The Driving Adventure Begins


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Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » The Highlands
May 19th 2019
Published: May 19th 2019
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There are 31 photos at the end. Something for everyone.

We started our morning in Edinburgh and took an Uber to the Hertz car rental at the airport. Our Uber lady was super nice and was giving me round-about tips as we drove the the airport. Roundabouts themselves don't bother me, until they have multiple lanes. Then they get a little crazy and she had some good suggestions about which lane to be in. You can't just hang out in the outer lane all the way around or you mess everybody up. Never knew that.

In the Hertz line, we were, of course, surrounded by Americans. the couple in front of us were from Seattle - Maggie: I have met so many people over here from Seattle - what's up? They were still a little jet-lagged - that's a long trip. At the Hertz counter the staff were annoying as every trying to up-sell us. No we didn't want the extra theft insurance. No we didn't want to prepay our fuel. The biggest one-he really pushed to upgrade our car. We purposely reserved a small car for easier driving and parking on the narrow roads over here. First he said our luggage wouldn't fit in the trunk and it would have to go in the back seat - fine-what do we care. Then he said he could put us in something with a higher clearance - with the recent rains - if we are going to the Isle of Skye-that might be helpful. He almost got me on that one, but when I pushed him on the price it was double. No way! We got out of there with what we reserved and no extras. Gary would have been proud. Plus, all of our luggage fit in the trunk. Hah! We did splurge and reserve an automatic instead of a stick which is much more expensive over here. But, what with driving on the wrong side of the road, sitting on the wrong side of the car and shifting left handed, I decided to give myself a break and get an automatic this time. Picture of our little car here in the blog.

Time to drive to Inverness. As usual, we had Dot's GPS, my phone on Google maps, Dot's phone on Waze and Dot with various paper maps. We didn't make any wrong turns, but definitely had
Blair Castle Blair Castle Blair Castle

Some parts are 750 years old. Some of the PBS series Victoria was filmed here. You might recognize some of the inside photos.
our stressful moments and one very crowded roundabout that almost did us in. Along the drive we saw tons of sheep, and its Baby time. There were baby sheep running around all over the fields. Adorable.

I did spend quite a bit of time on the rumble strips on the left. Kept drifting over to the left side of my lane. I guess that's why they have rumble strips, for the tourist. I needed my nephew Tom to keep me in the center. That was his job when we were in Ireland. And that is why we rented a tiny car.

It rained part of the way of course, off and on a lot. We had planned to stop in Pitlochery for lunch and shopping, but there were signs on the highway that said access to the city center was restricted. We exited the highway anyway and stopped at the BP gas station anyway, because of course we needed to use the Loo. The guys that worked there were super nice, and talkative (I guess we're back in the social mix) and explained that there was a huge charity bike race happening. We would have loved to check it out, but got detoured around it and couldn't find a parking spot. Oh well, on to Blair castle.

The drive to the castle was easy. Roads are still pretty wide here. There are pictures of the castle somewhere here in the blog. Part of the castle is 750 years old, but it has been added to over the years. The castle and grounds are open to the public- for a small fee of course. Self guided tour through 30 rooms. It was very well done. I swear this castle was in Downton Abby, but they said no, but it was in the PBS series on Queen Victoria. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert visited here and stayed here, as did a lot of other royalty. It's owned by some Duke Atholl I think. His name is on everything in town. I put quite of few pictures of the rooms and grounds in the blog. A couple of videos on Facebook. I would say the most notable things inside were the wall decorations. Every inch of wall space is covered with one of three items: portraits, weapons or antlers. We hadn't planned on touring the "gardens", but we decided to
Antlers everywhere, in every roomAntlers everywhere, in every roomAntlers everywhere, in every room

This hallway was filled with antlers
eat lunch at the castle since we missed lunch in Pitlochery. After lunch and a morning in the car we felt like walking around and were really glad we did. The woods are beautiful. Huge trees - they imported trees from all over the world. They have the tallest tress in the UK. Some Douglas Firs, one Redwood and others that I was too lazy to read the sign. It created a beautiful, mystical wood. We also saw a red deer park and one of their crazy hairy cows. (see photos)

Proceeded on to Inverness. We are officially in the Scottish Highlands! We found our B&B, which seems to be in a neighborhood full of old houses transformed into B&Bs. Our room is very nice - I included some pictures this time. Plenty of space, super clean, nice bathroom, but a weird electric shower. Haven't figured that one out yet. That will be my adventure when I finish this blog. Lots of plugs! That's the new thing everyone looks for - lots of plugs. Another Rick Steve recommendation, so I assume we will meet all the Americans at breakfast.

