Scotland - Ireland
It’s Melinda’s birthday! We woke up to the beep beep of Melinda’s cell phone with best wishes from her Mom, Dad and shortly after a call from Jaco. Thanks to everyone that e-mailed and sms’ed, I was a bit worried that it would be a lonely birthday for the party girl, but it ended up filled with lots of beautiful messages!
After saying goodbye to the loch we were on our way back to Edinburgh to catch a flight to Dublin (Ireland). On our way to our first stop for the day we passed the famous Highland cows. They must be the absolute cutest cows / farm animal in the world! We named them "Holy Cows" because of the beautiful golden glow that surrounded them in the early morning sun, that and their surprising small but strong stature. After about half an hour of trying to get close enough for a cuddle we gave up and were off to the cable way in attempt to get closer to the top of Ben Nevis without breaking a sweat.
The cable car (gondola) took us about 680m up the side of the
Leon at Loch Ness shore
The Loch's water is clear but appears very dark because of it's depth
mountain and the view is spectacular! We didn’t reach the snow, but in season you can go up further with the ski lift to a few different heights. Maybe we’ll come back in the ski season, but then again, maybe we’ll rather go to Switzerland for that.
Our Next stop is the Wallace Monument. The 220 feet high Wallace Monument sits prominently on the Abbey Craig two miles north of the city of Stirling. We wanted to head straight for the magnificent views waiting at the top of the Monument, a mere 220 feet and 246 steps above. The Monument has four levels above the ground floor, with Level 4 being The Crown or the top. We climbed and climbed and saw some wonderful stuff, but we were mostly keen to see the view from the top. As we approached step 160 we heard an announcement warning of strong gusts of wind and that if anyone insists to go to the top they be very careful. The tiny steps that you climb were made for midget feat and Melinda was already starting to feel a vertigo effect, that and the warning started freaking her out and by step 170
Driving in the opposite direction
the first gush of wind pushed her against a wall and all the courage she scraped together just disappeared. It was so bad that Leon had to walk her back to ground level. He then ran up the 246 steps and enjoyed the view alone. Leon and one other man were alone at the top and enjoyed a breath taking view. The wind was very scary and Leon had to cling to anything he can to be able to take some pictures. Sitting alone at the bottom of the tower Melinda couldn’t help feeling great disappointment but after her night in shining amour came back and told her about everything she felt a little bet better. It just shows again it’s not always just what you do and don’t do, but who shares the experience with you.
We got to Edinburgh castle 30min before closing time, the friendly guards showed us how to get to the crown jewels that is without a doubt the most spectacular display in the castle. We had some time to kill before our flight so we walked around and stumbled upon yet another Cathedral. St Gilles Cathedral is huge and impressive even while under
Highland cows with a morning sun glow.
construction. We were lucky that the organist played while we were there and it’s amazing how the sound filled the old building. They charge you 2 pounds to take pictures, so we decided not to take pictures since it was under construction in any case. We walked around some more and came to a lovely park with lots of people playing sport since it’s such a nice sunny day (please note that by now it was around 19h00!). We took some pictures of the impressive Scott Tower. The monument is 200ft and 6in high (61.1m) with a total of 67 figurines from Sir Walter Scott's novels featuring on the monument. We absolutely loved all the gargoyles!
We dropped off the car and went to the airport. Our flight was delayed with an hour due to the bad weather, and even with the delay we still had lots of turbulence. There was a girl sitting behind us complaining that she will never use the airline again! If the weather was under the airlines control we would have asked them to book just good weather for the time we were there, good thing that we now know who to contact to
change the weather!! Silly woman!
We arrived at Dublin at about 00h30, it was cold, wet and dark. We could not rest on the plane as they never turned down the lights. We had no idea how we’d get to our hotel, but it was so great to be at our next location we couldn’t feel more excited! We got a bus that dropped us off about 3 blocks from our hotel. At first we were a bit wary as we didn’t know how safe the streets was, but the closer we got to the hotel, the more electric the vibe were. There were young people everywhere! Jackson Hotel is basically the upper levels of Copper Face Jacks club, if we were not so tired we would have joined the party, as the club only closes at 3h30 every morning, but since we stay in the hotel we can order drinks to our room untill 4h00 in the morning. We decided to rather take a bath and get to bed as breakfast is served from 7h00 and we want to get an early start to see as much of Dublin as possible the next day. We discovered that there
was no hot water available so we took a cold bath and at 3h20 we got into bed, and obviously fell asleep without any hassles!
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