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Hello! Thanks for visiting my blog, I am glad you are here. For the most part, I use this to comment (and sometimes ramble...) about the many things I love or perhaps am fascinated with this week. This can include quite an assortment of topics, including my propensity for reading novels at all hours of the day, writing, art, and travel, as I do have a serious case of Wanderlust.

"The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page." ~St. Augustine

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Scotland Day 2

I realize I didn't post my day one as such, but I trust that y'all will be able to follow along :)

So, day two in amazing Scotland...

Wake up to a full Scottish breakfast in the hotel. Delish! We sat with Susan and Julie, and talked a bit more Outlander over croissants, eggs, and HAGGIS! Yes, haggis. I knew exactly what it was when I saw it and decided that I just needed to be adventurous and try some. My mom, on the other had, unaware of what it was, and loudly declaring before we left she would not be trying some, had the littlest bit on her plate. We got back to the table and it was the first thing I tried. Ahh-mazing. Very savory with a specific array of spices, and it was just delicious. Mom thought so as well, and was very surprised after I told her what it was. On the coach again to begin day two!

First stop was a boat cruise on Loch Lomond. It was beautiful, or bonnie as it's namesake song describes.
The captain was very funny and kept us quite entertained as he described all that we were seeing. It was a fairly overcast day, but the wisps of clouds on the mountain tops just added to the beauty, and what's Scotland without some mist, right? I talked with a few more people from the tour, and I was very happy to meet Edgar and Margaret. They hailed from Nova Scotia, and were quite impressed when I declared "Ahh, New Scotland, how appropriate that you would not be visiting the original one!" They were so nice!

Next, on to Inveraray Castle. Beautiful! Our tour guide's name here was Allan and he was hilarious. Very charming and had jokes for everyone! I think I liked the servants' quarters best in the lower part of the castle. Looking at the ancient walls and all the original kitchen ware and tools, I could just imagine all the goings-on that had one day, long ago taken place here. Just amazing.

Lunch stop was also in Inveraray, as was a nice place for some shopping! Found some great Scottish lavender soap, and took a picture with an adorable statue of a barkeep.
Also saw a wonderful piper in full Highland garb. Quite fetching if I may say so myself.
We then embarked even deeper into the Highlands. Take the most beautiful thing you have ever seen and multiply it by 100 and that is basically what you would have. Every where one would look there would be hills and Monros and lush greens and dark heather. I cannot do it justice with words, I am so happy to have been able to experience this.
Seeing the 3 sisters of Glen Coe was gorgeous as well. It had been a wet spring, so we were able to see a few waterfalls rushing down the mountains as well. Ian continued to regale us with more history and stories of the area, including the horrible Glen Coe massacre. It gave a whole new feeling to the place, but it was no less majestic and awe-inspiring.

Also was able to see Kilchurn Castle, the ancestral home of the Campbells of Glen Orchy on the shores of Loch Awe!

As the afternoon was drawing to a close, our next stop was to our hotel in Ballachulish.
This was absolutely one of my favorite hotels we stayed at. Overlooking Loch Levan, we were so happy to find that our room had the most spectacular view! We had a nice amount of time to walk around before dinner, and took quite a few lovely pictures of the Loch. Dinner was amazing once again. Very fancy accommodations in one of the original rooms of the beautiful building, we had some great local fare, with slate chargers to boot (as you may be able to tell, I was very much impressed with the entirety of our stay!). Susan, mom, and I went to the bar for some drinks before dinner and saw Eddie there! I wanted to talk to him a bit, but the line was getting long and I didn't know if he had already had enough of us from the long day on the coach and just wanted a nice pint and some alone time. He was looking good too in some regular blue jeans and white tee shirt, fond memories of another handsome driver by the name of Jordano came to mind....how do I luck out with this time after time?

Our after dinner walk took us to a pretty somber yet very interesting historic sight. In 1752, Colin Campbell of Glenure was assassinated in what is now known as the Appin Murder. James Stewart was wrongly accused and put on trial for this (as the assumed assassin had apparently fled to France, if even he was the actual one to do it, no one knows for certain to this day). As you can read in any history book, there was quite a bit of conflict around this time, including the fact that Jacobite sympathizers were having their lands taken from them. Stewart's land had indeed just been taken over and given to Campbell, although it was a man named Allan Breck who had actually made the threats of violence (Breck being the one who had fled to France shortly after the murder). Well, there were Campbells on Stewart's jury (11 out of 15!), so it was no surprise that he was found guilty. He was sentenced to death by hanging, and the location of his execution was on a trail up into the hills, not even five minutes from our hotel, so we made the trip.

First the sign leading us up the path, then the marker stone...

It was sad to read about this and learn about his unjustified death, and it of course enriched my understanding of the tumultuous past Scotland has had. Truly a fascinating history for Her strong and hearty people, of whom I am a big fan.

Then off to bed, another long day ahead of us. The sun didn't go down till maybe about 10:30, so more beautiful shots of the mountainous sunset from out hotel window!

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