Settled in and then walked into the city center
If it's not antlers, it's portraitsIf it's not antlers, it's portraitsIf it's not antlers, it's portraits

These people love their portraits. Every open piece of wall. Huge, small, everything in between.
to meander around and see what's happening. Stopped to eat at Number 27, a Rick recommendation. We chose a table that left an empty table between us and another couple. As we were perusing the menu, the lady at that table initiated a conversation. (I swear Mary Ash, it wasn't me) I guess we have lost our forbidding visage and are back in the social whirl. But, she was super nice. Her and her husband (I thought it was her father..oops) live in Inverness and made some recommendations on the menu. She then proceeded to tell us all the things we needed to see in and around Inverness. She is also an Outlander fan so she was up to date on all the popular sites we need to see. They recently had some guests from Illinois possibly Lake Michigan which they seemed confused about, so they felt like we were neighbors. They want to drive down Route 66 - not the first time we have heard that on our travels. Amazing the number of people in Europe that have romanticized Route 66. Her husband was pretty quiet, thank God, because I couldn't understand a word he said. I could make out 80% of what she was saying. Nod and smile, nod and smile. She also recommended an organic pizza place for tomorrow night. Walked by it later and it looked very popular. Excellent reviews on Trip Advisor so we will try to check it out, even though it isn't on Rick Steve's list, oh my. Dinner pictures are somewhere in the blog. It was pretty good, not awesome. Our new friend continued to talk to us, which delayed the waitress taking our order because we were busy talking. I could see Dot getting antsy. Finally, a friend of theirs strolled in and joined them and distracted her from us. Whew!

Picked up some fresh bread and cheese for picnic lunch tomorrow. Yum. Will be a busy day site-seeing so we might be eating on the run...unless we see a pastry shop, an ice cream place, etc. etc.

See pictures after the blog. A little something for everyone today - castle, interiors, grounds, food, car, B&B, livestock, guns, antlers.


Additional photos below
Photos: 31, Displayed: 27


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Very much into weapons alsoVery much into weapons also
Very much into weapons also

I think they showed this room in Victoria.
Ruffle RoomRuffle Room
Ruffle Room

Talk about ostentatious
Very cool antler chandelierVery cool antler chandelier
Very cool antler chandelier

Sallie-A gift for Jim?
Very cool antler chair with dog head armsVery cool antler chair with dog head arms
Very cool antler chair with dog head arms

Look closely to see the cute little doggie head on the end of each arm. Doesn't really go with the antler chair?
Headless HorsemanHeadless Horseman
Headless Horseman

The head is on loan to the National Scottish Museum. Seems a little strange.
US Flag flown over the US CapitalUS Flag flown over the US Capital
US Flag flown over the US Capital

This is kind of cool. This flag was flown over the US capital on 8/27/87, at the request of Dan Quayle, US Senator. This flag was flown for his Grace, the Duke of Athoff (who owns Blair Castle) when he visited D.C.
Huge room lined with antlersHuge room lined with antlers
Huge room lined with antlers

I think this was in the Victoria series also. The room was bigger than a basketball court. Training room for battle? War room?
Lunch at the CastleLunch at the Castle
Lunch at the Castle

I love the sound of that. Yes, we had lunch at the castle. Beef stew was excellent
Dot chose poorlyDot chose poorly
Dot chose poorly

Baked potato covered in chicken curry.


19th May 2019
Walked through Diana's Garden (Goddess of the Hunt)

Raining in our area too
Love the photos of Blair Castle gardens. We haver experienced rain for the last two days and it is weird, Not just a mist, but a down poor! What in middle of May? Enjoy your travel blogs.
21st May 2019

Blair Castle
Beautiful pictures. I think that was a yak??? Chris' food choices look better than Dot's. The stew looked yummy!

Tot: 2.916s; Tpl: 0.065s; cc: 6; qc: 46; dbt: 0.0403s; 2; m:saturn w:www (104.131.125.221); sld: 1; ; mem: 1.4mb