Monday, September 23, 2013

Britain Days 6 & 7 - To Inverness and Loch Ness

 We said good-bye to the Orkney Islands and flew off for Inverness.  Yvonne packed us a lunch which we ate at the airport.  The Kirkwall airport is basically one big room, with a door off to a security part.  There is 1 conveyer belt for luggage, I watched some men bring in the luggage from a plane by hand - 4 suitcases.  But everyone took their job seriously and it was the highest security check we had all trip.

Our first stop in Inverness was to do laundry.  The center of the town is really quite small and easily walked within 5-10 minutes.  Our B&B, the Bluebell House was just 2 blocks from the laundry.  We had a lovely 4 poster bed and took advantage of it right away.  We were both pretty tired and took a zero day of napping and vegetating.  I finally had a chance to do some knitting too.

Friday morning we went to a kiltmaking museum.  It was interesting, but there was less there than I thought there would be.  We learned how they are made by hand, saw a funny film about "famous kilts" and saw some people sewing them.

Another shop down the street caught my eye and I went in.  I discovered things made by an Orkney artist, whose studio I wanted to visit but it was always closed when we went by.  Her sister, Judith, owns this shop, a little bit of Orkney in Inverness.
 I also saw some advertisement for day trips to Orkney from Inverness and seriously considered going on one.  I missed the islands already.

As we walked along the streets, a friendly man ushered us inside a church.  Not having a tight schedule, we complied.  They had tea and cakes for sale on real China dishes.  We got to talking to one of the congregants and they said that their church is trying to stand up to the liberal leanings of their denomination.  They were taking a stand now, along with other churches and thought it best to fight from inside than to separate, for now.

In the early afternoon, we set off on our first tourist tour thing.  Jacobite cruises offers bus and boat tours of Loch Ness including Urquhart Castle.  We started on the bus, then changed to the boat and got dropped off at the castle.

The castle is a ruin, blown up by the people who lived there so it wouldn't fall into the wrong hands.  It must have been quite a project to blow this thing up.

To be honest, I didn't even look for Nessie.  I was really just enjoying being out on the Loch (lake).

Sometimes being with a tour group is nice because you get more information than just going around by yourself.  But on the other hand, we didn't have time to see everything we wanted to at the castle.  

As we left, a wedding was starting.  It was becoming a tourist attraction to the tourists with the bagpipes, kilts, and the bride trying to walk down the aisle if the tourists would step off the walk way.  Can you believe that those pesky tourists took pictures of the wedding party?

It turned out that the timing of the tour was right after all.  About 10 minutes down the road it started to rain, so we had left just in time.  Although we never mind a little rain since we have waterproof coats and an umbrella.  We also returned to Inverness in time to get a table at Little Italy.  Apparently it's hard to get in on a weekend without reservations, they turned away people after we sat down.  

We walked off our pizza by walking up to Invnerness castle.  It's a working castle still, used by the government for office space.

Inverness Castle

And no, still no lemonade.  But we did discover something called "rocket" on the menu.  It's similar to arugula.

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To view all the posts for Britain 2013, click here.

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