Friday, December 30, 1988

Loch Ness Expedition ...

J.P and I got our wake-up call at 7.45 a.m. and were downstairs by 8 for our breakfast. It was a delicious collection of bacon, sausage and egg (salmonella-free ... which is fortunate considering the recent outbreak here in Britain), breads, tea and cereal. We left the table feeling full and satisfied, well-aware that we had received more than our money's worth at Mrs. MacTaggart's bed and breakfast.

We each took a bath, and then packed our bags and bid our farewell to Mrs. MacTaggart at a little past 10 a.m. We walked around Inverness for a little bit before catching the bus that took us down the road to Urquhart Castle on Loch Ness. (All three pictures are of Urquhart Castle, #2 including me and J.P. on the hill overlooking the castle. The photo on the banner for this blog was also taken at Urquhart Castle.)

The weather was overcast, but surprisingly warm, dry, and wind-free. We arrived at the castle at noon, and then spend an hour and a half exploring it. It was actually the ruins of an old stone castle, which made it all the more interesting, and nestled in lush green landscape and set right along the famed Loch Ness. Very picturesque... easily the most gorgeous place I have visited here in Britain.

We climbed around every place we were permitted, snapping a number of photos and thinking about all of the people who would be jealous of where we were at the moment. No, sorry, no signs of the legendary Loch Ness Monster.

After seeing all that we could, we caught a 1.30 p.m. bus back to downtown Inverness, and then ate a late lunch at a place called Charlie's Diner. J.P. also purchased a pipe, and seems to be enjoying that as much as the lighter he purchased a little while back. He's becoming a regular sophisticate.

We then casually made our way over to Inverness Castle, which as it turns out, is nothing more than a municipal building, but a scant 150 years old! Still rather nice for a government building, and it was on the site of a former castle. We walked around town for a bit longer, then headed to the train station, where we sat for awhile, writing postcards until we could catch the train to Glasgow (though we were only taking it as far as Perth.) I finished writing my cards on the train, and did some other writing as well, and then did a bit of reading.

Then the trip ventured into the bizarre.

We arrived at the town of Perth, where we were to change trains to Dundee, and then St. Andrews, where we were planning on spending a few days with our friend Kenny Prunty. But we soon found out we had an hour and 15 minute wait here. So while we were waiting in the very quiet train station, we decided to check out the adjoining coffee shop. However, we couldn't get any food because there wasn't a cook, just a red-haired guy who was more interested in playing the pound machines than serving his customer's interests. J.P. ordered a gin and tonic, while I had a coffee in a dirty mug.

While we were here we took note of a vagrant that we named "Froggy" (because of a voice resembling the "Little Rascals" character), and his gang. They provided us with some very interesting entertainment, a little show with our beverages, you could say. When J.P. ventured out into town to find some food (a failed mission), Froggy put on another fabulous show, although I couldn't understand most of it.

At one point, he came up to me and asked what book I was reading, and I showed him my James Bond paperback. He looked at the title, laughed, and then grabbed my head for a second in satisfaction, then left. We finally left the Twilight Zone for Dundee, where we had another hour long wait for the next train we needed to catch. This time we went into town and we had a more successful food sortie.

We finally got to the train station in Leukers, where we then took a taxi to St. Andrews. Finally got to Kenny's house, told him of our evening's misadventures on the train, then watched some TV, read a bit, then finally went to bed.