Friday, May 18, 2012

Adventures in Scotland.. #1

**notes are at the end**

The day we landed in Scotland, I was exhausted, in excruciating pain, drugged, and had to work 6 hours after we were wheels on the ground.  That night, after work, I came back to the hotel and slept like a rock.  That next morning, I woke up, had my first "warm breakfast"(a) and found 3 other guys that were going out and asked if I could tag along with them.  They agreed to suffer my (awesome) company.. and so we headed up towards Loch Ness, which was an hour and a half away from Lossiemouth.  We passed through Elgin and Inverness (b) on the way.

At a pull off area on the way towards the Loch Ness Exhibition.  This was just a small village we thought was quaint, so we stopped to take photos.

The roads in Scotland were MUCH FUN!  And since we were all driving rentals...
who cared about wearing out their tires?

Oh, thats just some castle ruins.  No big deal.

A weed that grows all over Scotland.  It doesn't look friendly.

The day was nice, but it had rained the day prior, making this possible.

A boat that was used on Loch Ness to probably do something important.

A wee little yellow submarine, used to look for Nessie and map the bottom of the Loch.

NESSIE!!!! (c)

Just this random castle, which we later stopped at.

We found our way to the castle ruins, which we learned was Urquhart Castle.
We decided not to tour it, because it cost £7 and it was just ruins. (d)

Since we opted not to tour the castle ruins, we chose to drive around the NW countryside, which we'd been told by our own VX-1 Squadron Leader was beautiful.  Maybe in a different season, we decided.

But we found this house... with a water wheel.  Which was AWESOME. (e)

A river that runs into Loch Ness.

Maison de Famille.. which I would logically translate into Family of Maison?

Excuse me, your house is a castle, Family of Maison. (f)
Due to my mysterious car sickness, I think the guys started feeling bad for me, so we headed back towards civilization.  I think the curvy, one-lane roads finally got to me since I was sitting in the backseat.  We stopped at a sporting goods store in Inverness the guys were interested in.  I'd never heard of it and prices seemed pretty outrageous.  They did have this really cool spoon/fork/knife thingy that was pretty cool, but the price was like, eh, you look so much nicer on this shelf.

We had passed Brodie Castle on the way to Loch Ness, so we decided to check it out on our way back towards Lossiemouth.  While the guys were peeing, I read that the weekend we were there was the daffodil festival.  Daffodils are a super big deal in Scotland.  I didn't really look up why, but seriously, a BIG DAMN DEAL.

Just some Scottish folks, visiting the Daffodil Festival at Brodie Castle.

Brodie Castle.  The first time. (g)

We had arrived right at 4, which meant the last tour had started 30 minute prior.  We were pretty crushed.  So we walked around the grounds then found the gift shop in the back.  I kept back tracking against the people traffic and found the kitchen and the cafe.. and presumably the toured part of the castle.

Kitchen.  So many pot and pan options!

Just a super huge mortar and pestle.  Chillin.

Daffodils were on each table since it was the festival weekend.

My millionaire's shortbread and peppermint tea.  Yum.

"Look ya'll, evening tea!  Classy!"

Coolest courtyard ever.  I decided.

Seriously.. So awesome.  It was also like a foot massage if you were wearing thin enough shoes.
After our tea time, we headed back to Lossiemouth for dinner.  We were all pretty tired.  After dinner, I'm sure there was internet time (h).  Luckily, I didn't have to work that night, so I slept really good that night.

(a) warm breakfast included: 2 poached eggs, ham (but it was called bacon), sausage link, beans (like pork n beans), and a roasted tomato.  Of all that, I would eat the eggs and ham (but the fat had to be cut away).  So each morning I usually went down and ordered 2 poached eggs, ham, and toast.  I often had a small bowl of Frosted Flakes while I was waiting on my food.  Breakfast was free.. which made me happy.

(b) Elgin and Inverness were pretty much the closest big towns from Lossiemouth.  There were several smaller villages, Lossiemouth sized or smaller.  Scotland only actually recognizes 5 major cities, via Wikipedia, I know, solid resource Teh Megan.

(c) I paid £6.5 to learn that Nessie isn't real.

(d) I did eventually pay the £7.... which gets into another story for another day.

(e) Obviously, this is someone's house.. which probably means this was private property.  We'd actually been looking for a driveway for an old church, but we turned down this road which passed the church.  As we slowed down and gawked over the awesome water wheel, this car comes flying down the driveway.  To say the driver skidded to a stop might be a little exaggerated, but it was all definitely a little scary for innocent tourists.  We explained that we were just trying to turn around, but really loved his waterwheel.  I think he was in awe of the fact that we were Americans, so he said ok, gave us the stink eye, and backed out of the driveway so we could leave after we'd turned around.

(f) No one was home.  This castle/house/living arrangement had a name, but I have no idea what it was because by this point, my head had started to hurt and my stomach was like... y u punish me from backseat?

(g) Brodie Castle and I almost didn't happen.  I went back twice after this.

(h) Internet was only available in the lobby of the hotel.  A.N.N.O.Y.I.N.G.  The hotel had a stereo they used in the lobby and they played ONE cd, all day.  It was 70/80s easy listening music.  After the first few times of hearing it, I started going crazy.  If there was only US folks in the lobby using the internet and the disc was playing, I'd go straight to the stereo and turn it all the way down before I sat down to begin my internet time.  Several people thanked me after I did it on different occasions, which made me feel justified.

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