Adventure

Day Nine: Inverness (October 10)

On our last day in Scotland, Dad and Jac took the car and headed out to Glen Strathfarrar and ate at the Nessie Deli, which had amazing fish chowder. Mom and I elected to stay in Inverness and shop for souvenirs at the Victorian Market, have lunch at the Rendezvous Cafe, and visit The Bakery.

After walking home from The Bakery, Mom and I relaxed for a while then began packing up our stuff. When Jac and Dad returned, Jac went out walking around. Dad and I drove down to the River Ness Islands and walked around them. Apparently, Jac was there at the same time (he saw the rental car), but we never bumped into each other.

After walking around the Ness Islands, Dad and I went to visit Inverness Leisure, the indoor swimming facility that had a competition pool as well as a pool, slide, and water toys for people to play in. We saw swim caps signed by Adam Peaty and James Wilby, who are Olympic swimmers for “Team GB.” We drove back to the AirBnB, then the four of us drove to the Black Isle Bar and Rooms for dinner. We had a margherita pizza and a haggis pizza and we enjoyed them both.

When we finished eating dinner, Jac decided to walk back to the AirBnB while Mom, Dad, and I went to The Whisky Shop to get a souvenir for one of Dad’s friends then drove the car to the airport and took a taxi back to the AirBnB. We all finished packing then went to sleep early for our 3:00 AM wake up so that we could be in our taxi by 4:00 AM and at the airport by about 4:30AM for our 6:25 AM flight.

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Adventure

Day Eight: Inverness (October 9)

On Wednesday, we decided to explore some of the areas around Inverness. We started out at the Clava Cairns at Balnuaran of Clava, Bronze Age circular chambers with standing stones around them. Balnuaran of Clava is believed to be the inspiration for Craigh Na Dun in the Outlander series and most of the stones there are believed to have been placed over 4,000 years ago.

We left Balnuaran of Clava and drove to the small town of Rosemarkie, where we hiked up to the two Fairy Glen Falls and took some photos. It seemed like a really popular place for people to walk their dogs as we saw several along the trail. At the both of the falls there were “money trees” where people hammer coins into logs as an offering to the fairies, a tradition I was happy to take part in.

After making the return journey from the falls, we went looking for a place to eat. The sign at the Fairy Glen Falls had mentioned the Rosemarkie Beach Cafe, so we decided to go there. Dad and Mom said they had the best burgers of any of the burgers they ate in Scotland.

When we were finished eating, we walked along the beach a little bit before it started raining and we returned to the car. From there, we drove to a place called the Falls of Shin. A Scottish man Dad and Mom met at the Falls of Falloch along Loch Lomond had recommended it as salmon are known to jump up the waterfall. We were lucky enough to see several fish attempt (and many make) the jump up the falls.

We were exhausted from all of our hiking, so we ended up just eating McDonald’s for dinner in the heart of Inverness. I tried the cheese and herb melts which were really just like sad mozzarella sticks.

Adventure

Day Two: Inverness to Edinburgh (October 3)

I woke up at 6AM today after falling asleep around 6:30 or 7 last night. I picked up my things and went and got Mom and Dad from their room to go to Costa to get coffee/tea and breakfast. I had a coke and a lemon muffin that was delightful. It had some lemon curd in it. At about 7:30, we all walked to the train station, which was very conveniently located right next to our hotel. We boarded the train, stowed our luggage, and found our seats. The train departed at 7:55 and we were stunned by the beauty of the landscape around us. A woman with a trolly of tea, coffee, snacks, and sweets came by. I got a Yorkshire tea and some shortbread and Jac got some coffee. Then Jac went to find the buffet bar on the train while Mom, Dad, and I enjoyed the scenery.

We arrived safely in Edinburgh, got our luggage to the shop the airBnB owner has to store, and went to Eteaket for afternoon tea! It was delightful.

Afternoon tea at Eteaket!

We walked back to the airBnB and unloaded before walking around Edinburgh, stopping at a grocery for some things, and going to dinner at The Elephant House. We were all pretty exhausted, so we went to bed early.

Haggis balls we each tried at The Elephant House! They weren’t bad!

Adventure

Day One: IAD to AMS (October 1-2)

Our flight was a little late boarding and a little late departing, but we made it to the airport and got through security with plenty of time to spare.

This has probably been the most turbulent flight I’ve ever been on. I can’t remember a more bumpy ride on any of my flights.

In spite of the Ativan and Ambien that I took and the capability of using my CPAP machine, I couldn’t fall asleep as people were wandering the aisles bumping into me and talking and making noise even after the cabin crew turned the lights down. It’s only 10:43 EST, but in 2 hrs and 25 minutes, we will be landing in Amsterdam at about 7AM local time.

Mom has some type of weird pain in her ear that doesn’t seem to be going away no matter what we throw at it; but Dad, Jac, and I are doing alright. I imagine I’ll be pretty cranky our first day in Inverness from lack of sleep, but that’s probably true of all of us. I’m grateful that we weren’t seated near any small children or infants.

We will have a four hour and forty minute layover in Amsterdam, but that’s really not enough time to leave the airport since we are fairly certain we have to go through customs as it’s our entry point into the EU.

Update: We didn’t have to go through customs in Amsterdam. We probably could have risked leaving the airport. We have been waiting here for almost four hours. Jac may have slept for about an hour and a half on the flight from DC, but none of the rest of us got any sleep. We will arrive in Inverness in a little over two hours, where we can drop our luggage off at the hotel and explore the city a bit. Mom and Dad are grateful they don’t have to immediately get on a train for three more hours to go straight to Edinburgh, and I’m honesty ok with relaxing a bit tonight since I’m running on fumes, caffeine, and stimulants (prescribed to me!) at the moment.

We got to Inverness, dropped off our luggage, and went exploring! I went to the Victorian Arcade while Jac and Mom did some shopping and Dad walked down the street. I went to Milk Bar and had a salted caramel milkshake and Dad met me there. We all went back to the hotel, checked in, then went out walking. We are walked down to the River Ness and saw Hootenanny then crossed the bridge and walked down the River farther.

Majestic stairwell at the Royal Highlands Hotel That may have inspired the staircase on the Titanic!
One of the bridges over River Ness

We ended up eating dinner at The Filling Station, which has American food, because we wanted to eat somewhere close to the hotel. I had a chicken sandwich, Dad and Mom had burgers, and Jac had fish and chips. We went back to the Royal Highland Hotel where we were staying, Mom and Dad went to their room and Jac and I went to our room, I took a shower, and we all crashed after having been awake for more than 24 hours.

Jac on the flight from IAD to AMS
Dad on the flight from IAD to AMS
Mom on the flight from IAD to AMS
Me on the flight from IAD to AMS