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Published: June 25th 2017
Geo: 57.4767, -4.23145
After breakfast in the hotel, we checked out and loaded the car for the 140-mile drive to Inverness. Before we started though, we took a thorough look at the car manual so we could learn how to work the gps system and a few other details--using the windshield wipers, turning on the lights, opening the gas tank. The car has a gps system installed which turned out to be pretty easy to use once we got used to it, but it isn't like any we have seen before. I entered the address for our first stop of the day, the Heathergems shop in Pitlochry, and we were on our way.
While I was doing research about Scotland before leaving home, one of the things I found was Heathergems jewelry. The visitor centre and factory shop is located right on the road between Dunblane and Inverness so a stop to shop was definitely in order. We found the location right away in Pitlochry, right on the main road of town, parked in a public lot adjacent to the store, figured out how to pay for the parking, and went in for a look. We found earrings for me, a necklace
for Erin, and cufflinks for Philip. The stones in the jewelry are made from heather growing in the area by dyeing and compacting the stalks into blocks that are then cut into stone shapes, polished, and set in jewelry fittings.
While in Pitlochry, we ate lunch at Victoria's across the street from the Heathergems shop and walked through a bit of the village for a look around. We found the city library and other city offices in a gray stone building next door to Heathergems, but did not go in--just looked in through the window. It appears to be a pretty typical small town library.
After buying our first souvenirs and having lunch, we were back in the car for the trip to Inverness. We had no trouble finding the city, but had to make a couple of extra tries to find the apartment. When the gps voice told us we had arrived at our destination, we did not see it. As it turned out, the sign on the building says "Living by the Bridge" apartments rather than Highland Apartments as was listed when we booked. I do not know why the name is different. However, we did finally see the
Zizzi Ristorante which was where we had to go to pick up the apartment keys and which was on the ground floor of the apartment building. We parked in the hotel lot next to the apartment building so Philip could go inside and get our keys. Fortunately, no one from the hotel noticed, because there was no place on the street nearby to park legally for a few minutes. The apartment comes with a secure parking space in the basement of the building. Following the very specific directions on where to find the entrance, we made it there quickly, but once inside did not see the spot for apartment #104 the first time through. Once we found it, there was a couple unloading their car right next to our space, and the man immediately started directing Philip to help him get in the tiny space without hitting the wall or getting too close to other cars. The man told us he and his wife had just arrived from the Netherlands for a visit to Scotland. It was quite nice of him to help.
The apartment is just great! I found it on tripadvisor.com and selected the exact apartment that was
right for us--a one-bedroom, with combined living-dining-kitchen area, a large bath, an office space in the entry, and a laundry room with a washing machine. However, the best part is the huge balcony that looks over the River Ness and the heart of Inverness.
We had some time before dinner so we walked south down the path on the east bank of the river. Before we got very far, we started hearing church bells ringing. They continued to ring at St. Andrews Cathedral for at least fifteen minutes while we were strolling by and watching the ducks in the river. I guess there was something special going on, but I didn't see any unusual activity.
When Philip picked up the keys for the Apartment, the manager gave him a coupon for 20%!o(MISSING)ff at Zizzi Ristorante. It's a casual Italian restaurant, and we decided to have dinner there tonight. We had a nice meal, but the service was a little slower than we are used to. It was very busy.
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