Edinburgh

All travels must come to an end at some point so I’m sad to say Edinburgh is it. We had a busy day touring around the city. We took some bus trips around the city and visited the very crowded castle. I was happy we bought a ticket earlier in the day to visit the castle because the line for the castle ticket office was an hour and half long. Edinburgh has more parks than any other European city so it is a good city for me. I really enjoy walking through green spaces rather than walking down the busy streets.

We had really great weather on the trip. We had a little rain this evening but it was still warm. I learned a lot about a country that I have ties to. Tomorrow we turn our car in. We drove over 1,000 miles and covered almost the whole country. They have an important vote coming up in September on whether or not to become an independent country so you might hear about Scotland in the news soon. We fly back to London tomorrow and then eventually get back home. I’m already looking forward to planning my next trip‚Ķbut that won’t be until next year. I guess I should get back to work ūüôā

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Heading to Edinburgh

We are heading to Edinburgh, our final city. We drove from St Andrews and stopped at Scotland’s Secret Bunker. It was built for the Cold War and they still actually have some rooms down there that are top secret and manned 24 hours a day everyday. After the tour we drove on to Dunfermline, Scotland. Andrew Carnegie was born there and they had a free museum of the house where he was born at. We parked at a park nearby his house. The park was a beautiful park full of kids playing and people walking around. It was actually a very large park and we may have gotten a little lost trying to walk through the park. I learned a lot about Andrew Carnegie and the guy at the museum was very exited to tell us what libraries in Oregon were funded by Carnegie. Andrew has an interesting life story that is worth a read if one has time.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Went for a little drive

We went for a little drive in the afternoon to the south of St Andrews. We stopped in 3 or 4 small towns and walked around. All had different charm and character. The fishing ports were all busy with either fishing boats just getting back or getting ready to go back out. At one stop, there were plenty of people playing in the water and on the beach. This was the first time I have ever seen a boat in Europe pull kids on a inner tube.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

St Andrews

St Andrews basically consists of 2 main roads which plenty of shops and restaurants. It seems like the University owns most of the buildings in this town. We walked around the town and the castle remains after spending some time at the golf course. I was also surprised how many people were swimming in the ocean. St Andrews is about 1,000 miles north of NY and is on the same parallel as Kodiak, Alaska. We really are having nice weather here. I’m not sure I ever thought I would come home from Scotland with a tan. I didn’t bring shorts here but the weather has been very nice.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Old Course, St Andrews

We took an interesting tour of the Old Course, St Andrews this morning. It was supposed to be 50 minutes long but the guy talked for closer to 1 hour 45 minutes. If you were here on a Sunday, you could do a 3 hour tour and walk the whole 18 holes which is 4 miles long.

I did learn that all property in Scotland belongs to the “people” meaning there is no private land which includes the golf courses. So you can walk across the golf course and there are even roads that go through the middle of the course and fairways. Golf is not allowed on Sundays at the Old Course and you will see people using it as a park instead of golf. You can belong to private golf clubs but that basically just gets you into a building not a golf course.

The open will be held here next year (it is here every 5 years). I can only imagine how busy it is here when they have a major tournament. If one is lucky enough to win the lottery to get to play on the Old Course, it will cost you 160 gbp and 45 gbp for a caddie.

Our tour basically was around the 18th hole. They build grandstands around the 18th hole when they have the Open so it looks different today than it will on tv next summer.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Peterhead, Scotland

We left Inverness and headed towards St. Andrews. ¬†If we drove directly there it would have taken over 2 hours but we decided to make a detour and head toward the northeast coast to the city of Peterhead. ¬†This made the drive over 5 hours but was worth to see the city that my mom’s grandpa left from to come to America. ¬†This is not a tourist town but a major fishing port for Scotland. ¬†We did talk to the Register’s office, and if we call them back with more information on my great grandpa, they will help do some research on figuring out exactly where he came from and the names of his parents. ¬†The town isn’t very picturesque, and I’m pretty sure I’m the only one that had a camera out.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Rental Car

We have been driving around in an automatic Citr√∂en C4. Of course when we landed in London, they tried giving me a manual even though I reserved an automatic a long time ago. They said they gave a lot of automatics out in the morning and would have to search for one. I really didn’t need to drive a manual since I’m already unfamiliar with driving on the right side of the car and left side of the road. ¬†The back passenger¬†windows don’t roll down and I can’t get the left mirror to move.

SONY DSC

Black Isle, Scotland

We did a day trip from Inverness to the Black Isle today. It actually isn’t black or an island but a peninsula. Dolphins are frequently seen in the waters around the Isle so we drove to an area where people usually see them. We weren’t really there at a good time for the tides but the beach was lovely so we walked the beach for an hour to another town. The weather was perfect. Not sure I have ever had such nice weather at a beach in Oregon. A golf course and a campground were right next to the beach so I just hoped that nobody hits a golf ball like me. We ate lunch at the town we walked to and then walked back along the path along the golf course. I did see a dolphin on our walk back but it was very brief.

We later took a very fancy 4 car ferry. I was the last car on. I couldn’t figure out how the two cars on my right were facing the right way to get off. It was a funny ferry because you just drive down to the sand and up on the boat. Once we arrived on the other side, the two cars facing the right way got off and then I went to back off thinking I was next. They operator told me to stop. The car in front of me was on a turn table that turns cars around to face the correct way so once he turned that car around, I could pull forward and they turn our car around for us. Made it so much easier then me backing up the beach.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Inverness

We have been staying at a bed & breakfast about 10 minutes from the center of the city in Inverness. Inverness sits at the mouth of the River Ness which comes from the Loch Ness. It is a lot bigger city than I was expecting as it has around 70,000 people. We spent the first night walking around the town and finding a good restaurant to eat at called The Mustard Seed. The food portions here are very large, and I always leave a place feeling stuffed. I was happy to see they had a lite early menu from 5:30 to 7:00. I don’t know what was so lite about it because I still left very full. I’m usually full from the moment I sit down at breakfast to the moment I go in bed. This morning, the host told me I was having a small breakfast. I had cornflakes, fried egg and fried toast. I never had fried toast and he said it was Scottish so I tried it. He couldn’t believe I only wanted 1 fried egg. I’m going to have a lot of running to do when I get back‚Ķ

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Loch Ness

We drove from the Isle of Skye to Inverness on Monday and made a stop at Loch Ness to look for Nessie. Loch (lake) Ness is a deep, freshwater lake that is over 23 miles long and mostly a mile wide at every point. It contains more freshwater than all the lakes in England and Wales combined. It is 755 feet deep and is completely flat on the bottom. You can take your boat right up to the shore almost and still not hit ground. You don’t see a lot of boats on the lake because private boats are not allowed to fish. You have to fish from the side of the banks. The water is completely black due to all the peat in the water.

We heard from the locals that Nessie goes on holiday with the rest of Europeans in July and August so all we had was a pleasant boat ride for an hour. We had perfect weather to be the lake. The water can get pretty choppy and they even have a coast guard boat for the lake.

After the boat tour, we grabbed some lunch and then walked along the locks that go into Loch Ness since we couldn’t check in to your bed & breakfast until 4.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.