A Travellerspoint blog

Hunting for Nessie at the Loch

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Kevin and I met up by his old apartment at 10 and headed out of town. Our original plan had been to go to St Andrews, then visit a castle and a whiskey distillery. Kevin suggested a new plan: St Andrews and then up to Inverness to see Loch Ness and the Scottish Highlands.

We got to drive through much of the countryside en route to St Andrews, including the town of Dundee, which Kevin had much scorn for.

St Andrews was a very yuppy place, but rather enjoyable. We first went to the ruins of the old cathedral, which were stunning. Thy were right along the coast and much of the grounds had been turned into a graveyard. After wandering about for a bit, we walked over to see the golf course - the first golf corse in the world. It was simple, but nice. We stopped for lunch at an Italian place called Tony Maccaroni; we each had our own pizzas, which were huge!

The drive up to Inverness was gorgeous. The day had started our quite cloudy, but it cleared up completely during our drive. The scenery was breathtaking: rolling green hills, snowcapped mountains. It took several hours to get to Inverness, which is just a town right near Loch Ness. We turned back toward Edinburgh along the Loch Ness road.

Loch Ness was much larger than I had expected; something like 20+ km long. We would stop at times along the road to take pictures and admire the scenery. There is a castle nestled next to the loch, which we completely missed on or way; we turned around and came back though. They were closed, but we got some great photos. Oddly a military helicopter was hovering nearby and the flew away... hunting for Nessie....?

The sun started to fade as we continued our drive. The last that we stopped to see were some mountains that had misty clouds rolling down them. Quite amazing to see. Once it got dark we drove along a crystal clear lake that perfectly reflected the surroundings, but it was too dark for pictures.

Along he drive we listed to the radio, sang our ridiculous songs in our ridiculous voices (Sweeney Todd!, South Park bits, etc). It was just like old times when we'd sit around playing Warcraft together spouting out random nonsense.

We got back to Edinburgh around 21:30 and we settled on Chinese for dinner. It was really tasty; I had sweet and sour chicken and we split some fried rice. They were near closing and didn't seem happy that we came in, but we weren't the last customers there (good old Chinese abuse and scorn!).

It was time to say goodbye, which proved very difficult for me. I'd had such an amazing time with him; it brought back all of the wonderful days of Seattle: mocking Jay, Warcraft, drinking, Rock Band. I'd decided to change plans and come back to Scotland this fall during my epic trip, spending five days or so in Edinburgh. Knowing that we'd be seeing each other that soon helped with goodbye, but it was still difficult.

Posted by Glichez 17:00 Archived in Scotland Comments (0)


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Today I finally got to see Kevin after five years!! I felt such excitement when I got off the plane in Edinburgh, knowing that we'd be hanging out soon. The last time I saw him was at Rock Bottom Brewery in downtown Bellevue in 2011.

We arranged to meet outside of Scottish Parliament at 11; Pip may have been able to get us in since she works there, but her schedule was packed. It was exciting waiting for him. We greeted each other with a big hug. He looked really good: he's grown a full beard now, rather than the scruff that he had; he's put on much needed weight.

We walked up to a hill in town that overlooked all of Edinburgh. It was a bit hazy, but we could see quite a bit nonetheless. Afterwards we made our way into town to grab lunch. We were being very indecisive, but finally picked a Portuguese place that serves chicken. It was quite good. We'd hoped to have sushi, but they weren't open for some reason.

After lunch we headed out of town. Kevin borrowed one of his company's used cars to drive us; they'd just bought it and he was testing it out. It rattled around a bit, but it got us around just fine. Our destination was Melrose Abbey, which we had a hell of a time finding. There were very few signs available to direct us; it wasn't until we were literally right in front of it that any decent signage appeared. We arrived 20 min after the last admission, but we were able to walk around the perimeter and take several great pictures. The Abbey is in ruins and is very interesting.

While making our way back to town we stopped at a whiskey distillery. They too were closing up, but, in true British fashion, they apologized and let us do a quick tasting and tour (as though it were their fault that we got there late!). The whiskey was strong and smooth.

After driving back into town we drove through the area that his dad lives in (very posh) and by his old apartment with Vivi, which was coincidentally two blocks from my hotel! for dinner we had sushi, which was among the best I've ever had. The dragon roll we picked was our mutual favorite. We then headed to a pub for a drink and chatted for a while. We made our plans for the next day and then Kevin headed for home.

Posted by Glichez 17:00 Archived in Scotland Comments (0)

Beer and haggis and chippies...

