The hills are all rolly here, green and purple and plump. I could be quite content, happy to listen all day long to the Scots talk around me in their plummy rolly accents (just like their hills). I have no idea if the mountains we came through are the Cairngorms, or even if the really high Highlands are this far south as there is still a lot of Scotland above us here in Inverness.
We've enjoyed our time here in the Highlands, and I can't quite believe this is our last evening here. 4 days flew by and our trip is 2/3's over already. Inverness seems cozy, like a worn and favorite pair of slippers, easy to walk around in and easy on the eyes with the wide River Ness flowing through the middle of it. Inverness Castle isn't open to the public, in fact the only way to get into it is if you get arrested as it functions as the City's Courthouse. Our cozy little backpackers hotel is right in front of the castle hill, perfectly situated with a marvelous view over the river to St. Andrews Cathedral and the hills behind it.
Yesterday we took the bus out to Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle, a huge ruin complex whose peacefulness belies the many years of fighting and raids it went through. Loch Ness is HUGE, long and skinny. It was too windy to go out on a boat so we confined our monster-hunting to the ramparts of the castle and from the bus windows. The tourist industry milks the Nessie phenomenon for all it's worth, that's for sure. The Loch Ness exhibition cleverly wound around and dumped us out into a endless gift store, just like a Disney ride, only full of tartans and stuffed sea serpents.
Today we went to the little seaside fishing village of Nairn and walked way out onto the tidal flats at low tide. The beach was miles long, white sand and nearly empty. Weird squiggly wormcasts made of sand and the funnel-holes of mussels dotted the warm, wet beach while the terns and seagulls flapped and mewed around us. Some of them sound just like hungry cats, others like belligerent goats. Anders and the kids are at the Aquadome now, while I enjoy some solitude and internet access in the common room.
I have not had haggis (too gross), and Anders has not had whiskey (too expensive), and we have neither of us had any sushi (not to be found, apparently), which I'm really jonesing for after a week of cheap, cheap meals.
Next stop: Oban, the Western Isles and Highland Games in Tobermory!