Inverness, Scotland, is absolutely charming. Tall stone church spires dot the cityscape, and stone buildings with tall chimneys line the streets. The River Ness cuts its way through the center of the city and flows swiftly toward the Loch Ness, one of Scotland’s largest lakes. A castle with strong fortifications sits atop a hill overlooking the scene. On arriving back at the tour bus, Kathy said that I did not have the mini iPad, so I ran back to the Anglican Cathedral where I had last been taking pictures. It was gone! I asked a Cathedral guide to look, to no avail. Upset, I ran back to the bus that was waiting for me, and Kathy sweetly said, “I’m so sorry; it was on my lap under my back pack the whole time!”
We then headed out to look for “Nessie,” the legendary monster that lurks in the Loch (lake). We drove through glens (valleys) and over munros (mountainous hills). Autumn was just starting to show in the leaves of trees turning red and yellow. Tall Scottish pines grew in groves at the higher elevations. The Scottish highlands are beautiful, with rivers and lakes all along the way, and our drive through them was relaxing.
The next morning our ship, the Norwegian Jade, docked in the harbor outside Edinburgh. We had planned no tours since we had been here numerous times and simply enjoyed the day soaking in the atmosphere of the Royal Mile, the cobblestoned street that connects the high on a hill castle/fortification to the Holyroodhouse at the bottom of the long street that is the Scottish palace residence of the Queen of Great Britain. All along the way are restaurants and pubs and souvenir and wool/cashmere shops as well as shops selling the whisky for which Scotland is famous. Randy went to every one that offered free tastings. Entertainers that played bag pipes vied with people posing as statues of interesting figures of history or film all along the way. We found a pub Kathy and I had enjoyed with Allen and Rhonda a few years ago. The fish and chips were superb and the sticky pudding (rich date cake smothered in a caramel chocolate sauce and whipped cream) was divine. The local beers on tap were tasty, too. It was a refreshing day. The evening’s entertainment was awesome. Entertainers fell from the ceiling and swung on trapezes above us, while acrobats performed on stage to live music, and singers performed from lattice work scaffolding from the stage to the balconies. Confetti came from the hands of dancers in the aisles. It was a wow performance!
The next day was a sea day where Kathy bought art, and we lollygagged the day away. Today our cruise ended. We were sad to bid the cruise “good-bye” since we had throughly enjoyed our time visiting Norway, Iceland, and Scotland.
Now we are passing through the Chunnel between England and France and soon our train will be entering Paris. The Eurostar is quite comfortable and we were served a meal with lots of wine. It is now “ooh la la” time in northern France. WEG