Edinburgh and the Highlands Part 2

Edinburgh is a lovely city. The room I am staying at here is one of the largest and nicest I have stayed in. It is on the Royal Mile. I believe this room might have originally been the parlor because it has a fireplace and a huge bank of windows. $55 a night–I share the bath with my host, Mark. Mark has been very kind to me. He even treated me to dinner out with a few of his friends at a local pub where they played live traditional Scottish music, unfortunately it all began to sound the same. We felt slight culturally insensitive about that one.

I went to Edinburgh castle which is nice, but seeing the Scottish crown jewels and the Stone of Destiny felt a bit of a let down. Mainly because I did what the audio tour told me to, and hit play early so not to crowd around the jewels while listening to it. I should have waited at bit so I could focus on the display about the creation of the crown jewels which one passes through before actually getting to see them.

However if you want to see something magnificent, go to the Museum of Scotland and see the Pict’s carved stones. Those are fantastic.

Loch Ness is a exquisite place especially when viewed from Qrquhart Castle. (The tour guide said the Castle was nothing but ruins, but to me it is interesting to see the layout and use my imagination to think of what it might of looked like.)

There was also a very good interpretive center where they showed a short film about the history of the castle. They also had a café and since it was a rainy sort of morning, I bought myself a pot of tea and a little caramel cake to sit down for a bit before I went out there to look around. The tea was great/ the cake wasn’t bad, but it looked better than it tasted.


After that there was a half hour cruise to where I met up with the tour bus. The boat ride was similar to the many rides I have taken on Lake Union honestly. Every once in awhile a narrator would point out places of interest or tell a historical fact. I did stand on the top deck even though everyone warned me I would get wind blown and wet. The views were worth the discomfort, (I didn’t get that wet, but even if I had, I was joining up with a comfortable coach with under the seat heating system!)


What interested me most about Loch Ness is that I can see why people want to believe there is a monster in the depths. The water is very deep (1000 feet in some places) and due to the high peat content incredibly murky. Even with the sun shining overhead I could hardly see into the water. It reminds me about a story I heard about in Iceland: The Hitchhiker.

Basically there is a very desolate stretch of highway running north of Reykjavik and it used to be that people would pick up a hitchhiker. He would be wearing all black and look frost bitten. He would not say a word even if the driver engaged him in conversation, but if the driver tried to touch him or look him squarely he would vanish.  Back in the 1950-80’s everyone knew someone who had seen or picked up the “hitchhiker.” What interests me about the story is that in the mid 80’s when the highways were suddenly lined with electric lights, the hitchhiker stopped being seen.

I feel the Loch Ness Monster is the same. The murky deep water is the perfect place for a legend. However all that being said, if someday they pulled out a giant freshwater eel or something, I would not be at all surprised. After all we used to think the giant squids were nothing but tall tales. And it was only fairly recently that we discovered the breadth of life in the depths of the oceans. So maybe there is something down there.

Anyway, here is the best picture I got of Nessie: She is a lot smaller than people imagine. 2  inches high by 3 1/2 inches long or so.




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