Window shopping and talking on the phone.
Then I wandered the nearby streets in the general direction of the castle and high street. I popped into a few shops, checking out the wool and cashmere scarves and shawls. No room for those but they were lovely. I eventually did get a classic red plaid scarf in Edinburgh.
I saw the castle and took a few pictures from the bridge then realized it was getting late so I made a bee line for the Hootenanny. It was only a couple blocks away. Good because it had started to drizzle. When I got there it was PACKED. Not a free seat in the house! Except one. My sweet friend Danny had saved me a seat at a table for two near the front. He was so happy to see me. We drank Guinness, teased the other old men there how we were going to get married. And we would invite them to the wedding. Ha. We had a few dances. It was great fun. One guy sitting nearby told me he like my WHOO. it took a few times to understand what he was referring to. When the band finishes a song everyone claps. I also shout wooo wooo. Ha. I do this everywhere. Laney hates it. It embarrasses her but I don’t care. Ha. Gotta be me.
Danny was particularly proud of the young man in the band who would play keyboard or the BIG accordion and would sing. He kept telling everyone he was from his area or town in Scotland. So cute. I stayed until the end at 430. Then grabbed a taxi home and promptly napped. Ha. I had planned to go to dinner that night but was just SO exhausted. So was Laney. So for first time since we left home we ordered a pizza delivered. It wasn’t great but it was still pretty good. And we were cozy and warm in our heated house.
The next day again it was supposed to rain and blow at 20mph. It didn’t, but we stayed at home anyway. Lots of planning. And catching up on other necessities. Eventually we went to dinner. At Johnny Foxes. They have live music every day. Unfortunately it doesn’t start until 1030and we were too tuckered to stay. I’m not sure Laney could have stayed anyway. The U.K. Is rather strict about their pubs and drinking. Mainly a minor can’t be in the pub after a certain hour. Sometimes as early as 7 pm. We did have a nice dinner (I had mussels. So good) and saw some interesting things in the bathroom before we left. It should be noted that this pub is also attached to a sister bar that is a club called The Den. So…. kind of explains it. But not all of it. Ha.
The next day sadly it was time to go and we boarded train to Edinburgh.
A fairly short 3 hour train ride was made more interesting by the chatty woman sitting across from us. She was very friendly and very happy. Unfortunately her accent was so strong we could hardly understand ANYTHING she said. It was painful. It got to the point where it felt so rude to keep asking her to repeat herself (and simply nodding and smiling when we still didn’t understand her) that we both put in headphones and listened to music.
In Edinburgh we taxied to our airbnb where we met David. Not the actual resident of the apartment. But rather, the brother of the guy who lives there with his girlfriend. The couple was on holiday in Peru doing the Manchu Piccu trek – which we plan to do later this year. David lives in South Africa in Cape Town and is visiting while he finishes his masters in I think it was Economic History. Davids brother is expecting him to move to Edinburgh when he is done his masters but David isn’t so sure and asked me where our favorite places were. He seemed to take it very seriously when we told him.
Sidebar – Everyone asks this – about our favourite places. Skip this if I’ve talked about this already – but this is a very difficult question to answer. For starters I don’t want to insult anyone. Plus MY experience with each place is hardly typical and definitely not thorough enough to judge. If I stayed a few months or a year in each place – then maybe I could give a solid opinion. But my opinion is based on a lot of factors. Weather for starters. Every place looks SO MUCH BETTER when the sun is shining. RIGHT? Also my energy level. Which you know varies greatly. Plus where I have chosen to stay. Much of our experience tens to be in our ‘neighborhood’ and with the amount of planning I can tolerate and our budget – we may not be in the BEST SPOT all the time.
ANYWAY. We meet David, settle in and get to the usual routine. Laney chills with a screen and school work while I head out to walk the Royal Mile (which is a mile and an eighth, I’m told later, A Scottish mile) and pick up some food for breakfast and for snacks the next day. When I return Laney isn’t up for going out so I head out for dinner and leave her with some dry pasta to cook. Ha. When I get back from a lovely seafood dinner she still hasn’t cooked it. So I make it for her. We get to bed early because it’s been a Travel day and we have rock climbing in the morning!
The rock climbing adventure starts with a pickup outside our door. Love this. (It gets tiring figuring out the public transport in every city, and/or walking). We drive to the outskirts of the city and walk about 10 minutes through a park to a fairly large rock structure. We get geared up with a harness, safety rope and get to our fist climb. It’s very interesting seeing how it all works. The safety gear and the anchors in the rock at the top. We initially have Lee manning the safety line (fulfilling the role of belayer) and later we belay for each other. Just once, though, we both prefer that Lee do it. Ha. Climbing is great. We move to different parts of the rock for more challenging climbs. The abseiling down is a little scary at first but we get used to it. It’s not the jumping and pushing off the wall that you see in videos but more of a walking down backwards. But you are nearly vertical, putting all your weight and trust in the belayer.
We change it up a bit and do a different version of abseiling – maybe called rappelling this way – I’m not sure – where we control our own descent. Before it was up to the belay, how much rope they put out. In this version you control it yourself with a figure 8 made if metal and the rope that winds through it . You pull out the rope at the pace you want to descend. I like to descent fast. Ha. Keep in mind that Lee is still belaying. From the top. With a separate rope. A safety rope. Liked this part a lot and now l am looking forward to doing more of it when we go canyoning in Porto. Which is like this but with water involved. Or so Lee tells me. I have no idea what I’ve signed us up for. Ha.
We get home and rest briefly then shower and head out. Laney groans when I tell her I want to go to the Camera Obscura museum in addition to dinner. But she ended up loving it. It had some really cool stuff.
So at least ONE museum wasn’t total torture for Laney. HA!
Bonus – on the way TO the museum we see a man holding an owl on the sidewalk. On the way back there are TWO OWLS and we get to hold them, pet them, kiss them and get pictures. So great. They were Insanely fluffy. Like their feathers were piled four inches deep.
After that we do dinner. I wanted fish and chips in a pub but they wouldn’t seat Laney after seven so we settled for Thai and Indian. My meal was pretty good. Best masala sauce ever. My lamb was a little tough. But the naan made up for it. Laneys, unfortunately, was spicy despite us asking for no spice. It’s always a gamble. She was a good sport. She ate the meat because she was so hungry.
As we leave the restaurant Laney realizes she has misplaced her super man baseball hat. Almost certainly where I bought my Scottish scarf. It’s closed now but I promise to go back in the morning to get it.
The next day we are up and getting ready to go. We are flying again with a weight restriction so we pull out the old nylon bag and pack it with heave stuff to keep ‘big blue’ down below 20kg. Overall it goes smoothly and Laney stays in the apartment while I head out to buy another length of silver necklace I had bought the other day. And I get Laneys hat. Yay!! Off the to the airport and off to Dublin.