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I got up early despite having gone to bed around 3am. I decided to walk around the town before meeting up with Pip and Stephen.

I walked into the city center and made my way up to Edinburgh Castle. On the way I saw many interesting buildings. The castle was really fun to walk around and explore. I got to see the Scottish crown jewels, which had an interesting exhibit explaining their history. I also went to the prison section, which falsely claimed that Napoleon was captured after his defeat in 1813 (damn the English and their false claims!).

Pip and Stephen met me at my hotel at 1. It was so good to see them again; it had been nearly a year since we were in Iran! We walked around the New Town area and had a beer before heading to lunch. Lunch was traditional Scottish food; we got several small dishes and ate tapas style. I had haggis (which was delicious!) and tatty scones, both of which Pip said I had to try. We shared a bottle of white wine, and Stephen and I had several beers as well.

After lunch we went to another pub for more drinks and to watch the Scotland - France rugby match in the Six Nations games. Scotland won, much to the surprise of the Scottish people! We continued to pub hop for several hours, eating some potato chips with our beers. Finally, we went to get some fish and chips (another first for me) and then it was time to head home. We were all thoroughly drunk. We stumbled back to my hotel, said goodbye. It was a wonderful day with them; I only wish that I'd had more time with them.

I'd hoped to meet up with Gavin again. We'd briefly messaged earlier in the evening, but I never heard back from him. Sadly, we didn't get to meet up again, despite my efforts to get in touch (he never logged in to Grindr again).

Posted by Glichez 17:00 Archived in Scotland Comments (0)

Edinburgh... and a date!

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Departure day from Iceland - time to head to Scotland!

The weather in Reykjavik was terrible this morning: the wind was extremely strong, making it difficult to walk around at times. I spent the morning walking around the city. I visited the church, which was quite nice. Nothing much on the inside, but an interesting exterior. At this point the weather was getting worse, so I walked back to the hostel to await my transfer to the airport.

The flight was rough during takeoff due to the strong winds. Just sitting on the runway the wind was rocking the plane back an forth. The rest of the flight went well.

I was finally in Scotland! After 5 or 6 years I was finally going to see Kevin again, along with getting to reconnect with Pip and Stephen. I took the bus into the city center and found my way to hotel. The room was quaint and had a large bathroom.

I decided I wanted to head out for a drink rather than spending the evening in the hotel. I started chatting with a guy named Gavin on Grindr; he came over and we went out to a nearby gay bar, The Street (by unexpected coincidence I was staying in the unofficial gay district of town). Being a Saturday night it was rather crowded, but we found a place to sit and enjoy a few beers. At first he had trouble understanding my accent, but I can follow him with ease. He was very handsome, with great eyes and smile. We then went over to another gay bar called CC Bloom's where we had another few beers. Finally, around 2am we left and he walked me back to my hotel. We talked about meeting up again while I'm in town.

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Road Trip along the Southern Coast

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Another early morning today; I was on a tour to the southern coast. It was another cloudy, rainy day. We set off and the weather worsened, which was disheartening.

Our first stop was WATERFALL and thankfully the weather cleared up enough for us to see it quite well. It was stunning and huge. There was a long walkway to the top where I was able to get some amazing photos. There was a step ladder over a fence that led to a path I followed further up the river. The path was quite muddy and I nearly fell coming down the ladder.

Next we drove to the town of Vik for lunch. There was a black sand beach nearby that I spent the break walking along. The sand was quite fine and pitch black. The ocean was extremely rough; huge waves crashed along the beach making it dangerous to get close. After lunch we went to another black sand beach, though this one was far more rocky. There were amazing rock columns along one area that we were fortunate to see as they are hidden when the tide is in. The waves were even more rough in this area and we were sprayed with some of the water.

Our final stop was another waterfall which was every bit as amazing as the first one. There was another walkway at this one, but just to a lookout point. It was very icy and slippery with no guard rails, but I managed to make it to the top (it was well worth the dangerous climb). There was also a patch that went behind the waterfall, but it was far too icy and dangerous to risk walking along.

Upon returning to the hostel I found the Aussie girl, Steph, from the day before had been moved into my room! We spent some time chatting and decided to get dinner together. We ate at the Geysir Bistro and each had whale burgers. The food was delicious! A good, thick slab of whale meat. I had a couple of Icelandic beers and ended the meal with a Skyr cake dessert. Skyr is an Icelandic dairy product, not milk but not yogurt. It was incredible. After dinner we went to another hostel to hang out; there was quite a party going on that night and it was fun to get out and about.

Posted by Glichez 17:00 Archived in Iceland Comments (0)

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