Saturday, March 30, 2013

Scotland Day 3, February 12th- Loch Ness!

This was our day trip to Loch Ness- a very long, yet interesting trip!

The bus left Edinburgh around 8am, and there's not much to say about the bus trip, except that our driver/guide was awesome and very informative about the area we were passing through!  It was about an 8 hour drive up, and then back, with a stop here and there for pictures, etc...

The first stop was at a gift shop/rest stop for a few minutes for a bathroom trip and to buy souvenirs...which of course I did.  This was in the Trossachs National Park and was stunning!  It actually looks like Colorado does, or really anywhere in the West that has snowy mountains.

Back on the bus, we went through some really pretty scenery, but the highlight was that we rove by Doune Castle!  I wish we could have stopped, but we didn't :(   For those who don't know, this was the castle that the Monty Python crew filmed a lot of scenes from Monty Python and Holy Grail in!

We had another photo stop, I forget what the mountains are called, but it was really pretty!  And really cold...

So then we finally get to the Loch Ness area, and there is just enough time to go on the hour long boat ride (pre-paid...there had better have been time....)  It was an absolutely gorgeous day for this!  We really lucked out with the weather.

Sadly, there was no sighting of Nessie, although the Captain is a true believer, and has been for about 30 years.  He had some interesting stories and pictures of his ventures out looking for her, and any of her relatives!

Scotland Trip- Day 3-February 11- Edinburgh

Well I am a horrible blogger and have not written about the rest of my trip- I apologize!

We started off the day walking down the Royal Mile to the Palace of Holyroodhouse!  It is the official Scottish  residence of the Queen.

Even though it was my second time visiting it, it's still a pretty cool place to visit, especially if you like the Tudor period in history- because this is where Mary, Queen of Scots lived with her husband.  They have a lot of personal effects of hers- from books, mirrors, etc... to locks of hair. You're not allowed to take pictures anywhere inside the Palace, but it is really pretty!

Here is a link if anyone wants to learn more about it!-

Connected to the Palace are the ruins of Holyrood Abbey.  Most abbey ruins are pretty cool anyways just because of how old they are.  Various royals are buried here including Kings David II, James II, James V and his first Queen Magdalen, etc...

From there, since it was only about 10min away, and was such a pretty day, albeit windy, we decided to walk up Arthur's Seat- a hill (felt like a mountain to me...hiker that I am...)

It is 251m (~800ft) high, and the day we went it was also muddy and the trails aren't really marked at all.  They are marked in the sense that you can tell it's a trail, but then there are splits all over the place, and the only map I saw was at the bottom telling you about the various trails, but there were more once you started walking...slightly confusing!

Even though the climb was rough, the weather and view made up for it.  We also discovered a delicious fudge shop on the way back which also went a long way to easing my leg pains :)

 On the way down, we found the easy way instead of slipping down wet rock and was a nice grassy slope.

From there, we progressed to the National Museum of Scotland.

This museum has everything from animals(stuffed), hands on science and tech stuff, short movies, to various exhibitions on countries, ancient Egypt, as well as exhibitions on Scottish history, as well as some temporary exhibitions- one on Dr. Livingstone and  the other on the Vikings( we didn't go to that, but I went later on in the week)

It's a big museum with lots to see so we didn't see everything, 1 because we were tired and 2 because it was later in the afternoon and closing in a couple of hours anyways.