It's impossible to believe that eight years have passed since I went to Scotland with my friend Cherissa, especially as I remember the two weeks we traveled as if it was yesterday. But in mid 2002 I loaned Cherissa my copy of the book Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, which takes place in the Scottish highlands during the Jacobite Rebellion in the 1740's and Cherissa loved it as much as me (VERY much, in case you were wondering). And when she was done reading, she called me up and said, "Let's go to Scotland and see all the places that were in the book!"
Now, I'm not what you'd call a brave person. The idea of getting a passport, hopping on a plane and traveling to and around a foreign country scared the pants off me... but I said YES! anyway, because seriously, how could I not?
So we saved our moolah for a few months, then off we went. For nearly two weeks, we marched up high streets, trekked through castles, ate fish and chips, stepped in dog poop - oh wait... that was just me - and had an AWESOME time!
The best thing about staying in hostels was definitely meeting other travelers... we wouldn't have seen the Old Packhorse Bridge - built in Carrbridge in the early 1700's - if it weren't for the recommendation of a bunk mate traveling from New Zealand.
True Fact: This lovely building is Burger King.
In Outlander (the book), the main character goes back in time by touching the standing stones near Inverness. There she meets a sexy Scottish highlander hunk.
Cherissa and I tried to shove ourselves through the stones, but alas, no time travel or sexy highlander hunks for us.
But we did meet a highland cow!
It's a coo! A wee heilan' coo!
(that's how the Scots say 'highland cow')
Culloden Moor - where the battle of Culloden was fought in 1746
And the wax figures in the museum brought it all to life before our very eyes!
(only they didn't move, so I had to shut my eyes to imagine it)
(which I didn't actually do, because imagining the battle of Culloden would have been awful)
(But if you want to imagine it, you should read Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series)
(You won't be disappointed - the series is fantastic)
We went to a tartan mill. Very informative.
And sailed across Loch Ness in hopes of seeing Nessie the monster. Unfortunately, Nessie was photo shy that day, but we did end up seeing Urquhart Castle, which was neat-o.
I feel right at home in castles.
The Cia-aig Waterfall
Legend has it that a witch plagued the cattle of the nearby Campbell clan and was drowned in the water under the fall, known as the Witch's Cauldron. Creepy folklore is fantastic!
(which you might recognize if you are a Monty Python fan)
Beautiful views from atop all the castles!
(Also, just a note: if you ever travel to Scotland with Cherissa and visit Doune Castle, watch out, because Cherissa is notorious for snapping pictures of smiling people (for example: me) in small dark rooms, and then shutting said smiling people inside said small dark rooms whilst eyes are adjusting to the flash. You have been warned.)
Loch Lomond hostel. A hunted mansion, by the way. Which was awesome especially as Cherissa started talking in her sleep (and by talking I mean having an entire conversation about Madonna and tea parties and how we supposedly had a tea party with Madonna that day) and we were the only two people in a HUGE empty room.
And did I mention the mansion was haunted? I thought Cherissa was possessed.
And, of course, I couldn't leave Scotland without buying a box of naughty Scottish toffees
Have a flashback of your own to share with the world? Head on over to Tia's blog and join in the flashback fun.
Happy weekend, folks!